HBO News Blog

Is HBO Adapting Sci-Fi Series, Beasts of Valhalla Starring Peter Dinklage?

By Jacob Klein on Feb 22, 2014 to HBO News

Peter-Dinklage-beasts-vahalla

Are you ready for some great news, science fiction fans?  We’ve been clamouring for a sci-fi series on HBO for years now and this latest news may be the answer we’ve all been waiting for.  An australian publication recently caught up with Justin Monjo, a writer whose work includes episodes of the series Farscape.  He’s in what appears to be the very early stages of pitching a Beasts of Valhalla sci-fi series to HBO along with Ben Stiller’s Red Hour productions (Zoolander, Dodgeball, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).  

What is Beasts of Valhalla, you ask?  Here’s a brief synopsis from Dangerous Dwarf:

This impossible-to-put-down novel features the return of George Chesbro’s splendid sleuth Mongo in his greatest adventure: a tale that marries hard-boiled detective fiction to the greatest of fantasy fiction.

The Beasts of Valhalla begins when Mongo attends the funeral of his nephew, a presumed suicide, and is asked to look into his death. His nephew was a computer genius who had invented an elaborate game based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and it is there that Mongo finds his first clues of foul play. Mongo soon finds himself embarked on a fantastic odyssey, hunting—and being hunted by—a genius whose experiments with DNA have created bizarre creatures, and who in his megalomania dreams of saving mankind by destroying it. Mongo follows the trail from New York City to California’s Big Sur, from a hellish underground world populated by newly created monsters to an Armageddon in an icebound fortress deep in the Arctic.

Monjo had this to say in his recent interview about the possibility of Peter Dinklage playing the title roll:

“HBO and Red Hour think he’s the perfect guy for the part and are very excited about the project.”

He also said that he couldn’t think of anyone who could pull off the part (a dwarf in Chesbro’s novel) until he saw Peter in Game of Thrones.  He acknowledges that he’d have to wait until Peter was finished filming GoT in 2016.  Monjo plans on meeting with Peter in New York to discuss this opportunity very soon and says he’s already corresponded with the actor.

beasts_vahalla-hboBut wait, 2016?  That would mean that Game of Thrones would be limited to 7 seasons.  While not entirely out of the question we do wonder if Mr. Monjo had considered the possibility of the series extending to eight seasons as many have speculated would be needed.  In fact, no one really knows how long or dense books six and seven will be in the Ice and Fire series.  That being said, keeping this huge cast together full of talent will be a challenge for HBO and we wonder if 7 seasons doesn’t sound more and more reasonable to many of the show-runners.  We just can’t bear to think of a time (this would be 2017+) when Game of Thrones is off the air.  All Shows Must Die, I suppose.

The Beasts of Valhalla series is in the VERY early stages of development.  In fact there have been no pilots ordered, no series commitments, no comments from HBO itself and not even word from Peter Dinklage on the record so take this news with a large handful of salt.  Much of this sounds like the hopes and dreams of one writer with an audacious plan to us but if Peter is interested we know HBO will hear them out and make the smart decision whatever that may be.

There are a handful of potential HBO sci-fi projects at various stages of early development including a first-contact experience called The Spark, a J.J Abrams adaptation of Westworld and this summer’s upcoming series The Leftovers but as a newsroom that follows HBO projects very closely this latest news intrigues us most of all.  Maybe it’s just because Peter Dinklage is a god amongst men when it comes to… well everything.  Yeah, that’s probably it and we’re okay with that.

That 2016 filming date puts this way, way off into the future in terms of TV-time.  We’ll let you know about possible premiere dates when we get a bit closer.  Until then, enjoy Peter’s work on Game of Thrones and rest easy knowing that Mr. Dinklage may be visiting your living room for years to come… as long as you’re an HBO subscriber that is.

  • James

    The perfect series for HBO to adapt?The absolutely most perfect series,a literal match made in heaven?”The Boys”.

  • mwilson21

    Having read – and enjoyed – the source material, I can’t honestly say I’d be too keen on this getting a green-light for development. As I said, I enjoyed the book, but nothing about it seems ‘essential’ for developing a live-action series.

    I’d be much more interested in The Spark going forward. Sure, it sounds a bit like Contact: The TV Show, but that’s certainly more interesting (to me, anyway) than any of the other proposed science-fiction projects they’ve got in development.

    Westworld, even with J.J. Abrams involved, seems like it would be much better suited for a limited series (or mini-series; whichever you prefer to call it). Not something that would benefit from multiple seasons, unless a lot of changes were made to the original concept of the film itself. …which could be good, I guess.

    The Leftovers, on the other hand, I’m very excited for. Lindelof gets a lot of deserved derision from Lost fans who felt like the final season or two didn’t live up to expectations (of which I’d count myself a member), but Lost was also a show with (in the early goings) great characters, excellent dialogue, and a real sense of mystery and mythology. Its fatal flaw was that the mysterious elements eventually overtook the more character-centric approach that the show excelled at, in my eyes. Which for The Leftovers – which will also need a lot of expansion from its source material to maintain a multi-season arc – shouldn’t be an issue. The ‘mystery’ is ancillary, and not meant to be resolved or understood.

    But as it concerns The Beasts of Valhalla – I’d just rather see HBO invest their time and money into an original series. Even if it is, on the surface, derivative of other works of science-fiction. With Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire (to an extent), and The Leftovers all being adapted from pre-existing source material, I think it’d be a better choice to pursue and give precedence to original material. Even on the re-make front: Utopia (which I believe was recently given a series order) & Getting On are both imports from the UK.

    • This is a great comment, thanks.
      I mostly agree with ALL of it. Excited for THE SPARK and also THE LEFTOVERS.

      As I state in the article: this is most likely just the hopes and dreams of a small group of people or maybe even ONE person. Not a ton of info on this to be honest.

      I mostly published it because I’m intrigued by the idea of Peter Dinklage sticking around with HBO on a new project. I’d watch anything he did :)

  • Eleonora Iafano

    A science fiction series on HBO?! Consider me IN!! If Peter Dinklage is the shoo-in for the lead character, that is a bonus! However, this news will also get Game of Thrones fans into a tizzy – 2016? So that would mean that 2016 is the last season in the series. That will be a sad day, indeed. But getting back to the book “The Beasts of the Valhalla,” – I think I may have stumbled onto the next book to read in the interim. Fingers crossed, ladies and gents, that this show gets green lit and production goes full steam ahead!

  • SerTahu

    I don’t really see why they would have to wait for Game of Thrones. GoT only films from late August to early November, and Dinklage would only be filming in a small portion of that time. They could easily film in the other 2/3 of the year. As for GoT’s length, pretty much every time Benioff and Weiss have been interviewed in the last few years they have said 80 hours (ie 8 seasons). The real question for me is if they will end up needing to go to 9 seasons (8 is their target, and they have explicitly ruled out 10, so 9 is technically still a possibility).

    Anyway, correct me if I’m wrong here, but this is basically a crime drama with sci-fi elements? I personally would prefer a pure sci-fi series, but if they can get Dinklage I would definitely watch this.

  • Like the other hundres of projects not going forward on HBO almost yearly i’m just going to wait before i even get excited.

    • Jef Dinsmore

      I have to agree with you Steffen. With all the Development Slate posts I do a year I am well aware of how many projects die off. It is worth keeping our eye on, but don’t get excited yet.










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