Apple TV+’s Next Big Sci-Fi Show Is Making One Very Smart Change to The Book

Dark Matter is fixing the one thing that made the novel unrealistic.

Dark Matter

If your doppelgänger from an alternate timeline switched places with you, people would notice, right? In Apple TV+’s ambitious new adaptation of the bestselling novel Dark Matter, one detail from that book is being expanded. And with this very specific change, Dark Matter is now poised to improve upon its source material not by making the sci-fi elements seem more believable but by rendering the human reactions way more relatable.

Apple TV+ just dropped a new trailer for Dark Matter, hinting at all the twists and turns in the upcoming show. Here’s why the biggest change in the series is a very, very good move.

Dark Matter’s Trailer, Explained

The trailer for Dark Matter renders the premise of Blake Crouch’s 2016 novel pretty faithfully. Because Crouch wrote more than half of the nine episodes himself, the show’s close alignment with the novel makes sense. Briefly, just like the book, Dark Matter focuses on a physicist named Jason Dessen (Joel Edgerton) who is abducted by his alternate version of himself from a universe where he created “the Box.”

This “Box” allows Jason — and later, Amanda (Alice Braga) — to enter into various alternate timelines, all containing various versions of themselves. Jason’s quest is to get back to his home universe, back to his wife Daniela (Jennifer Connelly), and son Charlie (Oakes Fegley).

And it’s here the Dark Matter trailer reveals an upgrade from the book.

Dark Matter makes Daniela more realistic

In this version of Dark Matter, Daniela will be on the case to expose Jason2.


In the book, after Jason2 switches places with the original Jason, we don’t get very many glimpses of what he’s up to. Mostly, we get the sense that Jason’s family accepts his doppelgänger, even if Daniella is suspicious. However, as the trailer reveals, Jason2’s creepiness will be explored from Daniela’s point-of-view in a way the book barely touched.

In a brief snippet from the trailer, we see Daniela say “he’s been different, and I’m scared.” We also see her spying on Jason2, as he gets up to some shady business. This is a small part of the trailer, but it’s a pretty big deal in what we can expect from the show. Most of the action in the novel involves Jason and Amanda — who in the show appears to live with him in at least one world — trying to find Jason’s original world. But the structure of the show seems like it will give us a lot more of Jason2 living in the original Jason’s timeline.

This is smart for many, many reasons. First, it puts the original version of Daniela into the narrative more often. In the book, we have to feel Jason’s isolation from his world, but that means we don’t really get that many glimpses of what is going on in his world while he’s gone. In fairness, because the bulk of the book is written in first person, it would have messed with the structure to switch back to Jason2 a lot. But, the show appears to be doing just that, letting us see what things look like for Daniela and Charlie, which, in theory, can only raise the stakes.

Dark Matter will become the second Apple TV+ sci-fi series this year to focus on characters crossing into alternate timelines and dealing with their doppelgängers. And after the success of Constellation, it feels like Dark Matter is in good company, while also being very different from that series. With the addition of Jimmi Simpson as Jason’s physicist frenemy Ryan Holder, Dark Matter has that mind-bending Westworld/Black Mirror/Twilight Zone element, partially because Simpson has rocked all of those shows, too. (Also, can we talk about how Jimmi Simpson plays the voices of bad guys in both Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Wars: The Bad Batch?)

Combining the talents of Alice Braga, Jennifer Connelly, and Joel Edgerton (aka, Uncle Owen himself), Dark Matter is poised to possibly be the next great sci-fi thriller series of the year. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype — in our universe anyway.

Dark Matter debuts with two episodes on Apple TV+ on May 8.

Related Tags