Dreadstar and Company are coming to television. 40 years after legendary comic book creator Jim Starlin's cosmic space opera debuted in the pages of Marvel imprint Epic Comics, a series adaptation of Dreadstar remains in the works. In 2014, Benderspink and Illuminati Entertainment teamed to develop Dreadstar as a feature film; by 2015, producers Chris Bender and J.C. Spink reworked the adaptation of Starlin's comic book as a TV series from NBCUniversal's Battlestar Galactica producers UCP. After recently reviving the cult character with co-artist Jaime Jameson for the first new story in 30 years, titled Dreadstar Returns, Starlin and Jameson have revealed the cosmic hero's spacefaring adventures will continue on the small screen.
"We're working on that," Jameson confirmed of the planned live-action Dreadstar adaptation during an appearance at Brazil's CCXP 2022. Starlin explained development on the Dreadstar TV series stalled after Spink died in 2017.
"We had one show in the works, but then the producer died. That sort of put a kibosh on everything, so now we're talking to folks again," Starlin said. "We don't want to do a movie. We want to do a series, because it's a long story. So that makes it kind of difficult right now, but we're working on it."
Dreadstar is the story of Vanth Dreadstar, the last survivor of the Milky Way galaxy. Possessing the power of a demi-god and an enchanted sword, the Starslayer searches the galaxy for causes to champion with his intergalactic comrades, including canny cat-man Oedi, cyborg sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, con man Skeevo, and cybernetic telepath Willow. Spanning the Empirical Galaxy, the series is set against a 200-year-old war between King Gregzor's Monarchy and High Lord Papal's political-mystical-religious order known as The Instrumentality.
The in-the-works TV series is being developed as Starlin and Jameson recently teamed for the 100-page graphic novel Dreadstar Returns, which came about after Starlin suffered what looked to be a career-ending injury to his hand.
"This is the 40th year of Dreadstar, and Jaime and I have decided to bring the series back," Starlin said. "She's my co-artist on this, basically. She's listed as the inker, but in a lot of ways, she's also helped redesign some of the characters and inspiration on a lot of the story now, too."
Returns is the first of five books, which will eventually be followed by Starlin's Death of Dreadstar story.
"Before I blew my hand up, I was working on that story. The art book from my [Dreadstar] omnibus has a few pages of that," Starlin said. "I eventually will get back to that story, but that's not the end of the five graphic novels. I plan on continuing it for a while, but I'm gonna have that scripted as a reserve, and after I pass away, somebody else can draw it."
Outside of Dreadstar, Starlin is known for such seminal stories as The Death of Captain Marvel for Marvel Comics and Batman: A Death in the Family for DC Comics. For Marvel, Starlin created cosmic supervillain Thanos, Guardians of the Galaxy members Drax the Destroyer and Gamora, and master martial artist Shang-Chi, all of whom have gone on to become key players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.