by Jason Tudor
Executive producers Bruce Boxleitner and Trevor Crafts, and writer Matthew James Daley are bringing your genre back with a bang via the upcoming television series “Lantern City,” with a pilot projected for release in 2014.
While you’re waiting, the trio have created a prequel in the form of an illustrated novel called “Rise,” and the first copies dropped at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 July 19. The prequel to “Lantern City” is a collaboration between series writer Daley and the artists at Section Studios
In an interview with Science Fiction Show executive producer and co-host Michael J. Wistock July 20, Boxleitner said their kind steampunk is one you’ll like.
“Steampunk is such a diverse genre,” Boxleitner said. “This is going to be our version of it. We’re going to be true to ‘true steampunk,’ but I think there are many different interpretations. I don’t think there’s just one.
“Rise” takes place “about a hundred years before” the television show starts, Boxleitner said. “Rise” chronicles Lantern City ruler Killian Grey’s great grandfather, Isaac, and shows early glimpses of young Killian.
The Comic-Con release of “Rise” made absolute sense to the team and it’s been a hit so far. “We launched the TV show at Comic-Con (in 2012), so it only made sense to bring the book to the fans since they were so receptive last year here,” Daley said. “We think it’s been a great move so far.”
Wistock asked Daley if the experience will be richer by reading “Rise” before diving into the “Lantern City” television series. “Reading it will certainly enhance your viewing but it’s not necessary. They are two different entities,” Daley said.
Daley said “Rise” and other books are adding layers and explaining “a lot of the things. It was really important for us to release the prequels prior to the show because we didn’t want backlash when we decided to go back and do the prequels for television.”
Daley pointed out that the threesome have built Lantern City’s world “from the beginning” and not just from the start of the television show, whose cast includes John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones films), Raphael Sbarge and Mira Furlan. “Rise” gives the “Lantern City” fans — who number more than 450,000 on Twitter and another 126,000 on Facebook — a “really good picture of this world … of this universe.”
“The interesting thing as we’ve been working on the backstory and building on all of the ‘before the television show’ is that the viewers and the people who’ve been reading the book may know more than the people actually involved with the television show,” Crafts said.
Boxleitner added a note about the passion for the work, citing his own experience on “Babylon 5.”
“That’s where the seeds of this kind of come from me,” he said, adding, “if you don’t have passion for your project, you’re not going to get it done. It’s as simple as that. If there’s no feeling behind it — something from your guts and your heart — then, uh, it’s not going to come across.”
Of the choice of a steampunk setting, Crafts was clear. “We’ve been everywhere in television. It’s very hard to find a new, unique place to show viewers. We’ve been everywhere in outer space. Every cop show you can think of. Post-Apocalyptic Earth — that’s the new bit. We’re trying to find a new place that people haven’t seen yet.
Crafts said two more prequel books are planned that lead up to the show. A Kindle edition of “Rise” and apps for iOS and Android are also on the way.
For more about Lantern City, go to www.lanterncitytv.com