On the eve of San Diego Comic Con, big news comes from Universal and Dark Horse as the two companies have signed a deal to bring characters and stories in the Dark Horse universe not life in a first look deal. Universal isn’t a stranger to Dark Horse Comics, having already adapted a few titles into films such as RIPD and the Hellboy series. The real question, what will this mean for the theme parks?
Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Comics have teamed up for a first look deal which will focus on developing and producing scripted programming from their extensive comic book library as well as new material.
“Dark Horse Entertainment has an incredible roster of fantastical, witty and mind bending stories,” said Dawn Olmstead, Executive Vice President of Development, Universal Cable Productions. “Their brand has conquered multiple media platforms and boasts iconic books that have attracted the highest level of writers. It’s going to be a wild and imaginative ride.”
“As the landscape of narrative storytelling evolves, Dark Horse is thrilled to be working in the golden age of television with Universal Cable Productions. Their creative team has embraced the spirit of the Dark Horse brand and we’re proud to be partnered with them.” said Dark Horse President and founder Mike Richardson.
The current list of properties in development include:
“Harrow County” – Emmy has always known that the deep, dark woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts, goblins, and the restless dead. On the eve of her 18th birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures and to the land itself in a way she never imagined, for she is the reincarnation of a powerful witch who was put to death on the very day Emmy was born. For this reason, the townsfolk mean to kill her too. In order to survive, Emmy must embrace the unusual powers at her command. This project is based on the brand new book written by Cullen Bunn (“The Damned”, “The Sixth Gun”) and illustrated by Tyler Crook (“Bad Blood”). The comic quickly sold out of its first printing.
“The Umbrella Academy” – Nine years after parting ways, the estranged members of the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers, must figure out how to work together to save the world. Created by Gerard Way (lead singer of “My Chemical Romance”, and writer of “The True Lies of the Fabulous Killjoys”) and Gabriel Ba (Daytripper); Bluegrass films is also attached to executive produce.
“Back Up” – In the near future, a new technology allows people to be backed up the same way we now back up our computers—but instead of protecting against drive failure, these backups protect against death. This project is based on a feature script by Tom Vaughn. Kenny Golde is set to write and executive produce, Brad Anderson (“Zoo”, “Almost Human”) is in negotiations to direct. Jim Wedaa is also attached to executive produce.
“Concrete” – After his subconscious is transplanted into a hulking stone body, Ronald Lithgow must come to terms with his new form and try to live a normal life. This Eisner award-winning title is the opus of comics legend Paul Chadwick.
While the deal does not mention theme park attractions, and looks mainly at television, if the deal produce some successful it does make it likely that we could see the properties hit theme parks. While many Dark Horse properties are a little too dark for a family theme park attraction, many are ripe for feature at events like Halloween Horror Nights.
Universal has a similar deal with Legendary Pictures, and has used films created by both Universal and Legendary at Halloween Horror Nights in the past.
If you were hoping to see Dark Horse replace Marvel, don’t hold your breath.
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