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‘The Umbrella Academy’ Creator Is Developing ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Series for Netflix

Aloy in horizon zero dawn

Netflix is taking another stab at adapting a popular video game series for television. The streamer has recruited Steve Blackman (The Umbrella Academy) and Michelle Lovretta (Killjoys, Lost Girl) to create a Horizon Zero Dawn series. The Guerilla Games action role-playing game follows Aloy, a hunter who fights mechanical creatures while on a journey to learn about her past. The game was released in 2017 and received critical acclaim for its story and visuals, as well as the vocal performance of Ashly Burch as Aloy. A sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, was launched in February 2022. While the game has been lauded for featuring a female protagonist, it has received some criticism over its appropriation of Indigenous culture.

Blackman will co-showrun the series with Lovretta, but first he’s finishing up his run on The Umbrella Academy with the series’ fourth and final season. Horizon Zero Dawn is the first project for Blackman’s Irish Cowboy Productions after TUA. He is also developing Orbital, a thriller series set on the International Space Station, written by David & Keith Lynch. Blackman released a statement saying, “Horizon Zero Dawn and Orbital are elevated, event-level projects grounded in characters that fans will love and relate to, which are hallmarks of Irish Cowboy productions, … We’re thrilled to be working with Netflix and all of our partners on developing these ground-breaking stories.”

No further details have been revealed about Horizon Zero Dawn casting, although fans have suggested everyone from Rose Leslie (The Time Traveler’s Wife) to Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) for the role of Aloy. While his new shows will obviously be different from The Umbrella Academy, Blackman shared his thoughts on the two series with Netflix Tudum, saying “Horizon Zero Dawn and Orbital are on the surface very different shows from each other and from The Umbrella Academy. One takes place a thousand years in the future, in a world completely remade by massive machines. The other is set near present-day on a space station. From a character- and world-building perspective, there’s a clear throughline: I gravitate to characters who are grounded and relatable but exist on the fringe. Outliers who struggle to find their place in a world of conformity and structure. All my stories strive to subvert expectation and find a new way of looking into the worlds we think we know.”

Netflix recently produced a big budget adaptation of Resident Evil, which was just canceled after one season. But the streamer has seen great success with breakout hit The Witcher, which has inspired several spin-offs. Video game adaptations and fantasy series can be a mixed bag for Netflix, but hopefully Horizon Zero Dawn will be able to carve out its own fandom.

Blackman added, “Horizon Zero Dawn is an exceptionally well-crafted game with wonderful characters not often seen in the rank-and-file of the gaming world. Guerrilla Games has created an incredibly lush and vivid world of man and machine who find themselves on a collision course to oblivion. Their salvation comes in the form of a young female warrior named Aloy, who has no idea she’s the key to saving the world. Suffice it to say, yes, Aloy will be a main character in our story. My writing partner on this, Michelle Lovretta, and I are thrilled to be able to expand this remarkable IP into a series for all types of viewers.”

(via Deadline, featured image: Guerrilla Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.