FX Orders ‘Kindred’ Series Based on Influential Octavia E. Butler Novel

Mallori Johnson FX
Thomas-Brunot/Courtesy of FX
Kindred - Octavia Butler

Kindred

Octavia E. Butler
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Octavia E. Butler’s widely popular novel Kindred is being adapted into a television series at FX, with newcomer Mallori Johnson set to star in the lead role.

The series comes from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen), producer Courtney Lee-Mitchell (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), and The Americans creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. It was initially picked up as a pilot in March 2021 and has now received an eight-episode series order.

Johnson portrays the story’s protagonist, Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who uproots her life to move to Los Angeles, hoping to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. However, before she settles into her new home, she finds herself dragged back and forth in time to a 19th-century plantation, with which she and her family are surprisingly and intimately linked.

The past and the present are threaded by an interracial romance, and Dana must fight against the clock as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood.

In addition to Johnson, the series also stars Micah Stock (The Right Stuff), Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Gayle Rankin (GLOW), Austin Smith (Hamilton), Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Godfather of Harlem), and David Alexander Kaplan (The Resident).

First published in 1979, Butler’s book is regarded as highly influential and is often a chosen text for high school and college courses. The cross-genre novel explores the dilemmas of antebellum slavery through the eyes of a late 20th-century Black woman, highlighting race issues, as well as power and gender dynamics.

Jacobs-Jenkins is showrunner and writer on the series, with Lee-Mitchell, who acquired the rights to the novel in 2008, serving as executive producer. Aronofsky, Weisberg, and Fields also exec produce alongside Ari Handel, Ernestine Walker, Merrilee Heifetz, and Janicza Bravo, who directed the pilot.

“Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has done a phenomenal job of adapting Kindred for FX and honoring the legacy and timeless value of Octavia Butler’s groundbreaking novel,” said Nick Grad, president of original programming at FX (via Variety). “The pilot directed by Janicza Bravo is brilliant and we can’t wait to resume production with this incredibly talented and dedicated cast.”

Kindred, TBA, FX