Just in time for the US copyright on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to expire this December, Apple’s gearing up to produce a new streaming series inspired by the original 1927 classic.
Today, Apple announced that it’s brought on Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail to write, direct, executive produce, and showrun a new Metropolis show for Apple TV plus as part of Esmail’s overall deal with Universal Content Productions. Word of a new Metropolis first broke back in 2016 when it was not yet clear which network or streamer might want to move ahead with the adaptation.
In Lang’s original Metropolis — adapted from author Thea von Harbou’s novel of the same name — a futuristic and highly stratified megacity becomes the epicenter of a revolution when Freder, the son of a wealthy capitalist, discovers the horrific truth about what it takes to keep the city running. Metropolis’ focus on the exploitation of the poor and working classes forced to risk their lives in order to maintain the city’s technological infrastructure was relevant when the movie first premiered back in the ’20s, and it’s easy to imagine a modern incarnation resonating with audiences today. What’s also easy to imagine, though, is Apple being very particular about what sorts of stories about labor violations in tech it wants on its streaming platform.