Butler, who died in 2006, was a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science fiction writer. Prolific for many years, she used science fiction to explore themes of race, class, and xenophobia. Her most notable publications include Kindred (1979) and the Xenogenesis series, of which Dawn is the first installment.
The series (known as Lilith’s Brood) chronicles the experiences of Lilith Iyapo, a black human female, who has been pulled from the earth by an alien race known as the Oankali. 250 years after a nuclear war has left our planet uninhabitable, all but a few humans are extinct. The Oankali saved the only survivors and hope to rebuild the human race.
Though Butler contributed seminal work to the science fiction canon, none of her work has been adapted for television or film to date. DuVernay, who is best known for her 2014 film Selma and the 2016 Netflix documentary film 13th, will bring respect, artistic genius, and a certain level of clout to this long overdue adaptation. Butler’s work, which has always contained uncanny prescience, is resurging at a time when the threat of nuclear war hangs like a cloud over us.
Casting decisions have not yet been announced, nor has a release date, but Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Allen Bain, Gary Pearl, Thomas L. Carter, and Teddy Smith are all reported to be a part of the project.