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40K TV series - your ideal pilot episode


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#1
b1soul

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News is that Amazon will be producing a new Tolkien TV series set before LotR...

Being the lateral thinker I am, I immediately thought how cool a 40K TV series would be.

This thread is really an excuse to indulge in some wishful thinking...

If you were the producer/director of the first episode, how would you choose to introduce 40K to the general TV audience?

I guess a few threshold questions would be...

1. Would you set the series in pre-GS 40K, during the GS, post-GS 40K...the Great Crusade or the HH?

2. What faction do you focus on?

3. Who's the main character? Who are the supporting characters? What's the basic plot of the episode?

4. What's your ideal opening scene. Do you go for a Star Wars like text intro or do you drop the audience into vicious, hard-hitting action or perhaps something more brooding and slow-burn?

5. Do you prefer a more self-contained intro episode or the first chapter of a long story arc?

6. Who do you cast for your primary roles?

Eager to hear your ideas

#2
Leif Bearclaw

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Are we limited to '40k', as in what's covered by the game, or anything set in m41?

 

Either way, pre Gathering Storm, Warzone Fenris, Warzone Damocles, none of that drek thanks very much msn-wink.gif.

 

Direct 40k? There's a lot to be said for Gaunt's Ghosts getting the 'Band of Brothers' treatment. Pretty simple, start with First and Only and take it from there...

 

However, thing I'd most like to see? Kal Jericho, the series.

 

Opening scene? Panoramic view of the exterior of Hive Primus, zooming into the Spire, showing the opulence and debauchery, then panning down though the Hive, showcasing the shift between the Spire, Hive City and Underhive, ending with the camera zooming through the doors of the Sump Hole bar, revealing Kal sat at his table, wildsnake in hand. All accompanied by a voice over narration, explaining the basics of Necromunda, voiced by Tom Baker.

 

Casting? That's trickier. Michiel Huismann (second guy to play Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones) could work as Kal. Andy Serkis as Scabbs. Yolanda? No idea (unless you have a time machine and cast Diana Rigg circa 1965, but that would be my answer to a lot of 'who would you cast?' questions wub.gif).


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#3
M@verik115

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I would like a Soapie about Guilliman and Yvraine. 
Imagine Yvraine cheating on Guilliman with Cypher while Abaddon finds out that Creed is his long lost son who just also happens to get with Yvraine. 
 


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#4
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I would definitely set it in great crusade/HH. Tilda Swinton as Janetia Krolewub.gif 



#5
Marshal Rohr

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There are probably a dozen or so of these threads in the heresy forum, and many more beyond that over the years throughout the forum.

#6
OnboardG1

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News is that Amazon will be producing a new Tolkien TV series set before LotR...

Being the lateral thinker I am, I immediately thought how cool a 40K TV series would be.

This thread is really an excuse to indulge in some wishful thinking...

If you were the producer/director of the first episode, how would you choose to introduce 40K to the general TV audience?

 

 

Oooh fantasy casting, I'm down.

 

 

I guess a few threshold questions would be...

1. Would you set the series in pre-GS 40K, during the GS, post-GS 40K...the Great Crusade or the HH?

 

While the HH is ideal for serialization I'm not sure about going straight out the gate with that kind of sweeping scope. It might be too easy to collapse into bolter porn and melodrama. So I'm going to say post GS-40k.

2. What faction do you focus on?

 

No question here, and I know it's a cliche, but it pretty much has to be the Inquisition. If you want to introduce an audience to 40k then throne agents are your go to gals and guys. They give you the scope to cover all the best and worst of the 40k universe. That's why Eisenhorn was such a good series. 

3. Who's the main character? Who are the supporting characters? What's the basic plot of the episode?

 

A young acolyte.. They're your audience connection to the world so they have to be from a background that is grounded in our world but somehow perverted. I like the idea of a squaddie from Cadia or an administratum clerk who discovers they're a blank would be interesting too.

4. What's your ideal opening scene. Do you go for a Star Wars like text intro or do you drop the audience into vicious, hard-hitting action or perhaps something more brooding and slow-burn?

 

Oh you go straight in with the grimdark, and the origin of the protagonist. Let's imagine that we're dealing with the clerk. We want the audience to get just how messed up the administratum is. Start with a black screen and a voiceover:

 

"I count the bodies".

 

Cut to some appropriately arcane viewing device with an enormous list of names that scrolls on, and on and on.

 

"Name, rank, planet of origin. Every man and woman to die in the service to the Emperor in this sub-sector, I record and inter them in the databases of the fallen"

 

Camera begins zooming out to reveal the protagonist, young and sallow, with dataports connected to serpentine brass cables and devotional tattoos. The names continue to scroll.

 

"I honor their sacrifice to ensure our survival with each stroke of my pen, committing each one to the memory of the Imperium of Man"

 

The camera continues to zoom, revealing dozens, hundreds more acolytes in a huge cathedral structure. Light streams reverently in through stained glass windows and supervisors in monastic robes chant devotional hymns and swing censers.

 

"There are hundreds of planets in the Malfian subsector, one of many in the Calixis sector."

 

Continuing zoom to show the cyclopean scale of the bureaucracy devoted to the task. 

 

"Hundreds of sectors like it in the five segmentum of the Imperium, all devoted to one goal. Survival. For we are not alone". 

5. Do you prefer a more self-contained intro episode or the first chapter of a long story arc?

 

A pilot should be self contained but it should point towards where the story is going. 

6. Who do you cast for your primary roles?

 

That's a tricky one. Based on his performance in Peaky Blinders I think Finn Cole would be a good bet as a young acolyte plucked from a world of monotony and forced to confront the darkest threats that face humanity. Alexa Davalos impressed me in The Man In the High Castle so I think she might be a good fit if you wanted a slightly older protagonist.

 

For an Inquisitor I think the flinty charms of Alex Siddig in one of his more serious roles would make for a good character. Jovial enough to win people to his cause but stone cold when needed. Siddig also has form playing conflicted authority figures or zealots so I think he'd fit into the setting rather well. 

 

You need a foil to the Inquisitor, so an old officer would be a good shout. I'd suggest Helen McCrory but I think I'd be pilfering the cast of Peaky Blinders a little much there, so how about Amanda Tapping? 

 

Finally, to round the band out you need a couple of workhorses for the team, Anthony Rapp as our pilot and Dominique Tipper as the enforcer.

 

 


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#7
Sete

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Just adapt damnation crusade.
But honestly, it could focus on an Inquisitor dealing with all kinds of issues. Now and then drop a few DW, GK or marines to help deal with issues. Inquisitor could easily dabble in politics, warzones,cults uprising, Xeno purging etc.

It would be easier to portray an inquisitor and you could always add some Space Marine action once in a while to add powerful impact on the viewer.

Then to blow the fans minds, imagine the Inquisitor dealing with big names like Dante, Azrael, Helbrecth.

But for pilot, I would focus on the legends of the Horus heresy, the creation of the Inquisition featuring the Grand Masters of the GK and the Humans chosen to be the first inquisitors with a cheeky Malcador appearance.
Fast forward to the boy losing his parents in an oral Invasion or whatever, being admitted to the schola progenia and get recruited by an Inquisitor.
1st season would establish the plot and would show the boy traveling with the inquisitor training etc. End it with the Inquisitor dying and he assuming his role. This thing just writes itself tbh.

Edited by Sete, 21 November 2017 - 12:28 PM.


#8
M@verik115

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The problem with any HH/40K/41K series or movie has always been the same. 
Simply that the lore is MASSIVE and the vast majority of people will not get it. 
You underestimate how much background knowledge is required to following any sort of plot line, especially by the broad audience. 
I know this, because it has been looked at before by several studios and the answer is always the same. 
Its too risky to do any sort of film or series for 40K, because the wider appeal will not be there as its such a niche setting and requires far too much from the viewer. 
In other words, only us warhammer player will get it (whether we enjoy it or not is a different subject) and it will probably be a monetary flop. 
Then if they do do something entry level, it still carries a major flop risk, but actual fans might criticize it for ruining the fluff narrative. 


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#9
Sete

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Updated my post. Pilot episode should easily give some grasp on the setting. The great crusade, Horus betrayal, Emperor in the golden throne, imagine Lord of the rings intro style, seeing Primarchs from afar fighting, image a shot of a Imperial Fist on the wall watching Sanguinius fight kabanda in the skies, hordes of traitors attacking the walls, titans, Daemon Primarchs amongst them. But never focus on them, as if just passing shots. Show the Emperor being encased on the golden throne. Roll up those words we read in every single Black Library book, of an uncaring galaxy and the laughter is thirsting gods, fast forward 10k, and show the future inquisitor family being killed by some Orks and being saved by Tempestus troopers. End episode with him joining schola. Boom who wants to make an anime out of it?
It's not as a herculean task as it seems.

Edited by Sete, 21 November 2017 - 12:36 PM.

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#10
M@verik115

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Look I am not saying its not doable, but just the CGI aspect itself will require a huge budget. 
The thing is, no one is willing to fund that budget at the moment. 
Why fund a film which has a large chance of flopping, when you can just fun another rehashed mind numbing superhero movie and make billions?


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#11
Sete

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Film? No film mate. Series. Animated.
But I do think a live action one should be easily done.
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#12
b1soul

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Which studios have looked at 40K?

#13
Sete

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Which studios have looked at 40K?


I have no idea.

#14
M@verik115

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Which studios have looked at 40K?

Oats, legendary and tencent looked at it. 
After the initial flop of Ultramarines its been a hard sell. 


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#15
M@verik115

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Im not saying it cannot be done. Anything can be done. 
The truth is just no studio has had the balls to fund a 40K film or series yet besides Codex Pictures which gave us the Ultramarine flop and later closed down. 


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#16
Aramis K

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I'd take the same approach as the first HH novels, set it on a ship following baseline humans, then slowly introduce the bigger stuff. The ship allows for travel, a range of encounters and provides a stable baseline. All the reasons Alien, Galactica, Starship Troopers work.

Keep the marines and what they do limited at first. Just show the edges of the big stuff.

Anyway, I doubt it'll happen. 40k is too divisive an IP. I think it repels a lot of people, more so than comics or video or board games.
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#17
b1soul

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Ultramarines was bad because it had terrible animation for a 2010 program production...it's odd that a studio would make their assessment based on the performance of Ultramarines

#18
Triszin

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A rogue trader that travels the galaxy doing odd jobs for the imperium/inquistion, get rich quick schemes.

 

would be a fun way to explore the universe, from the hives to the tau/necrons.


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banana


#19
Sete

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Just write it down as a spiritual successor of firefly :D
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#20
M@verik115

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Ultramarines was bad because it had terrible animation for a 2010 program production...it's odd that a studio would make their assessment based on the performance of Ultramarines

As if the voice acting and storyline were good lol. 
At the moment as far I am aware there are no plans to release a proper series or film for 40K, but lets hope that changes. 
I would like to see it as much as anyone, but sadly, it is what it is at the moment. 


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#21
MyD4rkPassenger

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Eisenhorn Xenos would adapt well and has the ability to draw in non-fan/casual audiences.  It's grounded in more human centric issues and doesn't focus on the frankly difficult to render accurately space marines.  You don't even need to know too much of the lore going in reading the book.  It has enough "40K" for us die hard fans, but is relatable to an audience ignorant of it's source material. 

 

Streaming service or HBO networks only, generic television would be terrible.

 

1. Would you set the series in pre-GS-40K, during the GS, post-GS 40K...the Great Crusade or the HH 

 

No HH or Post GS, GS too volitile currently, HH to grand for television IMO

 

2. What faction do you focus on?

 

Inquisition, please no space marines except for exciting special episodes, they are extremely difficult to render in live action well IMO

 

3. Who's the main character? Who are the supporting characters? What's the basic plot of the episode?

 

Eisenhorn! As for a new story, no fresh inquisitor.  An experienced character at the head of a warband will lead to less coming of age storyline aspects.

4. What's your ideal opening scene. Do you go for a Star Wars like text intro or do you drop the audience into vicious, hard-hitting action or perhaps something more brooding and slow-burn?

 

Definitely an airborne ride over a city, shots of the city a la blade runner

5. Do you prefer a more self-contained intro episode or the first chapter of a long story arc?

 

Long story arc

6. Who do you cast for your primary roles?

 

Eisenhorn?: Nikolaj Coster Waldau, he can handle a serious character like Eisenhorn in Xenos or James Purefoy, he just feels like a 40k character already


Edited by MyD4rkPassenger, 21 November 2017 - 04:07 PM.

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#22
Zodd1888

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Whatever the book was with the assassins coming for horus and failing. That story would be great for a mini series.

#23
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Any 40k series needs to be watchable without knowledge of anything about 40k. This leads me to believe there are only a few options.

Imperial Guard focused, probably on Armageddon fighting orcs. Start with a image of a solar system and a voiceover of the text that all the rulebook have at the start, then shift to a quick thing on Armageddon as you show the ork fleet pouring into the system. Orks are an easy enemy to explain they are big, green and love to fight. Follow a squad of guardsmen.

An inquisition story, main character is a newly recruited acolyte that is being mentored by the Inquisitor who thinks he has finally found a worthy successor. Probably have the acolyte be slightly older, the inquisition tends to recruit people with some special skills. I am thinking a disillusioned guard officer, career going no where because he doesn't have the connections to move up.

Space marines recruits. Lots of chapters recruit from lower tech/ isolated world who know nothing about the wider galaxy. First season is the selection process and initial training ending with their first mission.
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#24
A.T.

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The age of apostasy and the events leading up to it.

 

Set against the backdrop of the age of twin empires and the cataclysm of souls, plotting the rise and fall of Vandire leading to the final season cataclysmic battle on Terra and an epilogue of the great cull and the reformation of the imperial cult/high lords.


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#25
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If I got to run this particular circus, I'd want it to be animated, and I'd want it to be an anthology show. The whole thing could be tied together with a historian/scribe type character, who would act as the MC and occasional narrator for the audience. Each story would be a series of events this character is investigating or transcribing.

This allows for an in-setting narrative voice to explain things to the audience. It facilitates really digging into all sorts of nooks, corners, and crannies in the setting. It allows for more narrative tension by denying protagonists any sort of plot armor, and when any character is liable to be killed or mindwiped or possessed or worse, it allows the stories to really embrace the nihilism, futility, and insanity of 40k.

There are places you can go with this. Maybe our scribe puts some pieces together from the various stories and learns something she shouldn't have. You could lead up to an arc with our unfortunate scribe being targeted by some powerful individual or the Inquisition. Maybe each season would have a different narrator, because they all meet some grisly fate at the end. And if you're cycling through narrators, you can revisit previous stories and tell them completely differently, to show the rather fluid and subjective nature of "truth" and "facts" in 40k.


Alternatively, I suppose you could just set it in Necromunda.
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