Elizabeth Banks’s ‘Red Queen’ Series Picked Up By Peacock

Red Queen, a young adult fantasy novel written by Victoria Aveyard, has been a project Elizabeth Banks has been after for a few years. It had stalled in the past but is going full steam ahead. This turn of events is thanks to the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock.
Banks will, of course, write, direct, produce, and play a “major” supporting role in the series. Arrow writer/producer Beth Schwartz co-wrote the pilot with Aveyard. This is a good sign, as some of her Arrow episodes were quite enjoyable. Then again … some were not.
The plot description of the series given by Variety is succinct enough, “…set in an alternate near-future America where democracy is replaced by a monarchy led by a group of humans with superpowers who rule with an iron fist over those without powers. Mare, a fiery young woman born to poverty without powers, is doing the best she can to survive and protect her family when she discovers the unthinkable: She somehow has powers too. This shocking discovery turns our world upside down and catapults our unlikely hero to become the face of a revolution for the oppressed while searching for the truth behind the greatest mystery of all…how she became so powerful in the first place.
Not overly original, but it’s nice to see a project with superpowers that isn’t clothed in DC or Marvel spandex. There is an underlying worry that crept up while reading that, though.
If the plot of this series feels like it has the potential to be politically charged, that’s up Elizabeth Banks’s alley. She is no stranger to pushing activism in her work to disastrous effect. Anyone who saw the Charlie’s Angels reboot could agree. Banks may not have had input into the pilot script, but what will be her input afterward?
Her adversarial view of men may not go over well when she tries to market a new project to the masses. Do men watch strong women on TV? This was her preemptive statement before Angels flopped, “If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”
I’ll give most things in the entertainment industry a chance. If the writing sucks, I leave. If the characters are boring, I turn it off. If the plot has the consistency of a rural back road in Florida, I’ll pass.
I’m all for an underdog story. Taking out the powers that be by using their own strengths against them? Yes, please. Load it up with dialog and talking points that are as subtle as a sledgehammer to the testes? No, thank you. If I wanted that, I’d go back on Twitter.
What are your thoughts on Banks adapting this young adult novel? Let us know in the comments.
[Source: Variety]

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Mike Phalin

Longtime problematic entertainment journalist. The former workhorse for Dread Central, ScienceFiction.com, and Fanbolt.

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