Teaser trailer image for Kindred. Image: FX/Hulu.

Everything You Need to Know About FX’s Adaptation of ‘Kindred’ by Octavia Butler

Though much of Octavia Butler‘s work as a writer is hailed in the highest regard in the realm of science fiction, afro-futurism, and American literature, none of her works have received as much attention as her 1979 novel Kindred. Parable of the Sower comes close, but Kindred is more often read in schools and has whole a graphic novel adaptation. Now, FX is releasing a series based on the 1979 award-winning work of speculative fiction.

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Kindred follows the story of a contemporary woman, Dana, as she’s repeatedly ripped back in time and placed on a plantation at increasing intervals. The first time this occurs comes when Dana and her partner are celebrating her 26 birthday in their new LA home. Here, she’s snatched from the present and placed at the scene of a white man drowning. As the story progresses, she learns her familial connection to this place, but Dana wants nothing more but to be in her own time.

Woman looking at the water. Kindred on FX. Image: Hulu/FX,

Kindred‘s showrunner, head writer, and co-executive producer, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, served as a consulting producer on HBO’s The Watchmen miniseries. If his work and McArthur ‘Genius’ Grant Award wasn’t enough of a good sign, The Octavia Butler Estate expressed glowing support for Jacobs-Jenkins and the Protozoa Pictures executive producers (Joe Weisberg, Joel Field, Darren Aronofsky, and Ari Handel.) Two of the confirmed directors leading at least one episode apiece, including Janicza Bravo (A24’s Zola), who directed the pilot, and Alonso Alvarez (FX’s Snowfall).

Who’s in the Kindred cast?

Without getting into spoilers, because this is a book I know people will still want to read for the first time ahead of the show’s release, let’s get into who is playing who. Mallori Johnson will play the main lead, Dana. Though she doesn’t have many major acting credits to her name outside of a part on Apple TV’s WeCrashed, I suspect this is because she recently graduated from Julliard. This makes Kindred a very major debut. Other major casting includes Micah Stock (playing Kevin), Ryan Kwanten (Thomas), Gayle (Margaret), Austin (Luke), David Alexander Kaplan (Rufus), Ophina Broan (Sarah), and Sheria Irving (Olivia.)

What we see in the Kindred trailer

While the story didn’t feature much time with Dana and her partner, this adaptation will explore their relationship further. This first season is expected to delve into the first half of the book, and, based on the teaser trailer, is set in contemporary America rather than 1976. This would already work because not much has changed politically regarding race. In fact, in many ways, we are in a moment in rolling back the new (on paper) protections for marginalized communities that came from the 1960s.

When does Kindred come out?

Outside of a small glimpse around the Emmys, news about the series had been pretty sparse. That is until New York Comic Con 2022, when it was announced that the show would premiere Tuesday, December 13. All eight episodes will be available on Hulu on release day.

(featured image: Tina Rowden/ FX.)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.