This is not a drill: Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online is being adapted into a live-action television series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Skydance Television acquired the franchise’s global live action rights through a new partnership with Kadowawa Corp.
And, unsurprisingly, Skydance is looking to fast-track the series. The very first SAO live-action adaptation will be penned by Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar) and feature David Ellison, Dana Goldbert, and Marcy Ross as executive producers. Currently, no network or release date is attached to air the show, but fans are just really stoked the series is even happening.
Skydance has even described what the SAO series will focus on, providing a short description for the show. “[It] follows 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, magic and mystery, where the stakes are life and death,” the studio said in a statement. “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.”
Of course, SAO is known to millions of fans all over the world. The hugely popular manga was first published in 2009 and has sold over 19 million copies since its debut. The manga has since spawned of other comic adaptations and a very successful video game. But, most popularly, SAO was turned into two anime series which caught Japan - and America - by storm. Sword Art Online began back in 2012, and it’s sequel series started in 2014. An upcoming film entitled Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale is set to release in Japan later next year.
Unperturbed by previously cringe-worthy adaptations of manga, Skydance is excited to roll out their SAO series to millions of fans.
CEO David Ellison said, “At Skydance we are in the business of world-building and SAO is a massive pop-culture phenomenon from which we plan to launch a full-scale and wide-ranging set of live-action franchise extensions across our business verticals, beginning with television. We look forward to working alongside Laeta, Reki Kawahara and the teams at Kadowawa and Aniplex to build out a deeply immersive new universe of SAO in an authentic way that honors its well-established fan base around the globe.”