Skydance’s forthcoming live-action television adaptation of hit Japanese IP property, Sword Art Online (SAO), now comes attached with award-winning writer/producer duo Patrick Massett and John Zinman (Friday Night Lights, The Blacklist, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). The move signals the start of a multi-year deal between the parties following last year’s announcement.
Skydance’s SAO series will follow brilliant young beta tester Kirito and his group of friends when they are trapped, along with 10,000 other people, in a next-generation virtual reality online role-playing game filled with swordfighting, monsters, and mystery.
Masset and Zinman will serve as showrunners, and will also share writing duties on the pilot with Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Altered Carbon) who first shepherded the project to the studio. All three are executive producing the new series along with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.
“Patrick and John have shown incredible range in their storytelling capabilities, from subtle character drama to big, world-building action, and we are beyond fortunate that they have joined the Skydance family,” said Skydance Television President Marcy Ross. “We’re already deep in development with Patrick, John, and Laeta on our larger than life Skydance SAO series, in which we aim not only to satisfy the franchise’s enthusiastic sci-fi and anime fan base but also to appeal to new TV audiences the world over.”
“The fantastical world of SAO offers an unparalleled opportunity to tell stories that resonate on both an epic and human scale. We couldn’t ask for better partners than Skydance and Laeta to help us bring this global pop culture phenomenon to new life on television,” said Massett and Zinman in a joint statement.
The manga led to two hit anime shows from director Ito Tomohiko, as well as feature film follow-up, Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale which Aniplex U.S. released back in February.