Peter Luo’s Starlight Media (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Midway” “Marshall’) along with SA Inc have optioned the rights to Rebecca F. Kuang’s highly popular, award-winning fantasy novel series and will adapt the stories into an English language television series. The collective trilogy includes “The Poppy War” (2018) ‘”Dragon Republic” (2019) and the recently published “The Burning God.”
Starlight and SA Inc will develop and finance the female-led, epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters. Allen Fischer from management/production company Artists First is packaging the project with Starlight, and is in the process of attaching a showrunner.
Inspired by the mixture of the atmosphere of Song dynasty and the Second Sino-Japanese War in mid-20th-century China, the fantasy incredibly builds an imaginary world where shamanism and classical Chinese legends are within reach, filled up with eye-catching adventure.
The story unfolds with Rin, a dark-skinned war orphan from the southern China, acing the national talent exam and getting accepted into an elite military academy, Sinegard Academy. Under the guidance of a seemingly crazy and mysterious master, Rin soon discovers a long-lost shamanic power inside her. As the Third Poppy War approaches, Rin may be the only one who can defend her country and its people, but she fears that winning the war may cost her more than she can afford.
An advocate for bringing Asian culture to Hollywood, Luo said, “The combination of a strong female teenager protagonist, an inspiring theme of an outcast fighting for recognition, and a compelling historical military fantasy grounded in the history of China make this an epic TV package with inbuilt charm that plays universally. We are excited to be adapting the rich and fantastical world that R.F. Kuang has so vividly created.”
“The Poppy War” (published by Harper Voyage in 2018) is the first installment in a Chinese-history inspired epic fantasy trilogy about empire, warfare, shamanism, and opium. The novel is a Goodreads Choice Award finalist (twice over), Nebula Award finalist, Locus Award finalist, and winner of the Stabby, Crawford, and Compton Crook Awards. “The Poppy War” was named as one of the best books of the year by multiple publications including The Washington Post, TIME, The Guardian, and Vulture, amongst many others.“The Poppy War” also won Kuang the 2020 Astounding Award for Best New Writer.
In “The Dragon Republic,” Rin’s story continues in the acclaimed sequel novel to “The Poppy War.” Both “The Poppy War” and “The Dragon Republic” were recently two of the 100 best fantasy novels in history by TIME. “The Burning God” was released on November 17 to critical acclaim.
Rebecca F. Kuang is the Astounding Award-winning and Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominated author of The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic (Harper Voyager). Her debut novel The Poppy War won the Crawford Award and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge and is currently pursuing an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. She also translates Chinese science fiction to English. She starts her PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale next fall.