Misha Green opens up about 'purposeful' changes from Matt Ruff's novel and the potential of 'seasons upon seasons' of stories.
Lovecraft Country, HBO’s series based on Matt Ruff’s novel about an extended Black family surviving among a world of real-life horrors and supernatural terrors, ended as ambitiously as it started -- making good on its promise as very “necessary” viewing this fall. But creator Misha Green tells ET there are “seasons upon seasons” of stories left to tell.
The season 1 finale not only attempted to wrap up multiple storylines involving Leti (Jurnee Smollett), Atticus (Jonathan Majors), Montrose (Michael K. Williams), Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis), Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) and aryan antagonist Christina (Abbey Lee), but it most notably marked the end of relying on Ruff’s novel as the source material. Much like HBO’s The Leftovers, which relied on Tom Perrotta’s novel in its first season before making dramatic creative departures, Lovecraft Country now has the opportunity to expand the universe the writers created in the first 10 episodes.
“That was also the thing about Matt’s novel that I really was drawn to,” Green explains. “It’s this idea of reclaiming all of the genre space for people of color, for people who have been left out of this space and so I feel like there's so much genre, like, we go through a lot of different things in the 10 episodes of the first season, but they're still seasons upon seasons to go through. And that's what was exciting to me, to have that kind of space to do that.”
Not only did Lovecraft Country reclaim horror by centering Black experiences in the narrative with a largely Black creative team driving the story forward, but the series also reimagined “genre fiction” as a whole by dipping its toes into afrofuturism, foreign language, gothic romance, historical/period drama and sci-fi. From the storytelling all the way to its stunning soundtrack, the series did not play it safe -- nor did it let any preconceived notions limit its possibilities.
To that point, Green and the team didn’t feel beholden to Ruff’s novel. Despite the pretty conclusive finale, with major deaths wrapping up several storylines, there is still unused moments that could serve as jumping-off points in future seasons, if the show is renewed. But they also didn’t deviate from the source material unless it felt necessary to the screen version. “They were purposeful,” Green says. “I feel like there's no need to change things just because you want to change things but I also think that you know what’s great.”
Of course, for readers of the novel, the most notable changes were turning Caleb into Christina, with Lee now playing a daughter within the Sons of Adam pagan society, Leti’s pregnancy, the introduction of Ji-Ah and Atticus’ flashbacks to the Korean War, and exploring Montrose’s sexuality, which brought an unexpected but welcomed queer element to the series.
“What I love about adaptation is when everything in the book that I love is there and then they build upon that,” the creator continues, adding that some of the changes “surprised me too.” But, she says, sometimes that would have been “the next step in that thing from the book, so it still feels true to the book but it also is a surprise and exciting to you.”
Green concludes, “When we got into the writers' room, I told the writers Matt's book is a beautiful platform and now let's jump off of it and go to the stars and back.” While there is still no official confirmation, here’s hoping HBO renews the series for another season, if not more.
Lovecraft Country season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.