Walt Disney’s ‘Tron Legacy’ might not have been the virtual reality masterpiece that it tried to be, but that’s not stopping Warner Brothers from stepping up to the plate with their own cyberpunk VR film. WB just acquired the rights to Tad Williams’ cyberpunk ‘Otherland’ novel series.
The ‘Otherland’ series began in 1996 with the first book, ‘City of Golden Shadow’. The series has since grown into a tetralogy of books spanning Williams’ immense futuristic world. The first book revolves around a world where normal people are able to plug themselves into a massive virtual reality simulation known as “The Net”. The Net is sort of like the world of ‘The Matrix’ except that anything can happen. With such a playground at people’s disposal, it’s easy to see why everyone would plug in every day. But The Net may not be all that it seems. Children, who have been plugged into The Net, begin popping up comatose. Now it’s up to Irene “Renie” Sulaweyo, a virtual engineering instructor, to discover the meaning behind the children’s illnesses. As Renie begins pulling strings, a vast tapestry of virtual (and real) conspiracies emerge.
Warner Brothers is already planning the ‘Otherland’ novels as a series of films. The first film will be produced by Dan Lin (‘Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows’) and written by John Scott III. You may remember Scott III’s name since he’s the same scriptwriter that is adapting Isaac Asimov’s ‘Caves of Steel’ for the big screen.
As an old school fan of cyberpunk and an avid player of ‘Shadowrun’ (a role-playing game that seems to have many similarities to the ‘Otherland’ series) back in the day, I love story ideas like this one. Here’s hoping that Warner Brothers can pull this one off and give us a cyberpunk film series that can top that last ‘Tron’ film.