Sci-Fi Needs More Dark, Serious Animation

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David SF Wilson is the director of “Sonnie’s Edge” one of the most popular episodes of the Netflix series Love, Death + Robots. Wilson believes computer animation holds great untapped potential for serious science fiction.

“Making an animation is like directing in slow motion,” Wilson says in episode 514 of the The Galaxy Geek’s Guide podcast. “You have an immense amount of control in the animation, because it takes so long, and you can be hyper specific about what you want.”

Love, Death + Robots takes short stories from acclaimed authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton and Neal Asher and adapts them into dark, atmospheric shorts. Wilson would like to see more feature films that take a page out of the series. “When Volume 3 launched, they screened some of the new shorts — and some of the old ones — in a movie theater,” he says. “It made me say, ‘Why aren’t there any animated movies like this?’ I make it my mission for the next five years to get something like this on a screen somewhere. He deserves it.

Feature animation tends to focus on family fare rather than dark, serious science fiction. One reason for this may be lingering memories of the 2001 film. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, which was a commercial and critical flop. “Final Fantasy came out years ago, and it did no one any favors as a test case for what that would look like,” Wilson says. “But I think we’re getting closer to the point where hopefully we can take a chance.”

It points to Loss like a franchise just waiting to be turned into an animated feature. “I didn’t like the previous installments of this franchise,” he says. “The next release shouldn’t be live action. It should be an animated movie. It should be R-rated and aggressive, and like you’ve never seen in this space before.

Listen to the full interview with David SF Wilson in episode 514 of The Galaxy Geek’s Guide (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

David SF Wilson on the Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer:

We were given a lot of freedom. They said, “It’s basically the Sith coming back, and we want a story that features the sacking of Coruscant.” And I was like, “Okay. Can I write whatever I want? And they’re like, “Yes, but you have to introduce a bounty hunter, and there have to be Sith, etc.” “Okay no problem.” And I went and wrote this trailer, and it was the first one we did. There is a character called Darth Malgus, which didn’t exist until I wrote him in this script and we put him in this trailer, and now there are books and statues of him. I still pinch myself that there’s a corner of the Star Wars universe somewhere that didn’t exist until I put it on the page.

David SF Wilson on “Sonnie’s Edge”:

I prepared this presentation for what I wanted to do with the short film “Sonnie’s Edge”, then we had a Skype session with [“Sonnie’s Edge” writer] Peter F. Hamilton. I shared my screen and gave him the presentation of what I was going to do. I couldn’t see Peter as I was going through it, and when I was done and closed the presentation, there was this gentleman looking at me with that ear-to-ear grin. He was so excited. It made my year. In fact, he watched it in a theater in London – at the premiere, with Alastair Reynolds – and he sent me the most amazing email. He said: “I haven’t felt such a feeling since I was a kid in the theater watching star warsand the Star Destroyer rumbled above our heads.

David S.F. Wilson on Delta-v:

Delta-v is a very significant project for Daniel Suarez, as is the case for me. It’s basically the story of how we become a space species, which I think is an important aspect of who we are and what we will one day become… Science fiction has inspired some of the most great leaps in technology that our species has ever taken. , and I believe that as storytellers, we shouldn’t follow in the footsteps of Bezos and Musks who build rockets, we should inspire them about what we want to do. That’s what the series is about. I could go on for hours or so Delta-v and how we are not where we need to be with space exploration. If I could snap my fingers, this would be one of the projects I would love to see happen.

David S.F. Wilson on The division trailer:

Ubisoft called and they said, “Your trailer is depressing. You have to change it. Specifically, there was a suicide in it, and the head of Ubisoft said, “It makes me feel uncomfortable.” I’m like, “Do you see the irony of what you’re saying? The whole trailer talks about how we choose to turn away from uncomfortable or difficult things because we don’t want to have to deal with them. This emotional experience that you are having is the purpose of the trailer. In their defense, they listened to me for about five minutes and then said, “You seem like a pretty passionate guy. We let you continue.


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