In Which I Interview Myself About the Old Man’s War TV Series

Me: So, an Old Man’s War TV series?

Me: Yes, looks like, cross fingers, knock on wood.

That’s fantastic news.

I agree.

Wasn’t it supposed to be a movie?

It was.

What happened with that?

Things change. People change. Hairstyles change. And eventually the option on the film ran out. So we got to sell it again, this time for TV.

But you’re still working with Scott Stuber and Wolfgang Petersen, who had the film rights.

Yup. We had a couple of very competitive offers from awesome folks, but Stuber/Petesen came in with what my team thought had the best slate of fundamentals to get a TV series done, including the interest of Universal Cable Productions and Syfy.

Heh. You just said “your team.” You’re so Hollywood now.

Whatever, man.

LA has changed you!

I know. I suck.

Also, why is it being called Ghost Brigades rather than Old Man’s War?

Because Ghost Brigades sounds sexier, basically. The series will pull elements from various books in the OMW universe in any event.

So what happens now?

Now we get the writers to write up the pilot script.

Who are the writers?

Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig.

Have you met them? What do you think of them?

I met them when I was in San Diego the other week. We sat around and had a nice long chat about the books and the TV series and adapting the former into the latter. They had smart things to say about the books, asked smart questions, and were generally, well, smart. I liked them. We had a good time and I think they will do a very fine job adapting the books.

Why aren’t you writing the script?

Because I have other things to write, including the sequel to The Human Division.

But you’re going to be involved in some way, yes?

Yes. I’ll be an executive producer on the show, and I will be having input on things.

So this is the second TV show you currently have under development, yes?

That’s correct. Redshirts is currently chugging along at FX.

How’s that going?

So far, very well! I saw some of the work on it recently and I am very happy to say that I’m pleased with what I’ve seen. I can’t say anything else at this point.

So now that you’re an executive producer of two TV shows under development I bet you think you’re some sort of hot shot.

Yes. Yes, I do. KNEEL BEFORE ME.

You know that’s a physical impossibility.

Damn. You’re right. Never mind.

Anything to say to those who are congratulating you?

Yes: Thank you, and I love you all.

Anything to say to those who see this as evidence of the further decline of western culture?

Yes: HA HA suck it dudes.

Do you have any other news for us, TV, film or otherwise?


Maybe? Maybe? You’re just being a dick now. 

I know. I suck.

Update, August 6: More questions answered.

80 Comments on “In Which I Interview Myself About the Old Man’s War TV Series”

  1. I would love to see this. Unfortunately, I fear the project will get yanked at the last minute so they can put TARANTULA SHARKQUAKE IV into production…

  2. “You came to a diplomatic mission commando?” Gratz John, glad to hear Mr. Perry is making the grade.

    Also, I’m super glad to hear of a sequel to Human Division. Harry is one of your best characters in my opinion and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  3. @RPF: ~shudder~ The horror that a fourth Sharknado-ish movie would be is making me gag.

    Personally, though, I think it’d stay in the ocean rather than the branch into the desert… so we’d see something like “Sharkquake IV: The Revenge of Squidlips!”

  4. Sweet! Now we get to look forward to both the new show, and Wil’s snarky comments about it on TWWP (assuming he gets renewed, which he TOTALLY should…)

  5. One of our national newspapers is running a “self interview” series at the moment and they make me cringe every time. This one however has me laughing out loud! Thanks for sharing the news, and: congrats!

  6. Congratulations again.

    Do you know if the series will follow John Perry or Harry Wilson? If you do know, can you tell us?

    Do I want to know, or would I rather be surprised? I can’t decide.

  7. Full series or miniseries? Or is this a “lets make a pilot and see how big the pile of money we can get? thing?

  8. I’m cynical. Syfy probably doesn’t realize it’s science fiction. They see the title and think it’s about ghost hunting or something more in line with their programming.

  9. Rad about TV, bummer about movie. Net “rad”, since this feels more concrete than the movie option did. Congrats!

  10. congrats, this is awesome and please tell us you are getting generously, or at least adequately paid for all this.

  11. I may not be able to kneel before you, but please accept my prior dancing before you at DetCon in retroactive celebration.

  12. Things change. People change. Hairstyles change.

    I…I thought I was the only one who whipped out this Top Secret quote for situations like these.

    Thank you, John. I no longer feel so alone in the universe.

    (And congrats on the maybe-might-be-TV-series!)

  13. I’m thinking the next news will be that someone has bought the movie option for Lock In.

  14. Gah! Between this news and the fact that James S.A. Corey’s “The Expanse” series is also going to be a series on SyFy, that just might become my favorite channel ever!

  15. Congratulations, sir! I’m very excited about this change, actually. When this was going to be released in movie form, of course I was going to go see it, and any sequels that may have followed. But now, I don’t have to leave my house to do so. :) I have to say, each time I go to the movie theater these days, I find myself less and less happy to be watching a new movie with a bunch of chattering, texting, running-through-the-aisles morons.

    I think if it’s done just right, it will come out fine on the small screen. Plus, I think a TV series will allow room for much more of the content of the books to be included. I am still looking forward to Redshirts, and now I have this to look forward to as well.

  16. TV has the “demerit” that they’ll spend less ludicrously much on SFX, but the considerable merit that we get More Story out of the deal. And the SFX on TV has gotten sufficiently decent that I don’t feel all that left out.

    And for teh awesomeness, if they could dig out the costume for Serris from Galaxy Quest for the chief alien antagonist, that would be awesome!!!

  17. Well, since no one else has pointed it out… You can kneel before yourself. Get a mirror.

    Also, I’m so excited about these shows!

  18. That Zoe/Consu/Obin/General Gao scene better be made funny this time. I hate crying in front of the television.

  19. Crap. Now I have another series I need to finish reading before the TV show hits.

    Congratulations. Looking forward to seeing both series.

  20. Well…..DAMN.

    Congratulations, John. It would be great to see an adaption for TV. Obviously, some things will need to change. If they catch the general spirit, I’ll be happy.

    The biggest challenge? The Aliens, I’d bet.

  21. Congrats! My only concern is that the record ratings for Sharknado II may cause Syfy to rethink their new having some actual science fiction on the channel.

  22. Yvonne Strahovski needs to play Jane Sagan. That’s who I cast in her role, in my head, as I re-read through the OMW novels.

    Also I have a sneaking suspicion that CDF combat uniforms are going to end up looking like Crysis Nanosuits by the time the wardrobe/costume people are done with it. Which I don’t mind one bit, because nanosuits are frickin’ awesome.

  23. John –


    With Old Man’s War coming to SyFy, as well as Corey’s The Expanse series, SyFy may be winning me back… while I’ve long since “cut the cord”, I’ll be more than happy to buy the series on Google/Amazon etc.

    *clink* Here’s to SyFy’s Sci-Fi revival!

  24. Yay, more Scalzi based TV.

    As an aside, just once I’d like to see some villain say, “Kneel AFTER me.” He immediately kneels, then looks expectantly at the protagonist.

  25. SyFy is doing both this and The Expanse? I hope they have the budget to do justice to both at the same time.

  26. John, I’m scared.

    The last time a beloved book series of mine (And OMW got me into Sci-fi) was turned into a TV series it was a a monumental failure. It was canceled after season two and there are over ten books in the series.

    But congrats! This is pretty epic.

    I think I’ll spend the next couple of years mentally preparing for all the heartache I’m going to be reliving.

  27. Well, Ghost Brigades IS a sexier name. Congratulations, and I’m looking forward to seeing the show. It’s such a fun world they could tell a lot of others stories, especially about the actual Ghost Brigade people. Shades of Space, Above and Beyond!

  28. As much fun as it would be to see Mr. Scalzi attempt to kneel in front of himself, I really want to see the @scalzi / @scalzi twitter war. Expect there will be Oxnard Commas, Eminem-Dash, and all the rest flying every which way.

    Hey, just saw the S. A. Corey guys (Dan Abraham and Ty Franck) at Bubonicon. Gave a great talk on bringing their expanse series to T.V. Sounds like fun! Hope you get to dictate to a design company what your space ships and weapons look like, not to mention costume design. Ok, most fun I had in theater class was doing props and costumes. Making mouth-flappy noises in front of people is scary/hard!

  29. Verrrrrrry cool.

    And being a dick about this is totally understandable. When I had my own chance not to be a dick about things…I was TOTALLY into major suckage territory.

  30. Congratulations! Kneeling is, for me, medically counterindicated, due to the injury which I received from the narcotics-dealing gangster who was convicted on criminal Assault & Battery. Plenty of time to watch TV in prison.

    I intend to stay outside the GrayBar Hotel, reading your books, writing my books, and watching actual SCIENCE Fiction when the TV and Movie Industry have the good taste to produce it.

  31. Great news! You mean we’re getting Sharknado 3 the TV series, now with green aliens, right? Also, I can do the kneeling when you come to Boston for the signing of Locked-In…

  32. I live in Spain and I hope I’ll be able to watch it, as the other 12-15 series I currently follow 😉

  33. It would be nice if what was once the SciFi channel returned to its roots.

    And it sure doesn’t suck to be you.

  34. Let me guess: They wanted SnailQuake but you wouldn’t sell them the rights unless they also picked up OMW, right?

  35. If Lockin is as good as the extracts I’ve read so far then I would overcome my laziness and venture out to watch a movie thereof. In the meantime two tv series looks pretty good, though neither will be easily available in England; congratulations!

  36. I wish I understood what “put into development” means in the TV world. Should I actually have a high expectation that this show will materialize in 2016? Does TV have as many unmade projects as film?

    I’m aware that film options for some books get renewed for decades, though I suppose that not every optioned book goes into development.

  37. Kneel before you?!? What so we can be eye-to-eye?
    Short jokes, thats all I got. I’d hate you if I could but you seem to be too damn decent, f’er.

  38. Be careful in Hollywood. There was this other sf guy, George, who went Producering, but even so, Hollywood said his ideas would be too expensive to shoot, so he finally gave up and went back to writing books and we’ve hardly heard of him since.

  39. Just so I understand the process. Right now its optioned for a script right? It has not been greenlighted to go from script to actual ‘lets make the TV series right? How long do you think it will take for a go/no go for the next step? Some of these things can go on for years.

    Redshirts has an actual go forward with make the TV series or is it still in ‘working on the script’

  40. Congratulations :). I am mostly squeeing with delight. The bit of me that isn’t is the bit that knows Syfy doesn’t do subtitles … and I am severely deaf :(.

  41. Have you started to do your dream casting for the major roles? Who plays John Perry?

  42. Man, you are the most softball interviewer ever. Or maybe you’re just a difficult subject to interview.

    Anyway, congratulations, mostly. I mean, interesting choice to go TV rather than film. Though, if the option lapsed, maybe it wasn’t entirely your choice. The property is actively being developed, which is definitely on the path out of development hell. So that’s a plus.

    I guess I’m disappointed the film version fell through. And I don’t trust SyFy, not since they so badly handled Farscape. I realize that was over a decade ago, but they haven’t won me back with their choices since. Maybe if their leadership would just admit that they don’t want to deal with long-running series, and focus on limited-run programs. Like Starz and Torchwood: Miracle Day.

    Ok, bad example.

    Last gripe: I do hope Ghost Brigades ends up a working title, and not indicative of the focus of the series. Old Man’s War works because it examines humanity, and as characters the CDF regulars are removed enough from their own humanity to make that work. The Ghost Brigades are so far removed that it creates a lot of distance between them and the audience (Jane Sagan being the exception, not the rule). And frankly, The Ghost Brigades was the weakest of the OMW novels – I chalk it up to a mild sophomore slump.

    I’ll go ahead and waive my consulting fee on this one. Just for you, John. I’m nice like that.

  43. Somewhere with all this has got to be an opportunity for an author cameo in this show or Redshirts. Hopefully with a ukelele.

  44. Congratulations. Executive Producer? Does that mean you get a cool animated logo at the beginning of each show? Like Belisarius/Bellisario?

  45. By the time it gets to the screen:

    i, John Perry will be 25 to 30, and played by someone too handsome to consent to being green. The idea about old people being recruited will be quietly dropped.

    ii, There will be only two alien races, and they will be invading/threatening Earth.

    iii, Somehow, for some reason, Perry will be in conflict with his father who will also be in the service.

    iv, and the CDF will be the canonical Good Guys who are extra-special because humans are just naturally so extra-special.

    (based on cynicism about previous sf shows)

  46. I, for one, am grateful that the Internet was forthcoming about the Zucker Bros. nod in the answer to Q4. It was about to start bugging the hell out of me for the rest of the night.

  47. Firstly, congratulations! Feel free to spend a few moments in a well deserved excess of ego wallowing. OK, that’s enough. Back to work!

    Secondly, can’t wait to watch!


  48. Seriously…do you like me to squeal in my bed in the middle of the night. Couldn’t this wait until morning.

    Congrats, sir…forever and always will be your greatest fan.

  49. Every detail of this excellent and silly post is all the proof I need to know that you are still you, big shot and all. As a matter of fact, you always knew it would be like this, or else why were you practicing your book-signing signature so much in 9th grade? So this is all part of the you that you always were and luckily still are. So congratulations mr successful – you deserve it because your work is that good and because you are some of awe. Proud to know ya. Love, RBL

  50. docrocketscience, my impression is that they’re using “Ghost Brigades” because it’s a catchier title, not that the series is going to focus on the book “Ghost Brigades.” The words “Old Man” in the title would probably be a losing proposition, except for fans of the book and of Scalzi, and Syfy needs lots more people than that to watch the show.

  51. Great news! Is the show going to stick to the plot of the books in the style of Game of Thrones, or will it also explore new plots in the OMW universe?

  52. Vox Day, et al: eat your shriveled, pathetic, wretched hearts out (brilliant interview, btw)….

  53. But John, weren’t you ‘destroyed’ but some cheetoh-dust-covered blog post in the recent past?

    So, I guess ‘destruction’ means two TV shows in development. How may I get ‘destroyed’, please??

    (Congrats! This should raise the level of scifi on teevee. But please: no ‘evil twins’ episodes, eh? Talk to Greg Bear about his H’wood experience.)

  54. Congratulations, very exciting news. I think it is a great fit for a TV series. The way you wrote the books gives them choices for which way to go with it. Either follow your focused narratives, or explore the whole galaxy of other story ideas you set up. You are definitely not heavy handed with exposition, but you provide enough throughout the books that there is a ton of room for new characters and plotlines, if that is how they decide to go. Either way I am sure I will enjoy it.

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