Bryan Talbot‘s Luther Arkwright has begun the road to potential live-action adaptationdom with the help of UK production house Three River Studios.
In an exclusive Variety article, Three River Studios announced that it has “optioned the rights to develop, finance and produce a live action, returnable TV series based on Bryan Talbot’s cult graphic novels The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its sequel Heart of Empire.”
While clearly early days, this is very exciting news for Talbot and Luther Arkwright fans.
Prior to this Talbot’s Luther Arkwright has only been adapted as a 2005 three-hour audio adventure for Big Finish Productions – with David Tennant voicing the title character. A feature film was previously announced in 2006, but the rights lapsed in 2010.
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright stands as a significant hallmark in the history of British comics. Talbot’s late ’70s/early ’80s work on the serialised story of the dimension hopping main character stands alongside the contemporary work of Posy Simmonds and Raymond Briggs – marking the dawn of the British graphic novel.
The original comic of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright began publication in the short-lived Scottish underground comic magazine Near Myths in 1978 before being republished, continued and completed as a nine-issue series for UK publisher Valkyrie Press between 1987 and 1989. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its 1999 sequel Heart of Empire have been collected by Dark Horse Comics. Bryan is also hard at work on a third Luther Arkwright graphic novel slated for 2022.
CEO of Three River Studios and producer of the potential series, Jonathan Drake, had this to say on the importance of the comics,
“Bryan Talbot’s work is everything science fiction should be. He stands at the very beginning of a tradition that gave us the likes of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis — his works were then, and remain now, cutting edge.
The best sci-fi always says something meaningful about the world or asks new questions about it. ‘The Adventures of Luther Arkwright’ is unique for its time in being aimed squarely at adult readers, with a rich and sophisticated visual style that echoes some of the great auteur film makers. It thrills, challenges readers, and makes you think.
Luther’s unique status as a traveller between parallel realities and his saviour-like qualities might liken him to Doctor Who – but an R-Rated version, that doesn’t shy away from sex, politics and the grim realities of violence.”
Talbot, who will serve as executive producer on the series, says,
“I’m very excited that Three River Studios is working on a TV adaptation of the Luther Arkwright stories. With the digital technology at their disposal and a genuine love of the original, I’m very much looking forward to the series.”