Sam Esmail to Adapt Metropolis Miniseries for AppleTV+

The future is coming to AppleTV+. Sam Esmail, creator of Mister Robot television series, working on a series inspired by the classic sci-fi film Metropolis! This news comes to us from SlashFilm.

Metropolis is a staple not only in the history of science fiction, but also in the history of cinema. The silent-era German expressionist drama was directed by Fritz Lang, who is also known for classics such as M, we only live onceand The woman at the window. The film is set in the fictional city of Metropolis, where the rich live in luxury while the lower working class people toil in the depths of the underground. For Freder, the son of Joh Fredersen, the ruler of the city, Metropolis is a utopia of endless fun. But one day, he follows a beautiful young woman named Maria to the depths of the city’s underbelly. After witnessing a machinery failure and having a vision, Freder learns that the loot he and his family have been plundering for generations has come at the cost of innocent lives. As Freder and Maria try to find a way to bring peace between rich and poor, Joh Fredersen and inventor Rotwang turn out to have a plot of their own. This is where audiences learn about what is probably pop culture’s most influential robot, The Machine Man.


If you have never seen Metropolis, and are a sci-fi fan, on first viewing you will find yourself pointing at the screen multiple times. The film has influenced countless movies over the years, arguably the most notable being star wars and blade runner! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best for this film. Due to the film’s heavy use of religious imagery and a controversial communist message, the film was heavily censored during its distribution. It was not until 2008 that a badly damaged but original cup was found in a museum in Argentina. What was recovered from this impression became The complete Metropolis. Released in 2010, the new definitive cut has a running time of 148 minutes and is available on both DVD and Blu-ray and some streaming platforms like Kanopy.

A metropolis for a new era

Metropolis by Kino International

So what does this almost 100-year-old story have in store for us? And what does Sam Esmail have to bring to the table? Turns out the director worked on a Metropolis project for some time. In 2016, the first announcements were made that he was working on creating a miniseries based on the silent film with Universal Cable Productions. But that was when Mister Robot was still airing and Esmail was still heavily involved. Subsequently, Esmail was involved as both producer and director for the Amazon Prime Video original, Back home. The series officially ended in 2020. He is also the producer of the next Battlestar Galactica series for Peacock.

Right now, it still seems a bit early to make big guesses about what Metropolis will eventually become. But the series now coming to Apple looks like promising news. With behemoths like the next Dragon House series for HBOMax, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for Prime Video and Marvel and Star Wars shows for Disney+, it really feels like a new golden age for genre television. Apple seems to be throwing its cards into science fiction rather than pure fantasy, and judging by the positive reception of Foundation, looks like they know what they are doing. Hope we get some good news from Metropolis soon too!

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