The creators of Westworld already have one successful adaptation of a Michael Crichton story on HBO under their belt. Now they will see if lightning can strike twice as they move forward with an adaptation of a Crichton novel. This time they will adapt the surreal sci-fi novel Sphere into an HBO series. Let’s take a look at what we know about the upcoming Sphere adaptation for HBO.
Image via Penguin Random House
A New Michael Crichton Series For HBO
The Sphere adaptation will be a television series for HBO, much like Westworld, n another Crichton adaptation. Westworld executive producer & writer Denise Thé is onboard for the Sphere adaptation. She will serve as showrunner and writer for the new series. And of course alongside her are Westworld showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. Their company Kilter Films is developing the project, along with Robert Downey Jr’s production company Team Downey. No word yet on whether or not Iron Man himself will appear in the new Sphere adaptation, but we wouldn’t rule it out as a distinct possibility.
The Sphere series will draw from the source material of the novel, published in 1987. This marks it as fundamentally different from Westworld. The Westworld series on HBO reimagines the 1973 film written by Michael Crichton (a novelization was published the following year) and is not technically a book adaptation. Crichton was a highly prolific writer of science fiction. And many of his novels have been adapted into film and television over the years. His first novel was The Andromeda Strain in 1969, and Sphere was originally written as a companion piece to that book before evolving into its own novel.
Sphere Is Much Weirder Than Westworld
Westworld Season 3 | Image via HBO
It will be interesting to see how the Westworld showrunners handle the adaptation of Sphere because it is honestly a very weird book. Westworld had plenty of action to work with, but Sphere is a far more cerebral and surreal work of fiction. It is very hard to describe, or easily summarize. So we will let the official synopsis for Sphere give you some idea of what to expect from the new HBO series.
A group of American scientists are rushed to a huge vessel that has been discovered resting on the ocean floor in the middle of the South Pacific. What they find defines their imaginations and mocks their attempts at logical explanation. It is a spaceship of phenomenal dimensions, apparently, undamaged by its fall from the sky. And, most startling, it appears to be at least three hundred years old….
An image from the 1998 Sphere Movie | Via Warner Brothers
Sphere has been adapted once before as a feature film in 1998 starring Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film received largely negative reviews at the time of its release, so we look forward to seeing what a new adaptation of the novel will look like. We know that Thé, along with Nolan and Joy are very familiar with Crichton’s themes and worlds so it sounds like this adaptation is in good hands.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.