Fans of George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, and the TV series it spawned, HBO's Game of Thrones, will be thrilled to learn that another one of Martin’s series, Wild Cards, will soon be heading to the big screen. Producers of the movie are SyFy Films and Universal Pictures, and Martin himself will have a hand in the film as executive producer, which leaves me feeling that the film will stay true to the phenomenal books.
Wild Cards is a series of anthologies edited by Martin and includes several stories by the author. The series was started in the ‘80s and has recently been revived by Tor. Each book is an anthology of collected stories, and the entire series is tied together by an over arcing plot. The series spans decades and follows a community of mutant characters as they fight over control of the city, encounter aliens and endure a slew of adventures that span the entire series.
"One of the things we have going is the sense of history," Martin shared in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about how the series is structured. "… [Heroes] get married, then one day, the publisher changes his mind, and then they're no longer married … [Our stories] are in real time. It's a world that is changing in parallel to our own." In each book, the short stories are tied together with one or two common plotlines, allowing various others to create a cohesive story while contributing their own unique voices. Many authors have contributed to the series, including Carrie Vaughn, known for her Kitty Norville series, and fantasy author Cherie Priest.
The Wild Cards collection is set in New York City and picks up just after World War II, when an alien virus known as the Wild Card is unleashed on the city. It kills a majority of the population and the mutated survivors are classified into two main categories: Aces and Jokers. Aces can pass as normal humans, but generally have extraordinary powers and are considered to be the elite in society (such as Water Lily, a young girl with the ability to control water). Jokers, on the other had, have physical deformities that are usually the root of their power (such as Snotman, who originally secreted a foul-smelling mucus from his pores) and predominantly dwell in an area of the city known as Jokertown.
There’s no word yet on exactly which characters (there are dozens) will be making an appearance in the film. But Martin has confirmed that The Sleeper, an Ace with the ability to change faces each time he awakes from a deep sleep, will be one of the characters that comes to life for the movie.
Of all the characters in the Wild Card universe, I personally would love to see Jube the Walrus featured in the film. Jube, who is best captured in Martin’s story “Jube” from Wild Cards II: Aces High, masquerades as a friendly Joker but is secretly an alien xenologist sent to earth to observe humans. Jube spends his days operating a newsstand in Jokertown and is loved by the neighborhood’s residents, many of which don’t know his secret identity. A large, blubbery blue walrus complete with tusks and whiskers, Jube blends into his neighborhood and quietly documents his observations. The walrus’ striking appearance would make for excellent makeup and costuming if he made it into the film.
You can read more about the Wild Card film here. You can also check out my *Web Exclusive Review* of Wild Cards II: Aces High here. And for more coverage of the genre, visit RT’s Everything Science Fiction and Fantasy Page!