Another superhero series is joining Netflix’s original content lineup. However, this one won’t quite fit with its existing Marvel small screen scene. Raising Dion, an independently-created superhero sci-fi story that carries a heartfelt family twist, has been given a full series order by the streaming giant.
Netflix has announced that Raising Dion will arrive on its platform with a 10-episode series order. The story stems from a 2015 short film and comic book of the same name, created by Dennis Liu. It depicts the innately unconventional parenting task of a widowed African-American woman, whose 7-year-old son Dion possesses an array of potent superpowers (telekinesis, energy projection, invisibility, etc.). Yet, despite its fantastical premise, the focus rests more on the realistic implications that one would have when raising a child who has a normal sense of wonder and mischief, but happens to possess incredibly dangerous abilities. Indeed, the sight of the mother packing a pistol while watching some men-in-black types outside her door drives home the idea that threats are everywhere.
Discussing the Netflix pickup, creator Dennis Liu expresses in a statement:
“I started this project many years ago because I wanted to see more diverse representation on film and television and I’m excited to partner with Netflix, who I know shares that commitment. More than ever, we need more stories told from different points of view and my hope with Raising Dion is to create a cinematic experience for all families that will lift your spirits and make you laugh and cry.”
Helping Liu in that endeavor with Raising Dion will be appointed showrunner Carol Barbee, who has also written the script for the first episode. Barbee, a veteran television writer/producer, has been attached to a wide variety of series, notably in the sci-fi/action arena, with Falling Skies, Touch, Hawaii Five-O and Jericho, as well as dramas such as UnREAL, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and Judging Amy. She is joined by exec producers in Macro’s Charles D. King, Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks, along with Kenny Goodman and Michael Green.
Intriguingly enough, also joining Barbee as an executive producer on Raising Dion will be actor Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, Fantastic Four), who is onboard via his Outlier Society Productions. Moreover, Jordan will also appear on the series on occasion, playing the late father of the titular super-powered-sprout, who (at least, in the original short,) is implied to have been a military man who was cut down in action.
Regarding Michael B. Jordan’s presence on the series, Netflix VP of Original Content Cindy Holland states:
“We haven’t seen this type of superhero story before — an origin myth full of imagination, wonder and adventure, all grounded in the experiences of a modern single mother. Michael B. Jordan is an exciting and dynamic talent, and I’m excited to see him, Macro, Carol and the team translate Dennis’ unique vision to television.”
Longtime TV director Seith Mann (who, like Jordan, worked on The Wire but not at the same time as the actor) is set to direct the series’ first episode per Deadline.
Raising Dion does stand as a potentially unique family-centric take on an increasingly crowded superhero/sci-fi genre, also carrying much of the same X-Men-esque drama about society’s depicted fear of superpowered people; something that will undoubtedly be rooted in socially topical themes.
Raising Dion Release Date
There’s no word yet on when Netflix expects Raising Dion to arrive. It is not currently among the shows listed in Netflix’s roster and could get a release date of 2019 or later.
Raising Dion Cast
Netflix has now cast the Dion in Raising Dion along with his mother as well. According to Deadline, newcomer Ja’Siah Young will protray the young boy with limitless potential and powers. Alisha Wainwright (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) will play the mother tasked with raising him, Nicole.
Michael B. Jordan, of course, is portraying Dion’s father and he posted a lovely little family photo to his Instagram.
On the non-family front, Jason Ritter previously joined Michael B. Jordan in being one of the first actors cast on Raising Dion. Ritter will portray Pat, a comicbook fan, scientist, and best friend to Jordan’s character, Mark. After Mark dies, Pat fills in as a paternal figure for Dion and shares a special bond with her. Someone’s gotta raise Dion! The show’s title demands it.
Ritter has had a strong recent history of television roles and is coming off of starring in ABC’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. Deadline first reported the casting.
Jazmyn Simon (Ballers) will play Kat, Nicole’s sister and a surgical student.