MPI Original Films to Co-produce Serialized Adaptation of the John Matherson Trilogy

November 23, 2021

As reported exclusively in Deadline, MPI Original Films (MPI) announced today that it has secured the film and TV rights to the New York Times bestselling trilogy written by William Forstchen that includes One Second After, One Year After, and The Final Day. MPI has partnered with Startling Inc. (Game of Thrones) to co-produce the series with J. Michael Straczynski (SENSE8, Jeremiah, Babylon 5) attached to write the pilot. The series is an emotionally poignant and terrifyingly real story of America’s immediate and devastating return to a pre-technological dark age in the wake of a terrorist attack. 

Set in the hills of North Carolina, college professor and former military officer John Matherson must fight to preserve the lives of his family and neighbors in the wake of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. In just one second the US is completely incapacitated, thousands are killed, and millions are stranded. Planes fall from the sky, electricity goes out everywhere, supply lines collapse, and transportation is limited to pre-computer era vehicles and horses. Millions of travelers, unable to get home, wander the highways searching for shelter. In the resulting chaos, residents of John’s tight-knit community look to his leadership to guide them through the difficult decisions that must be made if any of them are to survive.

Writing for the series is award-winning writer, producer, and director J. Michael Straczynski. His film credits include Changeling for Clint Eastwood for which his script was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards, Ninja Assassin for the Wachowskis, Thor for Kenneth Branagh, Underworld Awakening for Kate Beckinsale, and World War Z for Paramount and Brad Pitt. Straczynski has also written over 300 produced episodes and seven TV movies, creating and producing such acclaimed series as Babylon 5, Crusade, Jeremiah, and, most recently, SENSE8 for Netflix. He has received the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hugo Award (twice), the SDCC International Icon Award, the Saturn Award, the Ray Bradbury Award, the Christopher Foundation Award, the Space Frontier Foundation Award, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, two Emmys for Babylon 5, the GLAAD Media Award, and dozens of others. 

“MPI Original Films is excited to partner with Startling Inc. and J. Michael Straczynski to bring William Forstchen’s post-apocalyptic thriller to life,” said MPI president Rob Pfaltzgraff. “The series not only paints an alarming picture of the dramatic and immediate effect of an EMP but demonstrates how society can overcome immense adversity through self-reliance, personal sacrifice, hard work, and cooperation.”

Startling’s Matt Kennedy added, “We are thrilled to be working with MPI on bringing Bill Forstchen’s sensational and highly entertaining cautionary tale to the screen.”

The deal with Straczynski was negotiated by MPI’s Rob Pfaltzgraff and Stacey Parks and Startling’s Matt Kennedy, who will serve as Executive Producers on the project. Straczynski is represented by A3 Artist Agency and Gendler-Kelly.

Subscribe to our Newsletter