‘Wild Cards’: Here’s What You Need To Know About The Superhero Series From George R.R. Martin

The runaway success of Game of Thrones has already made George R.R. Martin into a millionaire and a household name. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to capitalize on another of his captivating tales. On Saturday, Martin published featuring the good news that the sci-fi/superhero novel and anthology series he’s created and edited, Wild Cards, just got picked up to become a TV show!

Here’s what he said in the post:

We have some exciting news for all the Wild Cards fans out there. Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has acquired the rights to adapt our long-running Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television. Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series.

Martin himself is locked in an exclusive contract with HBO (and is also busily scribbling away on The Winds of Winter), so he won’t be working on the Wild Cards TV series. But he assures the fans that the series is in capable hands with Melinda Snodgrass, the co-creator and editor, whom Martin calls his “right-hand man,” on board as executive producer.

See also:

High Stakes, A Wild Cards Novel

High Stakes, A Wild Cards Novel

Later in the post, he issues the warning that “going into development” in Hollywood is never really a sure thing, but honestly, who would pass up the opportunity to bring another GRRM creation to the screen?

Welcome To The Wild Card Universe

“The shared world of the Wild Cards diverged from our own on September 15, 1946 when an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, and spread across an unsuspecting Earth. Of those infected, 90% died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9% were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1% became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces. The world was never the same.” – George R.R. Martin

After World War II, a prominent family on the planet Takis developed a biological weapon in the form of a DNA-altering virus, which they planned to test on the inhabitants of Earth. However, one member of the family, Dr. Tachyon, disagreed with the plan and tried to prevent it from being carried out. Tragically, his attempts to stop them from reaching Earth only succeeded in crashing the ship, and the virus was unleashed anyway.


The first outbreaks occurred in New York City, but the virus spread until it affected tens of thousands globally. It became known as the “Wild Card virus” since its effects were so unpredictable. The majority of those that contracted it died brutal, agonizing deaths. Of the survivors, most were turned into Jokers. These victims suffer from wretched physical deformities, and are generally ostracized from society. But that 1 percent of survivors suddenly found themselves retaining their humanity but coming into possession of extraordinary abilities. These became known as Aces. Unfortunately, not every Ace was lucky. Some of them gained only minor powers that weren’t really considered useful or valuable, and they became known as Deuces.

What Possible Storylines Could We See In Wild Cards?

Since Wild Cards does take place on Earth, different storylines often draw on real historical incidents or figures like JFK, Gandhi and Juan Perón. In fact, the first task force of aces assembled within the Wild Card universe, Exotics for Democracy (a.k.a. the Four Aces), teamed up in order to challenge Juan Perón’s rise to power in Argentina. Founded by Archibald Holmes, the Four Aces represented all the liberal ideals that flourished in the US following World War II, and flew around the world combatting fascism.


Their team included:

  • Earl Sanderson, Jr., a.k.a. Black Eagle, was a pilot during WWII and a member of the Communist Party, and possessed the Ace powers of flight and force field.
  • Blythe Stanhope van Rensselaer, a.k.a., Brain Trust, thought she had escaped the outbreak of the Wild Card virus until she realized she could absorb the thoughts and memories of others.
  • Jack Braun, a.k.a. Golden Boy, was raised on a farm in North Dakota until he became a soldier during the war. After being awarded three purple hearts and a bronze star for bravery, he attempted to launch an acting career in NYC before being infected with the virus, transforming him into the strongest man alive.
  • David Harstein, a.k.a. the Envoy, started life as a chess hustler but joined the Four Aces after being infected with the Wild Card virus and left with super-human levels of charisma that could influence anyone to do as he wished.

The stories of the Four Aces stretch across many of the series’s 22 books, so there’s a good chance that they’ll be due for at least an appearance in the series. Of course, there are so many different characters and plotlines, we’ll just have to wait and see what cards Snodgrass and UCP decide to deal out.

What do you think of Wild Cards becoming a TV series?

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Are you a serious Game of Thrones fan? Check out this compilation of all the best battles throughout the seven seasons:

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Nostalgia never gets old. Find me on Twitter @gen_vanvee