Last September, Akiva Goldsman struck a first-look deal at MGM that called for him to write and executive produce a series adaptation of Larry Niven‘s classic sci-fi novel Ringworld, and in a recent interview with Collider, he revealed that Games of Thrones helmer Alan Taylor will direct the pilot.
First published in 1970, Ringworld was followed by The Ringworld Engineers in 1980, The Ringworld Throne in 1996, Ringworld’s Children in 2004 and 2012’s Fate of the Worlds, which Niven co-wrote with Edward M. Lerner. Fate of Worlds also serves a sequel to the four books of the Fleet of Worlds series, which is set in the same Known Space universe as the Ringworld books.
Ringworld tells the story of Louis Gridley Wu, who is celebrating his 200th birthday in a technologically advanced Earth in the distant future. Perpetually bored, he accepts an offer to join a young woman and two aliens on a thriller journey to explore Ringworld, the remote artificial ring beyond “Known Space,” and uncover the mysteries of Ring.
Goldsman told Collider he’s actively working on writing the Ringworld pilot, having just hopped off a notes call with Amazon and MGM executives. “Alan Taylor is attached to direct, and hopefully that will turn into an actual set of moving pictures, but God knows,” said Goldsman, who like all writer-producers in Hollywood, is no stranger to seeing projects get stuck in development hell. Ringworld has been in the works at Amazon since September 2017, and it appears to finally be moving forward now that Goldsman has commenced writing and Taylor is onboard to direct.
Amazon has certainly been focused on finding its next breakout hit, investing hundreds of millions into a Lord of the Rings series and another based on the Wheel of Time books. The streamer has Utopia and The Underground Railroad on the horizon. Goldsman declined to address Amazon’s strategy but seemed confident in Ringworld‘s potential to lure genre fans.
“I don’t know what Amazon is looking for, but they seem to like these larger objects that have scope and scale, if you [go] all the way back to that initial play with Man in the High Castle,” said Goldsman. “I think that these big, comprehensive universes, there are very few of them still available, and I certainly think Known Space is one of them, for those of us who were Larry Niven fans in our high school days. Niven’s world, his universe, dare I say, is incredibly complex and nuanced, and Ringworld has always been this entry point. Better minds than mine have tried to crack it, but hopefully we’ll do it this time.”
Taylor is as sturdy a hand as you’ll find to direct the pilot for a big-budget sci-fi/fantasy series. In addition to directing numerous episodes of Game of Thrones, he has directed top HBO series such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Deadwood, Carnivale, Oz, Six Feet Under, Rome, Big Love, Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death and In Treatment. They basically have him on speed-dial over there. On the feature side, Taylor is best known for directing Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genisys, and he has the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark in the can awaiting release on March 12, 2021. He’s represented by UTA.