Syfy, which only recently trumpeted a return to its science fiction and fantasy roots with space thrillers and post-apocalyptic horror, this morning rolled out an ambitious development slate that includes adaptations of Frank Miller's "Ronin," Jonathan Hickman's "Pax Romana," Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque's "Letter 44," and David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp's "Clone."
- Debuting in 1983 as a six-issue miniseries from DC Comics, Miller and Lynn Varley's "Ronin" follows a 13th-century samurai dishonored by has master's assassination who finds himself reborn in a dystopian 21st-century New York City, where he must defeat the ancient demon Agat, the reincarnation of his master's killer. Produced by Warner Horizon Television and DC Entertainment, the adaptation is envisioned as a miniseries; the search is under way for a writer.
- Based on Hickman's 2007 Image Comics miniseries, "Pax Romana" is about a Special Forces team that travels back in time to ancient Rome to try to prevent World War III by altering the past. Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia ("Warehouse 13") are writing the miniseries, with Scaia and Circle of Confusion's David Alpert ("The Walking Dead") executive producing. Hickman will serve as a co-executive producer.
- Published by Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment, "Clone" centers on Dr. Luke Taylor, who's seemingly perfect life is suddenly changed when an identical, bloodied version of himself arrives at his doorstep to reveal that he's one of many clones, and they're all after his pregnant wife and unborn child. The drama is written by David Schulner ("Dracula"), who will executive produce with Kirkman and Alpert.
- "Terminator 3's" Jonathan Mostow is set to write, executive produce and direct the pilot for "Letter 44," based on the Oni Press series about a new U.S. president who learns through a letter from his predecessor that, seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A team of astronauts is sent to investigate. Eric Gitter and Peter Schwerin of Oni's movie banner Closed on Mondays will executive produce the Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions project with Rene Echevarria ("Terra Nova").
- On the non-comics front, there's also "The Magicians," based on the acclaimed fantasy novels by Lev Grossman frequently described as "Harry Potter for grown-ups," or "Harry Potter with sex and drugs." The books -- there are two so far, "The Magicians" and "The Magician King" -- follow Quentin Coldwater and his classmates at Brakebills, an elite college of magic in upstate New York, who discover that a Narnia-like world from a series of children’s books is real. The rights were originally acquired in 2011 by Fox, but this adaptation hails from Universal. Sera Gamble (Supernatural) and John McNamara (In Plain Sight) are set to write the script and executive produce.