The Jaunt, a spooky sci-fi short story from frightmaster Stephen King, is being turned into a series. Having read the story I can tell you that this is a weird idea, and I’m not sure how you even turn this into a series as opposed to a movie. But I’ll let Dave Erickson work that one out. Erickson, co-creator of Fear the Walking Dead, is developing the series for MRC Television. The story is set in the 24th century, where teleportation is commonplace. Of course, since this is a Stephen King story, something goes wrong.
Deadline has the scoop on The Jaunt series, reporting that Dave Erickson, co-creator of Fear the Walking Dead, is working on developing the Stephen King short story into a show for MRC Television. “We’ve long admired Dave’s visionary creative work and are thrilled to welcome him to MRC,” said Elise Henderson, President of MRC. “A true master of his craft, he’s the ideal partner to build upon the work of Stephen King, and create and develop more originals as the studio continues to expand.”
The Jaunt was first published in The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1981, and collected in King’s 1985 collection Skeleton Crew. The story is set primarily in the 24th century, where teleportation – or jaunting, as everyone calls it – has become the major method of transportation. But there’s a catch: you have to be unconscious during the trip. Why? Well, because if you’re awake and aware, you’re going to see all sorts of cosmic horrors the human mind was never meant to see. As the story kicks-off, a family is about to jaunt off to Mars, and before they go, the patriarch of the family tells his two kids the story of how teleportation was discovered. The story involves a scientist in 1987 who accidentally discovers the process and began testing it on lab mice. The mice either die immediately after being teleported or go crazy and then die. Because of that, safety protocols are put in place to anesthetize folks who are jaunting.
And as I mentioned above, since this is a Stephen King story, the horror arises when someone dares to teleport while still awake. I won’t give away what happens, but I will say that while it’s plenty creepy, I’m struggling to see how this works as a TV series. Part of the power of the story is its disturbing reveal of what happens to any poor soul unlucky enough to still be awake during the Jaunt.
This sort of thing would probably work better as a movie, and at one point, that’s exactly what was going to happen. A Jaunt movie was announced as being in the works back in 2015, and Andy Muschietti was in talks to direct. But the movie never came to be, and Muschietti moved on to a different Stephen King adaptation – It.
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