Among the new series in the works at Apple TV+ is the anticipated adaptation of Blake Crouch’s sci-fi novel, Dark Matter. What was once originally planned to be a movie is now destined to make its way to streaming in the form of a TV show, which will eventually be available to people with an Apple TV+ subscription. So, what do we know about the plans for the Dark Matter adaptation? Quite a few things. But before we get to that, if you haven’t read the book yet…
If You’re Planning To Read The Book First
One of the great things about Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter is that it’s a sci-fi story and a bit of a mystery thriller as well. It starts with our main character, physicist/husband/father Jason Dessen, being abducted, drugged and dropped into surroundings that are both familiar and unfamiliar all at once. Since we spend much of the first half of the novel following Jason as he tries to figure out what’s going on, I’d personally recommend not knowing much more than that going into the book. Apple TV+’s description puts it nicely when they say it’s “a story about the road not taken.” Of course, there’s a major sci-fi element involved in that, but you may want to read the book to see how that factors in and along with Jason’s efforts to try to get back to his family.
While the section headings in the article below do not contain major spoilers about the plot, and I will not be getting into the ending of the novel in this article or the fate of the characters, the text in the sections below does include more specific references to plot elements that you may not want to know if you’re planning to read the book (opens in new tab). Proceed with caution.
The Dark Matter Apple TV+ Show Will Have Nine Episodes, But The Premiere Date Has Not Been Announced Yet
In late March 2022, Apple TV+ announced that Dark Matter had been ordered to series, with nine episodes planned. This is the first and only announcement that we’ve seen about the series so far. As of July 2022, we haven’t seen many updates on casting or production, so it may be a while before we know when Dark Matter will be available to watch streaming.
In the meantime, nine episodes feels like a good length of time to cover the events of the book, assuming the adaptation remains faithful to the novel. As I mentioned previously, a good portion of the first half of the book follows Jason as he’s trying to understand what’s going on and where he is. Whether or not the series follows a similar pace remains to be seen. More on that in a minute…
Joel Edgerton Will Play Jason Dessen
Included in Apple TV+’s announcement about the series was the news that Joel Edgerton was signed on to play the lead character, Jason Dessen. Apple TV+’s description of the series mirrors the plot of the book, noting that Jason is a physicist and professor who’s abducted and brought to an alternate version of his life. And, here’s where we start to get into more specifics about the plot — the story follows his attempts to find his way back to his reality — “amid the multiverse of lives he could have lived” — in order to get home and protect his family from “the most terrifying, unbeatable foe imaginable: himself.” The fact that that’s all spelled out in the announcement for the show makes me wonder if the series will move more quickly through Jason’s efforts to uncover the truth about his predicament than it happens in the book.
Among his recent roles, Joel Edgerton reprised his role as Owen Lars in the Star Wars universe for Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In addition to Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Edgerton’s movie credits include Zero Dark Thirty, The Gift, It Comes At Night, The Great Gatsby, and Warrior. More recently, he starred in The Green Knight. And coming up, he’s starring in Thirteen Lives, which will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video on August 5 (playing in select theaters July 29).
There’s been no word yet on who will play any of the other characters in Dark Matter, including Jason’s wife, Daniela, or their son Charlie…assuming the series follows the book in that regard — the announcement only mentions that Jason is a family man.
Dark Matter Author Blake Crouch Will Be The Showrunner
Author Blake Crouch is not only penning the pilot episode of this upcoming new Apple TV+ series, but the writer will also serve as showrunner. Matt Tolmach and David Manpearl are set to executive produce.
Dark Matter won’t be Blake Crouch’s first TV credit. The author served as a consulting and executive producer for Wayward Pines, another TV adaptation of his work. He’s also credited as the co-creator of TNT’s series adaptation of Good Behavior, alongside Chad Hodge.
Blake Crouch shared the announcement of the Dark Matter Apple TV+ series back in March. Then, in early April, he shared an Instagram post of a Chicago coffee shop called Dark Matter Coffee. In the caption, he mentioned that he was scouting for the show in Chicago when he came across the coffee shop (the location of which was not actually part of the show scouting). So, it sounds like the plan is for at least some (if not all) of the series to be filmed in Chicago, which should suit the story’s Windy City setting nicely.
The post was shared on April 1, and we haven’t seen updates since then on the status of production.
Louis Leterrier Will Direct The First Four Episodes
Part of the initial announcement about the Dark Matter TV show in the works at Apple TV+ was word that Louis Leterrier would be directing the first four episodes. Among his directing credits for TV are Tycoon, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Lupin. On the feature side, Leterrier directed Now You See Me, The Transporter, and Marvel’s 2008 movie, The Incredible Hulk.
In May 2022 — after news broke that Justin Lin would not be directing the tenth Fast and Furious film, Fast X, as planned — it was reported that Fast X would be directed by Louis Leterrier. Those keeping up with Vin Diesel’s Instagram posts are likely aware that the anticipated sequel (due out in 2023) has been in production since late April. And as far as we know, is still in production (as of early July 2022). So it seems likely that Leterrier has his hands full with the action film at the moment.
Dark Matter Was Originally Supposed To Be A Movie
Once upon a time, Dark Matter was headed to the big screen. In fact, in 2014, Deadline reported that Sony had acquired the rights to the novel, which wouldn’t actually hit shelves until July of 2016. Alas, the adaptation never came to pass. But I’m not especially disappointed in that. As great as it would be to see a Blake Crouch book made into a movie, Dark Matter’s plot gets pretty complicated, to say the least. Nine episodes will hopefully be enough time to provide a good adaptation of Crouch’s novel without having to rush through anything. Beyond being excited to see the story and characters brought to the screen, I’m also hopeful that we’ll get to see more than a few different alternate realities. Blake Crouch’s book is full of great twists and turns that could play out really well in a TV series.
Hopefully we’ll start to see more updates on the series in the coming months, including who’s playing the other characters. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of Blake Crouch and you haven’t read Recursion yet, I definitely recommend it — the novel is not connected to Dark Matter, but like the previously published book, it also offers thrills, suspense, a bit of mystery and plenty of sci-fi twists along the way (pick it up on Amazon (opens in new tab)). The author also has his latest novel, Upgrade, set to hit shelves on July 12, 2022.