James Gunn Is Developing Popular Book, The Martian Chronicles, For TV: EXCLUSIVE

James Gunn is working on developing Ray Bradbury's 1950 novel, The Martian Chronicles, for TV. The book chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans.
James Gun To Adapt The Martian Chronicles

As pilot season looms ever closer, information on new series coming to our TV sets is starting to come out. The Illuminerdi has recently learned one of these projects currently in development is an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story, The Martian Chronicles, with James Gunn currently set as an Executive Producer and Director.


The Martian Chronicles details the colonization of Mars as humans flee a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and eventually delves into the conflict between the aboriginal Martians and the planet’s new colonists.

James Gunn Is A Busy Man

James Gunn and The Martian Chronicles
Credit: Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9126774fb)

The series is in development at Civic Center Media, as a joint venture between UTA and Valence Media. Little information is currently known about the series outside of its status as “in development”. With James Gunn currently busy filming The Suicide Squad for DC and Warner Bros, then eventually going to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it’s hard to say where The Martian Chronicles will fit into his schedule.


As the series is currently only in development, it’s impossible to say whether or not it will actually go to pilot or – beyond that – be greenlit for a full season. Something similar happened with Gunn’s reboot of Starsky and Hutch for Amazon, which never materialized. It’s also unknown what network or streaming service this may end up on.

The History of The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles

The book, originally published in 1950, is itself a collection of short stories that had been previously published in the late 1940s. Author Ray Bradbury took these stories from the science fiction magazines of the day and wove them together with interstitial vignettes. The book, at the time of release, took place in the then-near future, 1999. That date has obviously past us now, so we can safely assume it will be updated for this new adaptation as well.

The Martian Chronicles has previously been adapted into a mini-series by a partnership between NBC and BBC in 1979 and featured performances by Rock Hudson, Bernadette Peters, and Roddy McDowell. However, Bradbury was noted as saying that he had found that particular version to be “just boring”. Several of the individual stories were also adapted for the short lived HBO anthology series, Ray Bradbury Theater.

It’s twice been optioned for feature film adaptations, once in 1960 by MGM and then again in 2011 by Paramount, but neither actually ended up being made. In 1988, however, the Soviet Armenian studio Armenfilm produced a feature film adaption called The 13th Apostle.

Where Will It Go?

Trying to speculate where it may end up is a daunting task, as well. Amazon, Netflix, CBS All Access (which may soon evolve into a new combined CBS and Viacom streaming service), and HBO Max would all be good homes for it.

It could also be turned into a short form series for the upcoming platform Quibi, which is producing programming specifically to be watched on your mobile device. A book based on interconnected vignettes might be just the kind of content a platform like Quibi needs.

James Gunn is repped by UTA, who is also a partner in Civic Center Media along with Valence Media Group, LLC.

We’ll keep tracking progress of The Martian Chronicles and will keep you updated as new information is unearthed. Where would you like to see this series end up? Are you a fan of Ray Bradbury in general, and are there other science fiction classics you’d like to see revived? Let us know in the comments below.


Josh Goldman

Josh Goldman

If you really want to know me, you should watch Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, Rankin-Bass's Flight of Dragons, Johnny Dangerously, and Spaceballs. Co-Founder of The Illuminerdi.