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Dan Simmons's Hyperion Sci-Fi Series Being Adapted by Warner Bros

by
April 3, 2008
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Hyperion Cantos

We're in dire need of some new sci-fi movies that involve space battles, alien creatures, universal heroes, everything. Thankfully Warner Brothers seems to up to the task, recently approving an adaptation of the Hyperion Cantos book series. Dan Simmons' award-winning science fiction series features a frame story structure and numerous smaller short stories all set around a planet named Hyperion. If you're unfamiliar with the popular series, then you're in for a treat - it's a very imaginative sci-fi collection that definitely seems like it could adapted into a wonderful sci-fi flick. Now we just hope Warner Brothers brings on a director that won't turn this into a pile of mush.

The Hyperion Cantos includes four individual books in total: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion (published from 1989 to 1997). The first book, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1990 and the second, The Fall of Hyperion, was nominated for a Nebula Award for best novel. You can find the first two individually on Amazon.com for pretty dang cheap. An article on the internet praises the series: "It is rare to find a series of books as imaginative, adventurous, and thought provoking as the Hyperion Cantos Series by Dan Simmons."

Hyperion deals with a space war, with most of the action taking place on a planet named Hyperion, known not only for its electricity-spewing trees but also for the Time Tombs, large artifacts that can move through time. The tombs are guarded by a monster called the Shrike, which impales people on metal trees. The series is inspired heavily by Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The cantos is highly complex, featuring multiple time-lines and characters whose behavior changes dramatically, which was a challenge to adapt and the biggest issue that was overcome before Warner Brothers picked it up.

Newcomer Trevor Sands has been hired to adapt the first two books, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, as one feature film with Graham King (The Departed, Blood Diamond, Bangkok Dangerous) producing. Apparently Sands won over the Warner Brothers execs by taking a selective approach to the two novels' multiple points of view in a way that managed to coherently and unconfusingly tell the story.

As was certainly apparent from the start, I'm looking forward to this primarily based on the fact that I'm desperate for some good science fiction movies. The Fifth Element is still one of the only good sci-fi flicks in recent years that had a grand scale and big budget and was still great. I've been waiting anxiously for another good sci-fi flick that I can pop in late on a Wednesday night when I'm in the mood to jump into the future. Dan Simmons' world in Hyperion seems grand enough to fulfill my desires, it will just come down to who they get as a director and whether Sands' script is any good.

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  • Jill
    I'm not sure about this : ( The Hyperion series is my all time favorite series of novels! I have a bad feeling they will ruin the stories in the movies. But at this early stage, maybe I should just wait and see what happens. Not that I could do something about it anyway!
  • BorisBC
    I'm super excited about this - the Hyperion Cantos is my all time fav series... however, I wonder if they will only do the first two? Anyone familiar with the series will know that the Catholic Church comes in for quite a pasting in the next two, basically being in cahoots to destroy the human race! Not sure they will make a movie about those two books! Still, they can do the first two without having to carry on, so here's hoping they do a great job.
  • Melissa
    oooo please don't ruin it!! but hooray for sure. I can't wait.
  • harrison
    We're in dire need of some new sci-fi movies that involve space battles, alien creatures, universal heroes, everything. thats why were in need of a serenity sequel. lets get it done hollywood
  • John
    How about Peter Jackson to direct?
  • Tom
    "The Fifth Element...great"? Never thought I'd see that word used in the same sentence to describe that putrid movie.
  • Rob
    The Hyperion books are so cerebral and literary-based, I'm wondering how any movie director or script writer, no matter how good, can make a film that would even be close enough to bear the same name. I truly hope the movie focuses on the sociological issues the books bring up and not just the fantastic elements like impaling people and Tesla trees. Somehow, I think all the book fans will be massively disappointed...
  • http://fiyoubayou.blogspot.com alli
    There's no way they'll get it right. If they would happen to do the books justice, the Catholic Church would have a bigger fit than they did for Golden Compass. Besides, the books are so well-written and vivid that movies are hardly necessary. Unless the future movies are reviewed well by fans, I probably won't see them.
  • Curt
    Warner Bros. Pleeeeaasse...please dont f*#k this up. The Shrike, the Ousters, Nemes and Co. not to mention the Core, planet hopping, the Grand Concourse...how will you fit all of it in? If you are going to tell the story, do your best to tell the entire story. I can understand rolling "Fall of..." and "Hyperion" into one movie as they are pretty much the same story told from alternate perspectives. The other two, however, would have to each stand alone.( 3 films at least.) The only way I can see this working out is if you get busy cloning an amalgam of Speilberg, Lucas, Coppola and Tarantino. Also...hope your willing to spend big dough because a bummy cast is just as bad as a poor script. That having been said...I'll see you all opening night. ...just heard...the pope has already reserved his advanced copy on NetFlix as a night out at the theatre probably would'nt be in his best interest...subject considered.
  • http://sepha.deviantart.com/ Matt
    Was just discussing this very possibility the other day with a friend... and now... reality? I'm floored, overwhelmingly excited, and incredibly nervous all at once. The Hyperion novels are my favorite pieces of literature that are not by a man named Homer or Dante, and it seems insane and over-ambitious to believe that the story of the first TWO books can be cohesively told in one movie... speaking to my friend, we came to the agreement that the first book alone would make more sense as two movies, so as to properly characterize the pilgrims. Praise be to the brave, BRAVE director that is trying to make this story work. Here's hoping it does, and fantastically.. and hell, if it doesn't I'll probably love it to death anyways.
  • Jean
    Wow, awesome and scary. Nice to see from above comments that I am not the only on feeling this way. Curt is right (as most of you), and I would add…If it was possible to do it for Lord of the Rings, it should not be impossible for the 4 Books to be Farcasted into 3. I do not necessary agree with the "alternate perspective" of having Raoul Endymion in the first movie as a pilgrim, that does not seem right. But if Simmons is the one doing it, and that this was required to make things work, who am I to disagree? I would expect quicktime to be done “a la Matrix” and FORCE stuff mind blowing. I just can’t wait to see how they will do cool stuff like the resuscitation from the raspberry effect (lol), Nemes being lanced from orbit and trapped into molten rock and of course the Tesla Trees and what the Shrike will look like. For sure the Church folks will freak (good publicity) when the get a look at what is to happen of them but if we would have to watch only the stuff they agree on, theaters would not smell like popcorn but incense. No matter what, this has to be done right, tech stuff is important but there is more to special effects, the social aspect has to be as important, that is the fabric of Humanity. Dan Simmons did the best, up to Warners to do the rest. (my message to them) Any idea on the cast or release date? Curt and I could be in line for a long time.
  • KenD
    3 things are essential for it to work. Stay true to the story Having all the characters stories intact contributes immensely to the overall feel of the universe and the flow of the story. Trying to cut and blend too much to fit into one film will ruin it. Gotta look badass without looking Dated! The design needs to be unique without being fantastical in the extreme. Technology should be cool but organic and look functional. like Blade Runner meets Aliens, but a few centuries down the road ... ;) No Stars!! I realize the impracticality not to have a "star" attached to a project, but for me the story is more than enough to propel itself, and in the first two books it really is an ensemble effort. Unless it's one of the few truly talented stars ... maybe Depp as Hoyt? :) ... I can't think of any I'd cast for the pilgrims or Raul. Better to have new faces. Hoping for awesome ... expecting less
  • http://www.professorsaltine.com JakeS
    Yes! Can't wait. Just started re-reading it today and decided to search online and found out about this! Always thought that many of the individual scenes would look great on film, but it would be hard to include the overall work in the frame of the movie.It would have to take quite a bit of paring down to work, but it could still explore all the different concepts. Not only are there all the "Canterbury tales" style digressions, but the back story from "Fall of..." to contend with. Even if done correctly it might be too much for moviegoers not familiar with the book to absorb. It would probably be best to forget all about including Endymon and just focus on the first two. The last two stand apart; keep them to the side for the inevitable Hollywood urge to make a sequel. I think this project would work best with an ensemble cast.
  • stoneflyri
    I sincerely hope that the target audience for this potentially phenomenal adaptation are adults and not pre-teens and teens. This series of books are the best that I have read (of any genre) and are incredibly thought-provoking. Please don't turn this into Star Wars or Raiders Of The lost Ark, and please don't compromise on the political, social, economic, and especially religious implications of this masterpiece. Also please don't waste precious movie time on inordinately prolonged chase, romantic, or explosion scenes. Finally, movies can run longer than 90 minutes.
  • JimmyC
    I have some reservations about this whole thing. I just don't think a 2 to 3 hour movie will do it justice. I think that it would be better if HBO or SCI FI channel pick it up and do it as a series. There is definetly enough material in the first book to do a whole season worth of shows.
  • James
    I actually recieved the last book in the series from my dad a while back but never picked it up until recently, and i'm kicking myself for it. I'm only to chapter 8 and can't fight the urge to buy the rest of the series and start from the beginning, but I'm already noticing that to make a movie series out of this, they are going to have to be EXTREMELY careful about what they leave out, as just about everything is important to the flow of the story. The other big thing I'm noticing is that alot of people don't seem to want a major star in the movie, which I can understand, however, they still need top notch actors to play the roles of the characters, as they have so much to tell and show just by they're actions, not to mention how they stress certain points in their character at different times. Casting is going to be a major point to look into.
  • London Johnson
    Just as The Lord of the Rings saga and The Hobbit took place in separate time frames, such is the case with Hyperion and Endymion. Though connected, they are both unique tales in their own right; Endymion should be a sequel. Absolutely some of the best SF ever written! Ilium and Olympos are also must reads for Dan Simmons fans.
  • kyle
    It will be interesting to see how they pull this one off... if they can do it right it will be amazing but thats going to be hard to do with the way the books were written
  • Tara Roth
    I'll be standing in line to see it, with the rest of you, but Warner Bros? Gasp! This could have been The best Movie series of all time. Now I'm just hoping it won't be another Quantum of Solice but set in space.
  • Milo Doan
    Don't give them any ideas Tara! They might be reading this. I'm looking forward to a Hyperion movie as much as the next fan but what worries me to no end is just how could you fit two books, which are so rich in content into a single movie? I can only hope that WB changes there minds and decide to go with two movies instead.
  • James
    Honestly if they do it right they can manage the first two books, but the third and fourth books will HAVE to have their own movies to do any justice to the series and Dan Simmons himself as an author
  • andy
    i agree 2 movies, and i would do it exactly how the book was written, when i was reading it i could picture the movie in my head. it will leave the people which haven't read it wanting more, and the second part will be even better. the characters background stories will be so entertaining! i can't wait for this movie!
  • andy
    i agree 2 movies, and i would do it exactly how the book was written, when i was reading it i could picture the movie in my head. it will leave the people which haven't read it wanting more, and the second part will be even better. the characters background stories will be so entertaining! i can't wait for this movie! come on Warner bros
  • Omar
    I loved the books but i hope they don't ruin the story in the books and integrating the two books into one movie seems a bit wrong to me. But hopefully they will make a good movie out of it.
  • Rob Suijker
    The Hyperion books are by far my favourite series. I've been reading these since the 90's, can't get enough of them, been reading them for the last couple of weeks for the eight or ninth time! And in all these years i've been wondering if it would ever be turned into a movie. But as most of you I have my doubts as to how anybody could do justice to the story on the big screen. But I also think that whoever is to direct this knows that great care must be taken to not disappoint the huge number of fans. But as most of you, I will definitely be standing in line to see this, and to compare my own images of the books to the ones the director had in mind. Even if the movies fail, I'll always have the books, right? I'd love to be working on a film like this too, as a modeler/animator there will be loads of work to be done here!
  • David
    Makes me feel nervious and very very worried.. Everything I've seen, including interviews with Dan points to the most disapointing 2-3 hours of my life..
  • Matt
    Endymion and The Rise of Endymion are my two favourite all time books. The thought of them becoming a movie not produced by Jerry Bruckheimer at the very least scares me a lot! I am a nervous puppy after seeing what a mess was made of the Wizards first Rule (Legend of the Seeker) series at the moment that is why these books cannot be damaged in this way, even Terry Goodkind looked like he had been dragged through the mill for it! lets just hope any cast actually reads the books before they try to play the role! I would like to see Dan Simmons talking about it as I know he was resistent for a long time! If they put Raul in the first movie other than being a baby or a youngster in the end with grandam then I will not see the movies to damaged the integrity of the books in such a way would be horrible! As to possible castings I have been thinking about this long and hard over a period of years and there is some up and coming actors I think could pull it off. After seeing Push I have no doubt Dakota Fanning or Anna SophiaRobb could pull off a young Aenea, Djimon Hounsou fulfils my imagination of Sergeant Gregorius, Ian Mckellen has the presence and humor to be Martin Silenus, Raul I imagine to be terribly hard to cast, I can't think of anyone established who could do it. I could imagine Johnny Depp as Father Captain de Soya for some reason although I many will disagree. For a grown up Aenea I could find faith in Zooey Deschanel but I don't know if she has the presence to capture it properly. Ashley Greene with the right styling could make a nice Nemes. I dont envy whoever does the casting lets hope they read the books too!
  • David
    I am also an avid fan of the Hyperion Cantos, and as much as I love the books, I'm scared to see how Hollywood is going to butcher the series. As others have said, the story is far too far-reaching to be encompassed in a 2-hour movie. They'd be better off making the first two books some kind of HBO mini series or something, with something like 10 episodes including one for each pilgrim's story and a few more for the Fall of Hyperion. The second two would make a much better movie or pair of movies, but would only work as a sequel to the first two, of course. Anyways, even if they make a mess of the plot, I can't wait to see a realistic Shrike on the big screen. Imagine if they had the same folks who did the Transformers movies do the rendering for the Shrike!
  • dave
    after reading the hyperion cantos i was so blownaway by the complex and powerfull story.i have yet to see a scifi movie come close to this magnificent story and i'm so sad that that garbage dispenser called hollywood is trying to make a movie of hyperion.it's going to be a loud,inadequate,cgi driven pile of garbage designed to rake in as much money as it can.the movie already is screwed up with endymion being there in the begining.it's obvious they are going to just brush aside the 7 pilgrims story and turn them into minor characters.this movie will give a bad image of the greatest scifi story written.
  • James
    The problem is the 7 pilgrims story IS the first book. Therefore they can't really make the movie without them, also, I agree that if their only going to make it a 2 hour movie they might as well break it down into about 10-1 hour episodes atleast, or perhaps they could take a good hint from the fans and make each of the books individually. Also, Raul could technically be in the first movie, however, the way it would work is to re-map the rest of the series and have it start as though he were starting a narration for the entire series, where he could start to tell of the stories he had heard from Grandam and the other characters, but they would have to entirely break away from him to conclude the story eventfully without interruption. I fear Warner may have bitten off more than they can chew with these movies due to their lack of foresight and inability to understand the story beyond it's great ratings.
  • Jean
    Heyyyy, me again, 19 comments and 18 months have past and I still feel the same way (worried & exited). I see little to no advance on this colossal undertaking. I sure hope that the Avatar will push the bar up and that Warners & Co. will do the right thing. Following my curiosity (and recommendations of other fans), I am plowing through Illium and I like it. Regarding the cast, this is my selection; Anna Sophia Robb as Aenea (I agree with Matt), Ray Stevenson would be great as Sergeant Gregorius, Robin Williams as Silenus, Johnny Depp as Father Captain de Soya (here again Matt & I agree), Oded Fehr as Ret. Col. Fedmahn Kassad and Kristanna Loken as Nemes. Keep you nails short, it is a good deterrent if you have none to bite on!
  • Delia
    No way for Johnny Deep as de Soya. Come on, he is an hispanic! I cannot think of an actor with the face I was seeing when reading about Federico de Soya, but definitely it is not Johnny Deep. And no way for Robin William as Silenus. Uncle Martin looks a lot like Jack Nicholson. I don't know the other actors, let me check on the net: - Anna Sophia Robb as Aenea: ok, but she is too blond, has to get darker hair. - Ray Stevenson as Gregorius. NO WAY. Gregorius white with blue eyes? No way. Think of Denzel Washington better, or a younger version of him. - Oded Fehr as Kassad. Ok. - Kristanna Loken as Nemes. Ok with short, black hair, of course. My suggestions other than Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington: - Johnny : Billy Zane (again, with blond hair). - Raul : check the Spanish actor Aitor Luna (http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/fotos/20100701/gran-reserva-las-mejores-imagenes-raul-aitor-luna/53240.shtml). When I saw him first two months ago he immediately remembered me of Raul Endymion. - Merin Aspic : Elijah Wood - Brawne Lamia : I can see there a no-make-up-at-all Jennifer Lopez - The Consul : a sad, very sad Danny de Vito I am going get actors for the other characters..
  • Delia
    .... and who has said anything about putting Raul Endymion in the first movie?? Where is that? How can I stop that? For the casting, answering to Matt, I agree with Djimon Hounsou as Gregorius. Yeah, definitely. Dakota Fanning or Anna Sophia Robb for Aenea are ok. I prefer Robb. For the grown up Aenea.... Uma Thurman...????? Ashley Greene is ok for Nemes, but she will have to work it hard to reminds us of the monster.
  • Xb211x
    I cannot wait ever since I read the series ive wanted more and have been curious how a movie would turn out but theres just so much to the books i dont know how theyll even come close to fitting all the details in and it make sense still I cant wait to see them try.best of luck!!PLEASE DO A GOOD JOB

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