Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to develop a film adaptation of “Black,” an adaptation of the Black Mask comic series that’s set in a universe in which only Black people can develop superpowers, production company Studio 8 announced Thursday.
The film adaptation of “Black” has a script from DC’s “Titans” producer Bryan Edward Hill, and the project is currently looking for a director.
“Black” was created by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 and explores a shift in humanity where only Black people develop abilities beyond what the world believes to be possible. When one young man survives a violent event and realizes he has powers, he’s soon pursued by a secret consortium that wants to control the abilities, leading to a fight for mankind itself.
Osajyefo and Smith will be co-producers on the film. Jeff Robinov, Guy Danella, and John Graham will produce from Studio 8. Black Mask Studio’s Matteo Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz will also serve as producer and executive producer, respectively.
Osajyefo, who has worked with DC and Marvel and has helped advance more diversity in the pages of comic books, came up with the concept for “Black” over a decade ago and gained attention for the series after it raised $90,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. The franchise since then has already spawned other spinoff comics and books as part of a larger universe, including from artists and writers such as Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph, Jennifer Johnson, Vita Ayala and Liana Kangas.
“Part of the inspiration for ‘Black’ came from my experiencing the lack of representation in comics publishing and how that directly relates to the scarceness of Black characters,” Osajyefo said in a statement. “For most of comics’ history, white outcasts have been used as allegories for marginalized groups while claiming to reflect the world outside our window. ‘Black’ strips away this veneer to juxtapose superpowers with race while allowing Black people to see ourselves authentically in media and inviting wider audiences into parts of our experience. We’re excited to bring this story to everyone through film, and thankful to Studio 8 for believing in it.”
“We became involved in the development of this story over a year ago,” Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov. “‘Black’ represents a new generation of storytellers and creators who can accurately tell Black stories with the type of care the industry has lacked for decades. The thought-provoking concept caught our attention early on, and we’re proud to play a role in bringing this story to the screen.”
Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 are represented by Matt Sugarman at Weintraub Tobin. Bryan Edward Hill is represented by Verve, Heroes and Villains Entertainment and Attorney Jeff Hynick at Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Matteo Pizzolo and Black Mask Studios are represented by WME.
Deadline first reported the news.