The premise for Nightflyers was immediately appealing, a sci-fi epic based on a George R.R. Martin novella that’s basically The Shining in space. But despite all that potential, it looks like Nightflyers won’t see a Season 2 release. The show was recently canceled, despite some “great ideas” for future seasons.
The first episode of Nightflyers first premiered back at NY Comic Con 2018 in October, and in a series of interviews, showrunner Jeff Buhler described his vision for expanding the story beyond Season 1 and the novella it’s based on. That meant entering uncharted territory, and unlimited possibilities.
In a panel discussion at NYCC, Buhler recounted a conversation he had with Martin about Nightflyers’s future.
“George said to me, “I have no idea what you’re going to do beyond this,’ and I said, ‘We have some great ideas about Season 2 and where to go.’
Buhler went on to explain the appeal of adapting a single novella into an expansive TV series, compared to a series of lengthy books like Game of Thrones has done.
“It was really fun and freeing not to have five novels where everyone in the world had read every character and would go and say that person’s not supposed to do that and that person’s not supposed to do that. So we had a good framework, but we were also free to invent.”
The original Nightflyers novella may not have offered any source material beyond Season 1, but there was still plenty of stories in Martin’s bibliography. At NYCC 2018, Buhler told The Verge that he planned to adopt the writer’s Thousand Worlds universe into future seasons of Nightflyers.
The Thousand Worlds universe was comprised of a series of stories set in a distant future where humanity colonized space and set up societies on a variety of far flung planets. It takes place after that initial space-faring civilization collapsed and picks up just as the humans on various planets finally reestablish interstellar travel and begin to reconnect with each other.
In that context, Nightflyers, which focuses on a group that leaves Earth in search or answers, could serve as the precursor to a much larger story about how humanity might adapt to life on other planets. Buhler admitted that this was a bit of a jump from Season 1, but argued that modern TV-watchers “desire stories that have more complexity and less-defined borders.”
“You don’t necessarily have to have a story and then the sequel and tell everything in a linear fashion,” he said. “People are becoming much more sophisticated.”
Unfortunately, it seems Buhler plans for a broader TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s sci-fi stories won’t be happening any time soon. Then again, we wouldn’t rule it out entirely. After all, Syfy’s now-canceled series was already the second adaptation of Nightflyers, so it’s probably only a matter of time before someone else takes a crack at the Thousand Worlds universe.