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Matt Reeves and Netflix Team Up to Adapt Sci-Fi Novel Way Station

A section from the cover of Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
A section from the cover of Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
Image: Open Road Media

The Batman director Matt Reeves isn’t just focused on the cowl, he’s also heading to deep space. Netflix has announced that Reeves has secure rights to Clifford D. Simak’s sci-fi novel Way Station, about an immortal war veteran who is humanity’s only link to alien life, with plans to turn it into a film for the streaming platform.

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In a press release, Netflix shared that Reeves’ production company, 6th and Idaho, has signed on to produce a movie adaptation of Way Station, based on the 1963 Hugo-winning novel by Simak. This comes about 15 years after Revelstone Entertainment had optioned the rights to the book, with Simon Berry (Continuum) set to adapt the story, but it looks like that never came to fruition.

The novel centers around an American Civil War veteran named Enoch Wallace, who’s chosen by an alien to monitor a way station on Earth, which is used by intergalactic travelers as they journey across the universe. The job grants him many gifts: Not only does the technology render him immortal, but he also meets countless aliens from across the galaxy and gains immeasurable knowledge from their encounters (although some are not so keen on humanity, given their violent leanings).

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After a century of keeping an eye on the way station, the gifts Enoch has received turn into a curse. Not only is the US government starting to get suspicious about the war veteran who’s never aged or died, but threats of nuclear war have put humanity on the brink of mutually assured destruction. Written during the height of the Cold War, the novel explores the nature of that crisis and its larger ramifications—similar to how stories in City examined the effects and aftermath of World War II.

No expected production or release date for Way Station has been announced yet. In the meantime, Reeves is working on The Batman, set to star Robert Pattison as the Caped Crusader. That’s marked for release sometime in summer 2021.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

I’m always leery when my favorite writers are adapted for film or TV, but if this leads more people to read the great Simak I’m all for it.

Read some Simak, everyone. Try City, Way Station or The Visitors or The Goblin Reservation... hell, any of them. His work is rural in setting, humane in character, cosmic in scope.