So some rather surprising news appeared the other day, there are plans for a live action series based on Dan Abnett’s classic Eisenhorn trilogy.
Frank Spotnitz, the creator of Amazon’s adaptation of The Man in the High Castle (loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel) is set to be executive producer and sharing showrunner duties with Emily Feller for the upcoming series.
The idea of a live action series based on one of Games Workshop’s properties is the kind of thing that many a fan has probably had pretty high on their wish list. Fans have by this point become rather well accustomed to disappointment when it comes to adapting 40K to another medium.
Eisenhorn is a trilogy comprised of the books Xenos, Malleus, and Hereticus (although further related books were published later). The story
folows Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn and his retinue as he becomes embroiled in a sprawling interplanetary detective story, a story which takes place over more than a century in the nightmarish far future of the 41st millennium.
The immediate thing that comes to mind is, this will have to have a seriously impressive budget to bring the world of 40K to life. Games Workshop has established the world of 40K over 30 odd years after it first appeared in the late 80’s.
Humanity in the 40K world is a vast but crumbling interplanetary empire, an empire which is constantly at war with several other races, their fellow man and the forces of Chaos. Worshipping the Emperor of mankind (who is now entombed in the Golden Throne of Terra after being mortally wounded 10,000 years ago, it’s a long story) the Imperium is both xenophobic and distinctly fascistic in its pursuit of anyone that doesn’t fall in line, dubbing them heretics.
Making the world of 40K accessible to people completely unfamiliar with it as a concept will take some doing but Eisenhorn is good choice for an attempt. The reason for this is because it doesn’t feature one of the most well known mainstays of the 40K world, space marines, the Imperium’s genetically engineered 8 foot tall shock troops.
The Inquisition, of which Gregor Eisenhorn is a member, are the secret police of the Imperium operating outside the chain of command. Split into three main factions the Ordo Xenos, the Ordo Malleus and the Ordo Hereticus, (with each generally focussing on one facet, aliens, daemons and heretics). Gregor Eisenhorn, who is also a Sanctioned Psyker with potent psychic powers, belongs to the Ordo Xenos.
Whilst the world of 40K has several races that would be classified as malevolent (the Necrons for example are an ancient race of robots determined to restablish their empire after laying dormant for 60 million years) the Imperium aren’t the “good guys” by any means in case that isn’t clear.
The idea of an Eisenhorn live action series is rife with potential, how it actually turns out is a different matter entirely.