Kieron Gillen would like to see one of his most loved creator-owned comics make the leap to the screen — but he wouldn’t want to be part of making it happen, if possible.
Asked which of his creator-owned comics he would like to see adapted into a movie or television series at MCM October 2023, Gillen said that the answer was “probably” The Wicked + The Divine, his Image Comics series with Jamie McKelvie that ran from 2014 through 2019.
“I’ve worked on adaptations of my work, I’ve written screenplays for books of mine, and there’s definitely books that I’d want to be more involved in and less involved in,” he continues, adding, “I worked on a WicDiv adaptation years ago, and I realized that I don’t want to be involved in WicDiv again.”
The problem isn’t the work itself, which he emphasized he remains proud of and described as “one of the most needed things I’ve written,” as well as something that he believes would continue to resonate with audiences if translated into a new form; instead, it’s the circumstances surrounding its creation; the idea for the series came to him after his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the creation of the book was “one of the saddest periods of my life,” he admitted. “I don’t want to go through that again.”
The adaptation Gillen is referring to is likely the mooted television adaptation under the auspices of Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s overall deal with Universal Television. Announced in 2015 — just a year after the comic’s launch — the show never happened. That’s not to say the experience soured Gillen on the idea of optioning his material for development. As he joked on the panel, “I would like any of them to be made [into a movie or TV show], because the money’s really nice.”
Before he moved off the subject, Gillen did let one more thing slip. “I’ve written a Die screenplay, it was a lot of fun,” he shared. Don’t get too excited about what that might mean, however. As he explained, “I wrote that one for myself. It was a spec.”
Also at MCM October 2023, Kieron Gillen talked about his future creator-owned comics ideas.