Sad Game of Thrones has ended? Never fear, Wild Cards may just have you covered!
Game of Thrones fans, on the lookout for your next George R. R. Martin fix? Thanks to Hulu, that may soon be a reality. Hulu has in the works not just one, but two new shows from the famed Game of Thrones author’s stable of works.
With Wild Cards, the swords-and-dragon-fantasy gives way to a sci-fi universe. Here you’ll meet a unique cast of humans plus a fish-out-of-water alien, tromping about Earth trying to save humanity. For some, the switch from fantasy to sci-fi can be bumpy, but if it’s rich storytelling, plot twists, and a well-imagined alternate universe you’re looking for, Wild Cards delivers.
What Is the Wild Cards Universe?
Like Game of Thrones, based on the Fire and Ice book series, the Wild Cards shows are based on an anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass (who is also one of the TV show’s producers). While Martin pens some stories and steers the collection, more than 40 authors have contributed to the series. Each adds a layer of texture—and quirky characters—to the alt-Earth setting. In addition to Martin and Snodgrass (who has numerous TV writing credits, including Star Trek: TNG), series authors have included a who’s who of sci-fi talent, including Bud Simons, Daniel Abraham, Saladin Ahmed, Carrie Vaughn, David D. Levine, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Caroline Spector, and more.
Besides its engaging stories and twists (Red Scare, anyone?), Wild Cards offers up a diverse and engaging cast of characters who fight with and against each other, and tackle the challenges of living in a post-virus world. Plus, there are good old super powers—of sorts. . . .
The series starts off with an alien virus released on humanity. The virus kills 90% of its victims, and the rest are left changed. Of that remaining 10%, “Jokers” get the short end of the stick—they’re often left disfigured or crippled. Others, called “Aces,” are left mostly untouched on the outside, but on the inside, they gain amazing superpowers.
These survivors of the virus are the Wild Cards.
6 Reasons Game of Thrones Fans Will Like Wild Cards
With George R. R. Martin at the helm, Wild Cards share many of the core tropes of Game of Thrones:
- Interwoven with real history, Wild Cards starts just after WWII. The characters deal with the anti-communist Red Scare and McCarthyism, which reached a fever pitch during the early 1950s.
- There are no good or bad guys. Just people. The Jokers’ and Aces’ personalities and powers help define them, but just as in Game of Thrones, it’s what they do with them that makes the difference.
- The stories are unpredictable. Partly due to Wild Cards’ nature of being an anthology universe, you never know what’s going to happen, or to whom. The characters cross paths—sometimes more than once—and you find yourself rooting for your favorites.
- Characters die. And like in Game of Thrones, in Wild Cards, if someone dies, they stay dead. Well. Most of the time.
- Schemes galore! The Wild Cards universe is not altogether kind to its characters. With their wide array of powers, people fight to stay alive and fight to make life worth living.
- Like Game of Thrones, the Wild Cards books are full of carnal goings-on.
Ready to Get Started with Wild Cards?
While we wait for Hulu to give more specifics on the shows, check out the books:
- Wild Cards I, Wild Cards II: Aces High, and Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild: Featuring the history of the Wild Card virus and telepathic scientist Dr. Tachyon’s ill-fated attempt to prevent its spread, the first triad finishes with heroes battling a doomsday cult.
- Aces Abroad, Down and Dirty, Ace in the Hole, Dead Man’s Hand: The Puppetman Quartet features the Wild Cards traveling the globe. They return to the US to get wrapped up in a turf war between the Shadow Fist Society criminal organization and the mafia.
- One-Eyed Jacks, Jokertown Shuffle, Dealer’s Choice: The Rox Triad starts off with the appearance of jumpers, teen who can swap bodies. Meanwhile, a reality-warping Joker-Ace creates a dream castle where Ellis Island was. Aces and Jokers fight on either side for reality and New York.
Here’s What Others Have to Say
- What Will Be the Next Game of Thrones?, Vanity Fair, May 17, 2019. Will you be filling your GOT void with a spin-off or a new show from the mind of Martin?
- 10 Upcoming Shows to Watch If You’re Mourning Game of Thrones. Variety, May 21, 2019. Why a superhero universe can stand alongside fantasy classics like Middle Earth (and Westeros).
- George R. R. Martin on the Stark Sisters and Ending Game of Thrones. Rolling Stone, April 22, 2019. The man himself talks about the end of Game of Thrones and the Wild Cards world.