Since Marvel and DC have served as huge banks of traditional superhero source materials for years, movie and TV viewers have eagerly welcomed comic book adaptations that aren’t necessarily based on truth, justice and the American way of life. Amazon Studios, in particular, has achieved the success of such staggering expectations for films like “Boys” and “Invincible,” but it will largely leave superheroes on the sidelines with its ambitious new comic-book-focused plans.
Amazon Studios has acquired the rights to develop the still new (but already in demand) Image Comics comic book series “Eight Billion Genies”, which was created by a team of hit writers consisting of writer Charles Soul and artist Ryan Braun. The premise of the book is that, literally, it can generate billions of stories, and it seems that the enormous storytelling potential is exactly why the powers that be were determined to take control of the eight billion djinn through what was reported to be a “hot auction” for the image.
The general premise of “Eight Billion Djinn” is that on a seemingly ordinary day, every person on earth met his personal djinn with the proviso that each djinn will fulfill one wish, and only one wish. And in order for the world to change forever, it takes about eight seconds, which is where this narrative begins. The comic arc itself, which currently consists of two issues, takes place in a Michigan bar called Lampwick and focuses on the bartender as well as the new and old clientele who were present when the genies arrived. And although this particular story is likely to reach the audience in some capacity, it will definitely not be the only one.
Because, if it’s not clear yet, Amazon plans not just to launch one project of eight billion gins, but several of them. The first project that the studio plans will be a feature film designed to become “a cornerstone in the cross-media universe of storytelling.” Expect at least one series and even more after (the first?) a film with Charles Soul and Ryan Braun serving as executive producers.
All this seems like a huge leap for Amazon Studios, whose upcoming Prime Video exclusive “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” is already proof of the company’s willingness to achieve great success in projects that those in charge like. And although Soul and Brown aren’t exactly J.R.R. Tolkien, their talents combined with the success of streamers in comics make it a calculated risk to work so hard on a new game like Eight Billion Genies.
Besides, again, it’s a damn cool concept, and free desires would allow you to create so many different plots and story avenues. “The Boys” and their border-pushing satire are already hyping things up with a new show in development, while AMC may never stop looking for ways to deliver “The Walking Dead” offshoots like “Dead Man Island” after its final season. But these and other shows are obviously tied to vaguely limiting central hooks like superheroes, zombies, etc. “Eight Billion Genies” could very well present a 6-episode limited series about a boy who wants the world to be made of candy and boobs, followed by a film about an Asian grandmother who wants to be young again, and then a podcast about a blind scientist who wants to hear other people’s thoughts. The sky is the limit, unless they want to remove it.
Charles Soule and Ryan Braun’s previous collaboration, the ass-kicking series “Damn Words,” is also in the process of being turned into a TV series, and it will probably also be unlike anything else on the small screen when it arrives. Soul’s twisted sci-fi series “Letter 44” and the series about the doomed future “Undiscovered Country”, as well as his novels “The Year of the Oracle” and “Any Man” are also being developed as films and TV shows. This is probably part of why “Eight Billion Genies” had so many contenders, as Soul is about to reach Robert Kirkman’s audience recognition level, even outside of his core comic book fan base.
At the moment, it is unknown when Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to watch “Eight Billion Genies”, as it is still unclear who will write and direct the feature initiating the franchise. Meanwhile, all three seasons of “The Boys” (opens in a new tab) are available for streaming, as is the first season of “Invincible.”