The zombie movie genre achieved mainstream popularity due in no small part to the work of Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero, so it’s fitting that one of the most recent projects to bear his name is headed to television, where the undead seem to be all the rage these days.
Romero’s recent, 15-issue comic book series Empire of the Dead has been picked up for development as a TV series, according to Variety, with Romero and his longtime collaborator Peter Grunwald scripting the show.
The first issue of the series — published by Marvel Comics — hit shelves in early 2014, and chronicled life in Manhattan after a zombie virus forces a quarantine on the Big Apple and the island’s population. Along with having to contend with the flesh-hungry living dead, however, the residents of Manhattan find themselves dealing with a new, deadly element that threatens their existence: vampires.
The comic book series is set in continuity with the original 1968 film directed and co-written by Romero, with several direct ties to that film’s story. The final issue of the series arrives on shelves this August.
Following on the success of the 1968 film, Romero went on to make five more films set in the universe established by Night of the Living Dead. That film was followed by 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, in which a group of human survivors took refuge in an abandoned mall, then 1985’s Day of the Dead, which unfolded on a military installation where soldiers and scientists attempt to find a solution to the epidemic. This trilogy of films was followed by a set of modern movies that continue the series, beginning with 2005’s Land of the Dead, and followed by the smaller, independently produced films Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009). All of the films were directed by Romero.
The Empire of the Dead television series will be executive produced by Romero and Grunwald, along with Sam Engelbardt and William D. Johnson of production financier Demarest.