Sunday, April 22, 2018

Amazon Developing Image Comics' EAST OF WEST as TV Series

I would tell you to pray, but it wouldn't do any good.  You have earned what is coming to you.

Deadline is reporting that Amazon Studios has is developing Image Comics' science fiction Western series East of West as an hourlong genre drama series.  

According to the article, East of West will be created and executive produced by series creators Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, along with The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman, who will executive produce the series through his company Skybound Entertainment’s first-look deal at Amazon Studios.  Hickman will also serve as writer for the series, and J.M. Ringuet, Hickman's creative partner on the series Transhuman, will also serve as a producer.

"Nick, J.M. and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Skybound and Amazon," said Hickman.  "We feel very strongly about each project and couldn’t be more appreciative of how far both companies have gone to make us feel welcome.  We look forward to doing the work and hopefully doing it well."

Created in 2013 by Hickman and Dragotta, East of West is set in a dystopian future of the present-day United States. In this timeline, the Civil War never ended and there was almost eternal strife between the Union, the Confederacy, an African-American kingdom, a Native American technocracy, Chinese exiles, and Texan separatists.  This strife came to a sudden halt when a comet hit Kansas on November 9, 1908.  The six warring parties met at Armistice, the location of the comet's impact, and made a truce, thereby forming "the Seven Nations of America" comprised of Armistice, The Union, The Confederacy, the Kingdom, the Endless Nation, the Republic of Texas, and the People's Republic of America (PRA).

On the same day as the comet's impact and the signing of the treaty, there were two simultaneous, yet independent prophecies.  First, Elijah Longstreet was a soldier in the Confederate Army under Stonewall Jackson who wrote his part of the prophecy down and then collapsed and died.  Second, Red Cloud had become the chief of chiefs to the Endless Indian Nation by defeating the many Indian chiefs and uniting all of the Indian tribes under himself.  He transmitted his portion of the prophecy orally and then he also collapsed and died.  For fifty years, these prophecies, referred to by believers as "the Message", remained incomplete.  In 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong of the PRA wrote an addendum to his Little Red Book.  This addendum was the third piece of the prophecy and completed the Message.  It now became clear that The Message was a prophecy of the End of Times.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, War, Famine, and Conquest) sought to fulfill the prophecy by following the Message.  Believers in the Message make a pilgrimage to the site of the comet's impact, but are always killed by the Four Horsemen.  One year, Conquest sparef the infant child of one of the pilgrims and took him as her own.  She named him Ezra Orion and raised him to be the carrier of the Message.  The Horsemen built a structure over Armistice to prevent any further pilgrimages and they trained Ezra to become "what the Message demands."  Ezra was the first member of "the Chosen" and his job was to be the Keeper of the Message.  The Horsemen gathered six other members for the Chosen, each Chosen being a high-ranking member of one of the respective nations.  The Chosen were tasked with the goal of bringing about the Apocalypse.

With a path to the Apocalypse, the Horsemen's plan was derailed when Death fell in love with Xiaolian, one of the two daughters of Mao V.  She and Death had a son together and Death lost interest in the mission of the Horsemen.  Death and Xiaolian left their previous lives to go live together and raise their son.  However, this coupling was foretold by the prophecy and Ezra interpreted their offspring to be "the Beast" that will bring about the apocalypse.  Xiaolian's sister, Hu, was a believer in the Message and a member of the Chosen.  She betrayed her sister to the three remaining Horsemen, who took away Xiaolian's son.  Xia was taken prisoner by her own father, who agreed to cut a deal with the three Horsemen.  Mao would keep Xiaolian's continued existence a secret from Death, and in exchange, Mao could maintain control of the PRA, and Xiaolian could keep her life. Xiaolian was told that her son was killed, but Ezra began raising him to become the Beast.

After Xiaolian was imprisoned and her son was taken from her, something happened that killed the Horsemen, with the series still unclear about what exactly happened.  During this event, Death was also presumed to have been killed, but he survived due to two witches of the Endless Nation, Crow and Wolf.  Ten years later, War, Famine, and Conquest were resurrected at Armistice as 10-year-old children; but they realized that Death was not resurrected as a child because he was not killed when they were.  They felt abandoned by Death, and were determined to accomplish the mission without their fourth member.  Death, meanwhile, sought revenge for the presumed murders of his wife and son, leading into the events of the series' first issue.

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