The Earth is dying. The world runs under one central government known as The Union, a ruthless and desperate organization on a search to find another planet for colonization. When Earth receives a mysterious signal from a neighboring solar system, Harper along with five other prisoners are given the option for early release if they take on the dangerous mission to investigate. But things drastically become more complicated when the crew discovers people on this new planet, and these people know who they are. Harper left Earth to run away from her past, but the world she found has a darker history than her own. In this forgotten wasteland, everyone is desperate to protect something, and Harper must decide what is worth fighting for. But in a game of survival, only one question matters: who is telling the truth?
AN INTERACTIVE FRANCHISE
Second Planet is an interactive podcast & television franchise based upon the novel by Shelby Merry. This is a story of resilience and unrefined legacy. Through Malakai's gaze of afro-futurism, the world of Second Planet is unparalleled and explores black and brown pioneers creating and finding a new world, through new frontiers.
Brought to you by Alex Phillips and directed by Malakai, when Shelby Merry wrote Second Planet, it was written to be adapted as a feature, but the loose ends of her novel can be easily expanded to accommodate a podcast or television series. The balance that this story straddles between interactive podcast with already built in soundscapes, as well as opportunities for a feature and television allows us to target both film and television actors for the leads, while also opening up the opportunity for new talent.
EXPLORE THE SOUNDTRACK OF SECOND PLANET, COMPOSED BY SHELBY MERRY & read the materials.
WHY A PODCAST?
a NOTE FROM SHELBY MERRY.
I was a child with my head in the clouds, and as I grew, I looked beyond to the stars.
I have always said that beyond the titles, I am a storyteller at heart. With the many mediums we have available to us to do so, I sought out to forge a new experience. Music reaches into every nook and cranny of our world experience, yet it hasn’t reached the physical page.
I was born in the hills of Appalachia, where storytelling and music are one. Old lore and fables are woven into the fabric of my creative hand. The ties of where you came from and the stories stretching back are an important part of who you are. I wanted to expand that unique world view into our society as a whole. With this world I created, I wanted to give people the space to think on these things.
Growing up in radio, and with ten years experience in the music industry, music had to be a part of this world. For four years I composed for the Adult Swim cartoon “Final Space” and have written several artist songs for tv and film. I have always had a special interest in merging mediums to tell a cohesive story. Second Planet isn’t just a book: it’s an auditory, emotional, and thought provoking experience. I created an original soundtrack to accompany the book as you read. Much like our place in the stars, I wanted to explore the places we can take storytelling. Adapting Second Planet into a podcast will create a new storytelling experience our world hasn’t seen yet.
A letter on afro-futurism by malakai.
This is a story that explores our lineage through loss while exploring new frontiers. Even the planetary guidance within itself is a mirror of the missing legacy, and what we long for within the African diaspora.
Taking the original narrative of Second Planet while also applying afro-futurist gaze was a no-brainer. What Shelby Merry has created is a world that already, at its core allows for us to see ourselves within an afro-futurist gaze.
By looking ahead, we in turn begin to explore and dissect what it means to pay homage to black afro-futurists, scholars and artists who look to a better tomorrow and future. It is time for us now to look towards the future. To build the worlds we deserve. By gazing through the looking glass of black surrealism and afro-futurism, Second Planet allows us to see the possibilities while challenging the very system built to keep us in bondage.
At its core, THIS is a show that will be reconstructed for all of us. Like the reality of the narrative world in this novel, black and brown bodies in the real world are often prisoners of a systematic and inherently oppressive government. Even those within the prison system itself, are pipelined into an infrastructure meant to keep them bound. This is why this story is so important. It gives us an opportunity to explore what happens when we turn the notion of trauma on its head, and instead, rely on our resilience, intelligence and fortitude to build something new and to explore new horizons.
After reading Second Planet I found myself asking…What does it mean to find a home that is truly yours? Lineage and ancestry is our lifeblood within this dynamic series and through Afro-futurism we will continue to connect ourselves to the threads of our ancestors togethet, fully and wholly.
ALEX PHILLIPS was named Vice President of Television at Bad Robot Productions, a multi-platform production company led by director JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath, in February 2021. In her role she will help oversee the development of the company’s slate of television shows and report to Ben Stephenson, Head of Television, and Rachel Rusch Rich, EVP of Television.
Prior to joining Bad Robot, Phillips served as a film and television executive at Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions where she was involved on projects including Showtime’s The Chi, Radha Blank’s debut Sundance feature The Forty-Year-Old Version which premiered on Netflix this past fall, and Waithe’s loosely autobiographical comedy Twenties.
Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Phillips graduated from The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
Phillips has a particular interest in comic books and graphic novels, science fiction, superheroes and fantasy, and she is excited to continue to use her platform to elevate diverse voices within those genres.
MALAKAI is an award winning director and philanthropist who has made it her mission to be a disruptor by telling world-building and fantastical narratives that turn archetypes of the Black diaspora on its head. She most recently directed all the episodes of GHOST TAPE, the QCODE/Automatik scripted podcast co-created by Nia DaCosta and Aron Eli Coleite and starring and executive produced by Kiersey Clemons. Her award winning short film SOULS, produced by Emmy-award winning producers Anna Hashmi, Stephen Love and Marquita Bradley and starring Tabitha Brown has amassed international and national festival acclaim. Malakai was one of the 2019 ATT Hello Lab Directing fellows, where her short film, POSTMARKED, executive produced by Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani and starring Loretta Devine and Rob Morgan was distributed by Direct TV. Malakai is attached to direct the adaptation of Victoria Schwab’s THE NEAR WITCH with Stephen Love producing and Marcus Scribner attached to star.
SHELBY MERRY authored the novel Second Planet. She developed a creative mind at a very young age, writing stories and songs inspired by her environment in the Appalachian Valley of Ohio. Studying creative writing in college was a precursor to becoming a musical artist. Inspired by the book series, The Maze Runner, she wrote a song that went viral, gaining over two million streams. Her music caught the attention of film director Wes Ball, and she was asked to write original music for Lionsgate Productions, Los Angeles. Her ongoing work drew the attention of writer-producer Olan Rogers and Conan O’Brien at Conaco. She was later attached as a composer on the international hit cartoon series, Final Space, with Turner Broadcasting. AMC Networks is now using her music in both productions and promotions. Over her career, she has independently released eight albums, including numerous singles and collaborations. Shelby is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee.