National Geographic Channel is hoping to encourage viewers to take a journey to the Red Planet with plans for a short-form scripted prequel series to precede the November launch of “Mars.”
“Mars,” from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment and RadicalMedia, is the centerpiece of Nat Geo’s new effort to field selected heavyweight scripted series. The series promises to blend documentary, CG and narrative material into a sweeping saga of exploration and discovery that is set in the future and the present day.
The online “Before Mars” series will tell the stories of two central characters from “Mars,” Joon and Hana Seung, twin sisters on Earth struggling to fit in to the rural town where they have relocated with their mother. One of them finds a ham radio that allows them to develop a friendship with a female astronaut on the International Space Station.
The prequel series will consist of six episodes running three to five minutes. “Before Mars” will be exec produced for Nat Geo by Variable’s Tyler Ginter and directed by Lloyd Lee Choi. The effort stems from Nat Geo’s marketing department in a bid to extend the reach of its investment in “Mars.”
The timing of the prequel’s premiere is still being determined, said Andy Baker, senior VP and global creative director for Nat Geo Channels.
“We’re working in close concert with RadicalMedia on the storytelling, making sure everything is in line with ‘Mars,” Baker said.
The prequel is to be unveiled Monday at Nat Geo’s digital Newfront presentation in New York.