These days, when Ava DuVernay makes headlines, you know it's for something big. And this time is of no exception. As if her Netflix series on the Central Park Five, multi-million dollar Disney production A Wrinkle In Time, or hit OWN television show Queen Sugar didn't keep the talented filmmaker busy enough, DuVernay is adapting Octavia Butler's sci-fi novel Dawn into a TV series — proving there's absolutely nothing she can't handle. And everything about this news is worth celebrating.
Written in 1987, Butler's science fiction novel imagines a world where nuclear holocaust survivors have to make a choice to either adapt to the world run by and procreate with their alien captors, or die. Dawn presents itself as the first of Butler's trilogy series bringing lead character and black woman protagonist, Lilith Iyapo, to the forefront. Producer Allen Bain optioned for the rights of Butler's novel in 2015, according to Deadline.
Known as the “grande dame of science fiction,” Butler has won numerous awards for her contributions to the genre over her lifetime. The author was inducted into the The Science Fiction Hall of Fame posthumously in 2010, and is one of the first black female writers to have made a name for herself in the category.
Partnering with DuVernay to bring this tremendous story to the small screen are seasoned director and writer Victoria Mahoney, and Charles D. King's Macro Ventures.
Butler's accolades are definitely ones to note, but the woman behind the magic is just as, if not more, endearing as all of her published works. Between her inspirational quotes about the importance of honesty, to the uplifting "note to self" she penned and is now published in the Huntington Library, Butler has garnered a subset of fans who are encouraged by the way she candidly lived her life — including other amazing talents like DuVernay.
Typically a white male-dominated genre, sci-fi has been a difficult space for women, and more specifically women of color, to find equal representation. And with groundbreaking projects like Annihilation — starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jessica Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez — and, now, Dawn on its way to sci-fi junkies in TV form, images of women, as well as women of color, will hopefully become more of a norm. That doesn't just go for those in front of the camera, however, but behind the scenes, directing and producing such grand and complex stories too.
DuVernay is a woman of many creative facets, and she continuously uses her platform to generate intoxicating content representative of demographics that are, more often than not, left by the wayside. And the birth of the Dawn television series is just another one of those gems from the visionary that the industry didn't even know they needed until now.