Skydance Preps Sword Art Online TV Series


SANTA MONICA: Skydance Media has picked up the global live-action rights for Sword Art Online (SAO), a popular Japanese novel and anime franchise, in partnership with KADOKAWA Corporation.

Skydance is developing and producing the first-ever live-action SAO television series. The show will follow a brilliant young beta tester and his friends as they are trapped alongside thousands of other people in a next-generation virtual reality (VR) online role-playing game filled with sword-fighting and monsters. The pilot episode will be penned by Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar), who is also executive producing alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. Skydance Interactive will launch an SAO VR experience after the series.

The SAO books were written by Reki Kawahara. The property has been given nine comic adaptations, two anime TV shows distributed by Aniplex, a video game and merchandising program and an animated movie that is slated for release in Japan next year.

“At Skydance we are in the business of world-building and SAO is a massive pop-culture phenomenon from which we plan to launch a full-scale and wide-ranging set of live-action franchise extensions across our business verticals, beginning with television,” commented Skydance Media CEO Ellison. “We look forward to working alongside Laeta, Reki Kawahara and the teams at KADOKAWA and Aniplex to build out a deeply immersive new universe of SAO in an authentic way that honors its well-established fan base around the globe.”

“I am excited and moved that Sword Art Online will be adapted into a live-action series by the highly respected Skydance Media,” stated Kawahara. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved in this project, and to the fans all over the world who have so generously and enthusiastically supported SAO.”

“For years I have been inspired by the inventive and masterful storytelling of the SAO franchise,” added Kalogridis. “I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to work with such talented partners to bring this cutting-edge yet timeless story to a new format at Skydance.”