Nearly a year and a half after word first broke that FX was developing a Y: The Last Man TV series, the network has finally ordered a pilot. The road to an adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan graphic novel has been long and full of stops and starts, with a feature film adaptation in the works back in 2009. The film adaptation gained new life in 2012 when 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg became attached to direct, but then it languished in development hell so long the rights eventually reverted back to Vaughan and co-creator Pia Guerra.
In October 2015 rumors swirled that FX might try a TV series adaptation, then in November 2016 former American Gods co-showrunner Michael Green signed on to spearhead the project. Green’s star has been rising over the past year as he also co-wrote the features Logan, Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049 and Murder on the Orient Express. And now, since this project moves at a snail’s pace, FX has officially announced a pilot order for the Y: The Last Man TV series. Green remains onboard as executive producer and will serve as co-showrunner alongside Aida Mashaka Croal, who formerly served as a writer/producer on shows like TURN, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones. There’s no conflict of interest with American Gods, as Green and Bryan Fuller exited the showrunner chair of that Starz series over creative differences at the end of Season 1.
The TV show adaptation will simply be titled Y and takes place in a world where all men but one are dead. This last man must then traverse a world of women “exploring gender, race, class and survival.”
Filmmaker Melina Matsoukas, whose credits include the HBO series Insecure, the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None, and Beyonce’s “Formation” video, is onboard to direct the pilot. Indeed, it’s encouraging to see that the director as well as the co-showrunner of this series are women of color, and it seems to signal that FX is interested in doing more than simply making a comic-book series here.
FX is one of the most ambitious networks around, greenlighting and standing behind strange yet exciting shows like Legion and Atlanta. The network recently lost its biggest writer/producer as Ryan Murphy is jumping ship to Netflix, but this Y pilot order is a sign that FX has no intention of going for the pure commercial play.
Given this project’s luck over the years it’s probably unwise to assume this series is a go, but a pilot order is a good sign. Matsoukas will also executive produce alongside Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, and Vaughan himself.