Former Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge left the hugely successful band in 2015 in part to explore other opportunities, including his interest in aliens and the paranormal. His passion resulted in the acclaimed graphic novel, “Strange Times,” which is now being turned into a series for TBS.
The series, which Variety can exclusively announce is being put into development, will be written and executive produced by Aaron Karo. DeLonge, The Cartel’s Stan Spry and Jeff Holland and Strike Entertainment’s Russell Binder will serve as executive producers.
DeLonge, who played guitar in Blink and fronted his own band, Angels and Airwaves, spoke with Variety about the new series and his long-term plans for “Strange Times.”
Did you always see “Strange Times” as having crossover potential into other mediums?
Tom DeLonge: Yes, absolutely. This is a dream I’ve had for over 10 years and it’s finally a reality. All the stories and themes I work on are meant to be shared through multiple mediums and on different platforms — film, TV, books, music and so on. “Strange Times” began as an interactive website where people shared weird, paranormal stories — a lot of them with credible evidence. That helped inspire the story behind the graphic novel and also a prose novel that I published. This is exactly what my company To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science does. We hope to create something that could be described as sort of a “science fiction Disney,” where our entertainment franchises are worlds that are inspired and informed by our own next-generation science division.
Is there one character of the five kids you most identify with?
The gang of characters in the story is based on the tribe of degenerate skateboarders that I grew up with — right around the same time I started my band Blink-182. The story is also set in that same town. Charlie, the main character, is a bit of myself. A boy searching for answers, trying to find a way out of suburbia, but laughing with his ridiculous, irreverent friends along the way.
What musicians would you like to see contribute to a soundtrack?
I would love to see some of my favorite punk rock bands like the Descendents, the Queers, and Bad Religion, all of which were part of the soundtrack to my life at that time. But I can also see a great new wave band like New Order, Depeche Mode and The Cure.
What would be the ideal theme song for the show?
Probably “Suburban Home” by the Descendents.
Looking at the success of “Stranger Things,” could this become a franchise and would you want it to be one?
Absolutely, I don’t like working on one-offs. One reason I created To The Stars was to be able to build dynamic and rich worlds for everyone — whether you’re visual and prefer graphic novels and film or an avid reader who likes to pore over every detail and imagine the world on your own.
Many musicians interested in multiple art forms say it invigorates their music. Is that the case for you?
Yes, when I started my other band, Angels & Airwaves, the only way I could fully explore other parts of my musical sensibility was to envision large cinematic landscapes. I became obsessed with the blending of multimedia and music. We produced our first feature “Love” a few years back with our double-album of the same name. Variety actually compared it to Kubrick’s “2001.” We laughed when we read it, because we’re so small compared to something like that, but it was incredible and we were so honored to even be considered in the same space.