HBO To Adapt The David Cronenberg Classic Scanners As A Series

Big news, horror fans — try not to let your head pop! David Cronenberg's incredible 1981 science fiction horror film "Scanners" is being made into a television series for HBO. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy-winning writer William Bridges will pen the series and serve as showrunner. "Black Mirror" fans will know Bridges best as the man who co-wrote the "USS Callister" episode, which featured a crew of people trapped in an AI simulation for the pleasure of one disturbed man. "Black Mirror" has a lot in common with Cronenberg's work in that it explores the darkest intersections of technology and humanity, so Bridges feels like a perfect fit. The director who helmed the pilot for "Lovecraft Country," Yann Demange, is attached to direct. 

Cronenberg's "Scanners" followed the rise of people known as "scanners," who have various psychic and telekinetic powers, and how their existence threatens base model humans. A private security firm starts hiring scanners to fight other scanners for them, and hopefully take out one rebellious leader named Revok (played by Michael Ironside.) Revok and his crew want to take over the world, sort of like an extra-bloodthirsty Magneto from "X-Men," but the corporation and its scanners set out to stop him. It's a rich fictional universe with plenty of ideas to explore, so a series could really dig into some of the weirdness of Cronenberg's mad world.

Another stab at Scanners

This isn't the first attempt at a "Scanners" remake or reboot, or even a "Scanners" TV show. Darren Lynn Bousman was originally attached to direct a "Scanners" remake movie back in the early 2000s, but that fell apart and was pitched in 2011 as a TV series with a pilot episode potentially directed by French horror filmmaker Alexandre Aja ("High Tension"). In 2017, there were rumors of studios trying to snag the rights for the series, but nothing much came of it. Now, in 2022, 41 years after the release of the original movie, it looks like the series might finally make it to production. 

According to THR, the series will "focus on two women living on the fringes of modern society who are pursued by relentless agents with unimaginable powers and thus must learn to work together to topple a vast conspiracy determined to bring them to heel." It will be set in the same world as the film, but will probably not follow the same plot or characters. The movie "Scanners" went on to have two sequels and a spinoff franchise called "Scanner Cop," but lost steam by the mid-1990s.

The "Scanners" series will be a co-production between HBO, Media Res Studio, and Wayward Films. Cronenberg will act as executive producer along with Media Res Studio's Michael Ellenberg and Lindsey Springer as well as Wayward Films' Meredith Duff and Sarah Sullivan.