After reviewing the pilot for an adaptation of the massively beloved novel Kindred, FX has decided to move forward and order the show to series per an announcement from President of Original Programming Nick Grad. The eight-episode series from FX Productions will be helmed by Watchmen alum Branden Jacobs-Jenkins with Mallori Johnson playing the lead role of Dana, a young black woman and aspiring writer constantly in limbo between her life in 1976 and a pre-Civil War plantation.
The groundbreaking novel from Hugo Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Octavia E. Butler blends science-fiction and race issues to show the antebellum South through the eyes of a 20th century Black woman. It follows Dana as she tries to begin her new life in Los Angeles only to experience a strange phenomenon that pulls her through space and time to an 1800’s Maryland plantation. Throughout her sudden, violent trips back to the past, Dana becomes acquainted with her ancestors, exploring the influence of racial issues and power in her family history all while trying to find her way back to her own time. The continued importance of race in modern discussions, along with Butler’s unique approach to slavery and how it influences the world to this day, has made the book a mainstay in colleges and high schools.
Kindred is written by Jacob-Jenkins and, outside of Johnson, stars Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, Gayle Rankin, Austin Smith, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, and David Alexander Kaplan. Janicza Bravo, the director behind the brilliant dramatic comedy Zola, directed and executive produced the pilot for the series back in July and clearly won the executives at FX over with her work bringing the show to life.
Jacobs-Jenkins is also set to executive produce alongside Courtney Lee-Mitchell (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Darren Aronofsky (mother!, The Fountain), and Ari Handel (One Strange Rock, Noah) of Protozoa Pictures as well as Joe Weisberg (The Americans), Joel Fields (Fosse/Verdon, The Americans), Ernestine Walker, and Merrilee Heifetz.
“Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has done a phenomenal job of adapting Kindred for FX and honoring the legacy and timeless value of Octavia Butler’s groundbreaking novel,” said Grad in his announcement. “The pilot directed by Janicza Bravo is brilliant and we can’t wait to resume production with this incredibly talented and dedicated cast.” Kindred marks the television debut for Johnson, though she’s also set to appear in the upcoming Apple TV+ drama series WeCrashed.
As of now, there’s no word on when production begins or when the series releases, so stay tuned to Collider for more info.