The Electric State, Graphic novel
(Simon Stålenhag)

One of Netflix’s Most Expensive Films Ever Is Almost Here and Not Everyone Has High Hopes for Its Release

Gear up for Netflix’s next big sci-fi film because judging by the money and talent that this next film has had thrown at it, it has the potential to either be great or an overstuffed disaster. Based on the graphic novel by Simon Stålenhag, The Electric State is coming to Netflix at some point this year, with an all-star line-up in front and behind the camera.

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The Electric State is set in the United States in the mid-1990s, in an alternative reality where humanity is facing the aftermath of a civil war fought between humans and robots. The story follows a runaway teenager, Michelle, who is searching for her long-lost brother. On this journey, she is accompanied by a robot who pushes her to continue looking for her brother. Along the way, she runs into a drifter who is also accompanied by a robot. The party must traverse through dangerous wastelands and encounter many robots, not all of whom are here to help.

The rights to the film were bought back in 2017 by the Russo Brothers who quickly announced they would be adapting it for film. The film has taken its time to get here, with news slow to get out, but we finally have a little more information about what’s in store.

Who’s involved?

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The Electric State is being brought to life by a star-studded cast, with Netflix darling Millie Bobby Brown taking on the lead role of Michelle. Starring alongside her is Chris Pratt as Keats, who we assume is the drifter. Other live-action stars include Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Woody Norman (presumably as Michelle’s young brother given he is the youngest in the cast), Martin Klebba, and Ke Huy Quan. Quan will be taking on the role of Dr. Amherst, a role that originally was held by his Everything Everywhere All At Once co-star, Michelle Yeoh before scheduling issues forced her to exit.

Due to the proliferation of robots in this film, we also have the vocal talents of Brian Cox, Jenny Slate, Anthony Mackie, Billy Bob Thornton, and Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito will voice Marshall, a robot who will serve as the film’s antagonist.

The film is being directed by the Russos with more Marvel legends joining the production in the form of writing duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The Electric State was originally set to be distributed by Universal but in 2022 the distribution rights shifted instead to Netflix, as Universal could no longer offer a theatrical release. One of the big reasons for this was the production’s exorbitant price tag of $200 million. That price has since ballooned to an eye-watering $320 million.

The collection of action movie directors, screenwriters, and actors is surprising given that the source material is a slow, thought-provoking story. It has left fans of the graphic novel worried that the tone of the graphic novel will not be honored.

When can we watch The Electric State?

The film is set for release at some point in the remainder of 2024, though exactly when we do not know. Initial filming wrapped in 2023, which was its initial release year, though Netflix pushed the film back and there were additional reshoots in 2024.

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.