The Last Ship’s Jodie Turner-Smith Joins George R.R. Martin’s ‘Nightflyers’

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08 Dec 17
The Last Ship's Jodie Turner-Smith Joins George R.R. Martin’s ‘Nightflyers’

The Last Ship’s Jodie Turner-Smith Joins George R.R. Martin’s ‘Nightflyers’

George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers has found it’s first crewmate, as Jodie Turner-Smith trade her ocean-going vessel for a spacefaring one!

Turner-Smith, who has recently been starring in ‘The Last Ship’, will take on the role of Mel, short for Melantha Jhirl. She is a genetically engineered ‘improved model’ human from the planet Prometheus, who is larger, faster, brighter, and stronger than an Earth-normal human.

George R.R. Martin revealed the casting on Facebook, along with commented how, when the character of Melantha appeared on the cover of the original book in 1980, it always bothered him how the publisher refused to make her black, as she had been written, and used an illustration of a white woman instead. Again, when a low budget movie was made in 1987, the character was white. Thankfully, that is now, finally, being rectified.

“We’re beyond excited about her,” commented showrunner Daniel Cerone in an email to Martin. “From the start, Jeff [Buhler, the writer of the show] maintained that we needed a black actress (Jodie is British and Jamaican) to follow your original vision. We enjoyed your story about how the book publishers (and the original movie) missed the boat on Melantha and we’d love your fans to know that we’re working hard to honour your intentions.”

Martin goes on to reveal a little bit more about the characters on the show. Along with Melantha, there is Karoly d’Branin, the leader of the expedition, and Royd Eris, the mysterious owner and captain of the starship Nightflyer, who is never seen except as a hologram. “In the series, the character is called Mel, but I understand that’s just short for Melantha,” adds Martin. “In the script I read, Karoly d’Branin has become Karl and Royd Eris is simply Roy, so there is a consistency there.”

In the original novella, the story is set in the future, on the eve of Earth’s destruction. A team of scientists and a telepath take a journey aboard the ‘Nightflyer’ –  the most advanced ship in the galaxy – to intercept a mysterious alien spacecraft that might hold the key to their survival. As the crew nears their destination, they discover that the ship’s artificial intelligence, alongside a reclusive captain, may be steering them into deadly and unspeakable horrors out in the dark reaches of space…

Syfy will air Nightflyers in the US, with Netflix taking the international screening rights, meaning it should appear on Netflix UK, and is due to air in late July 2018.