Today We Were Blessed With the News That Ava DuVernay Is Adapting Octavia Butler's Dawn

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

The future might seem bleak, but at least it holds lots of projects by director Ava DuVernay. That body of work will now include a television show based on the story of a woman saved from a ruined Earth by aliens. Timely!


Deadline reports that DuVernay is adapting the 1987 novel Dawn by Octavia Butler, working on its development with media platform founder Charles D. King and writer Victoria Mahoney, who directed her first feature film Yelling to the Sky in 2011. Shockingly, this is the first time Butler’s work has been adapted for TV.

Dawn is the first of a trilogy called Lilith’s Brood. In the book, a black woman named Lilith Iyapo wakes on a spaceship where she learns she’s being kept by aliens called the Oankali, who want to help her bring back humanity. Humans have basically destroyed their own planet, you see. But first, humans and aliens must merge! I read Dawn as a teenager and there are still scenes in it that come to my mind on a regular basis, so if you can’t wait for the television series, pick it up today.

Butler’s books are known for their exploration of race, gender, and the terrible human trait of seeking control over others. Few authors have used science fiction to address so presciently the dangers facing humanity, with such nuanced—and enthralling—prose. In Ava DuVernay’s hands, a show based on her work will most likely result in compulsory viewing. Hope the aliens don’t take me before it comes out.



This is great news. I’m hoping that Dawn and the HBO adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death will outshine that ill-advised Confederacy show. We need feminist AfroFuturism on television, and lots of it.