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Steppin’ into The Twilight Zone: CBS starts production on reboot of classic series

By Rick Marshall

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CBS All Access subscribers, you’re about to enter The Twilight Zone — and Jordan Peele will be your tour guide.

A reboot of the classic sci-fi anthology series is in the works for CBS’ streaming content service, with Get Out writer and director Peele developing the project and serving as the series’ host. Production on the first 10-episode season of the series has officially begun, and casting for the first set of episodes is underway.

Among the first cast members announced for the series is The Big Sick star Kumail Nanjiani (pictured below), who will star in an episode written by Alex Rubens (Key and Peele), according to Deadline. He joins previously announced cast members Sanaa Lathan (The Best Man) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation).


In early October, CBS released a brief video (see above) announcing that cameras are rolling on the show.

The initial announcement of the project was made during a company earnings call by now-former CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves in November 2017, per The Hollywood Reporter. This was followed by the first, creepy teaser for the series, which was released earlier this year and offered a preview of Peele’s delivery of the show’s iconic introduction — made famous by original host and creator Rod Serling.

According to the teaser, the series will debut at some point in 2019.

Details are scarce regarding the context of the reboot, but CBS TV Studios president David Stapf indicated that “because it’s anthological you don’t need to look at it as who’s the showrunner.” Peele, X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg, and Daredevil and The Defenders showrunner Marco Ramirez will serve as executive producers for the series.

The Twilight Zone originally ran for five seasons between 1959 and 1964, and encompassed 156 episodes blending the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. The stand-alone episodes told cautionary — and occasionally terrifying — tales that inspired generations of filmmakers in later years. Two revival series aired in the following years, with one premiering in the 1980s, and the other from 2002 to 2003.

In 1983, John Landis and Steven Spielberg produced a feature-length film based on the series. The movie featured four segments, directed by Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante (Gremlins), and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road). Miller famously directed a segment about an airline passenger played by John Lithgow who sees a terrifying gremlin on the wing of the plane. The segment was an expanded retelling of an episode from the original series in which William Shatner played the passenger.

In June, Warner Bros. Pictures announced plans for a new movie based on The Twilight Zone. Screenwriter Christine Lavaf (Falling Skies, 666 Park Avenue) was hired to pen the script, which was expected to tell a single story instead of several anthology tales. Previous iterations of a planned Twilight Zone movie had Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) and Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) attached as directors at one point, only to fade into development limbo.

Updated on November 15, 2018: Added casting news for the first season of the series.

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