KAVALIER AND CLAY Coming to Life as a Showtime Series

Kavalier and Clay’s great adventures are coming to life soon. According to a Variety report, Showtime has given the green light for a series based on Michael Chabon’s widely loved novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Released in 2000, the acclaimed novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year. Chabon and producer Ayelet Waldman secured a deal for this series as a part of a multi-year production package with CBS TV Studios. The show will be produced by Paramount Television and executive produced by Star Trek’s Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman.

Here’s what David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios, said to Variety about working with the husband-wife creative team.

“Ayelet and Michael are two of America’s pre-eminent writers. From award-winning novels and non-fiction to their television and film collaborations, they have a remarkable body of work. We’re thrilled to have them on our incredibly talented roster.”

Deadline reveals that the Kavalier and Clay saga will be a limited series, which makes sense considering it is based on one novel. For those who are not familiar, this book is a period novel focusing on the inception of the comics industry. Set in 1939, the novel follows Joe Kavalier, a young refugee from Prague now living in New York City with his fellow teenage cousin Sammy Klayman, who later uses the surname Clay. Kavalier uses his knowledge as an escape artist to flee a Nazi-occupied territory in a coffin, leaving his entire family behind in hopes that he can build a life to save them one day.

The duo leans into their creative strengths and shared love for drawing while trying to progress professional and personally. Kavalier and Clay start to write adventure stories along with other talented people, creating interesting superhero characters throughout the process. Their main character, the Escapist, is a mix of Houdini, Captain America, and Batman who becomes wildly popular. But the duo gets little financial compensation for their great idea and struggle to shield themselves from exploitation.


Kavalier and Clay’s journey through the difficult times of World War II plays into their development of comic books as they come fully into adulthood. There’s also some mysticism, love, and social commentary woven into the plot. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has been cited on a several “best of” books list and has a devoted fanbase. The novel depicted comics as a solid part of literary history and told the story of the countless creatives who contributed to the rise of comics.

There were previous talks of a movie screenplay, miniseries, and even an opera, but none of it came to fruition. However, a Seattle-based Kavalier and Clay stage play did happen back in 2014. So the wait for this series has been going on for a long time. The TV series will be released sometime in 2020. Right now, no one knows who will take on the lead roles but hopefully they will find the perfect actors to hit the mark.

Cheers to Kavalier and Clay for finally getting a shot on TV 20 years after the novel’s release.

Header Image: Random House

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