William Gibson's 'Hinterlands' Is Becoming a Multimedia Animated Franchise

Concept art from Hinterlands. All Images: Last Studio Standing
Concept art from Hinterlands. All Images: Last Studio Standing

The hand-drawn animation studio Last Studio Standing just announced plans to adapt William Gibson’s scifi story “Hinterlands” into a short film and a television series, with a potential second TV series that could spin off the first.

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The short story, originally published in 1981, is about a Russian space station that goes missing, only to reappear years later with everyone dead. Soon, people realize any ship that goes to those coordinates disappears into a mysterious other place. Everyone who goes, dies—but then some of their remains start returning with clues about this other place.

“It is such a great story,” says Jonathan Kitzen, CEO of Last Studio Standing in a news release. “We know we can do more with it because animation is an all-powerful tool that can create anything. We plan on making something that looks like Gravity mixed with Blade Runner, and this story offers us a huge palette of possibilities, for about $100 million less than a traditional live action film.”

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By 2018, Last Studio Standing hopes to have a short pilot episode done for a longer TV show. It will show the pilot in theaters, then kick off what is described as a “five year plan” for the franchise, including a TV show with a potential spin-off.

Above, and below, are some concept art released for the show.

Illustration for article titled William Gibsons Hinterlandsem /emIs Becoming a Multimedia Animated Franchise

This is one of those impressively ambitious plans that has one potentially fatal flaw: we don’t know if it works yet. What if the pilot episode isn’t a success? Or what if the show does get released somewhere, but fades after two years? What happens then? Does this five-year plan just go away? I’m always wary of anyone that plans an elaborate franchise (cough Dark Universe cough) without some upfront success. If Iron Man wasn’t a hit, there’s a good chance The Avengers wouldn’t have happened. Pixar wasn’t planning Toy Story 3 before Toy Story came out, the studio just wanted to make one good movie. The list goes on and on.

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Certainly, though, we hope Last Studio Standing gives us that “Gravity mixed with Blade Runner” animated show of our dreams. It could be amazing.

For more information, visit their website.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

MikejustMike-
MikejustMike.

Yeah, but fuck it. This is the first fiction since “Johnny Mnemonic” that even hints at being realized. IMHO, Gibson is one of the greats. I don’t want him to become superbig famous posthumously, like Dick. I think he should be able to get rich and (more) weird, like some of his memorable characters. He should be JK Rowling rich.