North American production company Skydance Television has announced that they have reached an multi-year agreement with the writers and producers of the 2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie to write, produce and helm the studio’s upcoming live action Sword Art Online series.
Patrick Massett and John Zinman (Friday Night Lights, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) will be the writers, show runners and executive producers for Sword Art Online.
Previously revealed writer Laeta Kalogridis (Terminator Genisys, X-Men), who also did the draft for the upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell film, will write the pilot episode of the series and serve as executive producer alongside Skydances’ David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.
Skydance Television President Marcy Ross mentions:
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. 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. 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. 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.
The show is being fast tracked to be produced as part of an all-new new global franchise. Following the TV series, Skydance is set to produce a virtual reality experience based on Sword Art Online.
The production company lists the synopsis of the upcoming show:
The all-new Skydance Television series will follow a brilliant young beta tester Kirito and his group of friends when they are trapped – alongside 10,000 other people – in a next-generation virtual reality online role-playing game. The game is a world unto itself: filled with sword fighting, monsters and mystery, where the stakes are life and death. Kirito and an ensemble of diverse characters must fight their way through this hostile environment while making lives for themselves in the fantastical world that is Sword Art Online.
In addition to the live action series, a third season of the Sword Art Online TV anime is also in production. Season 3, titled Sword Art Online: Alicization, will adapt the next major arc in the series. The arc itself began in volume 9 of the light novel and ended with volume 18.
Sword Art Online is a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec, who also is the author of Accel World. The light novel series began in 2009 being published in ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko. To date a total of 20 volumes have been compiled in the series. Since the series’ debut, the series has sold over 19 million copies, with 12.5 million sold in Japan alone. Additionally in 2012, an anime adaptation was released. The Sword Art Online anime aired in July and was produced by A-1 Pictures, which received a large reception; it was followed by a recap film, a second season, and an original anime film that released in over 1000 screens worldwide. Since then, the series has appeared on a plethora of media with international merchandise, various manga adaptations of the light novel’s arcs, and video games. In addition, Kawahara has relaunched the series as Sword Art Online: Progressive, a re-release of the light novels with additional content.
Here is a synopsis of the anime from MAL:
1 year after the SAO incident, Kirito is approached by Seijiro Kikuoka from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Department “VR Division” with a rather peculiar request.
That was an investigation on the “Death Gun” incident that occurred in the gun and steel filled VRMMO called Gun Gale Online (GGO). “Players who are shot by a mysterious avatar with a jet black gun lose their lives even in the real world…” Failing to turn down Kikuoka’s bizarre request, Kirito logs in to GGO even though he is not completely convinced that the virtual world could physically affect the real world.
Kirito wanders in an unfamiliar world in order to gain any clues about the “Death Gun.” Then, a female sniper named Sinon who owns a gigantic “Hecate II” rifle extends Kirito a helping hand. With Sinon’s help, Kirito decides to enter the “Bullet of Bullets,” a large tournament to choose the most powerful gunner within the realm of GGO, in hopes to become the target of the “Death Gun” and make direct contact with the mysterious avatar.
The live action TV show adaptation of Sword Art Online will be helmed by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider writers Patrick Massett and John Zinman. The series is currently in production from Skydance as part of a new global franchise. Further details about the show and the new franchise will be revealed at a later date.
"Sword Art Online", images and all associated brands and titles © 2017 Reki Kawahara and ASCII Media Works