Disney+ has announced it is in the early stages of producing a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea prequel. Set to begin production early next year, the series will take place before the events of the popular Jules Verne novel.
Set in 1866, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea tells the story of the Nautilus, a high-tech submarine captained by Captain Nemo, an Indian prince bent on revenge after being robbed of his birth right and taken prisoner by the East India Company. The vessel and its crew are discovered by the U.S. government, who believes it to be a “sea monster.”
The first season of the series will feature 10 episodes. The news was announced at the 2021 Edinburgh International Television Festival. Set to begin shooting in early 2022, Nautilus will serve as a prequel to the novel, offering a glimpse at how Captain Nemo began his life exploring the depths of the sea.
James Dormer, known for his work on Strike Back and Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands, will serve as head writer and executive producer. It will be developed and co-produced by Seven Stories’ Anand Tucker and Moonriver TV’s Xavier Marchand.
“Jules Verne’s story is a beloved classic all around the world,” said Johanna Devereaux, Disney+ Director of Scripted Original Content. “It’s a huge privilege to bring the Nautilus and her crew to life again in such a bold, exciting way, with a diverse team of creative talent and on-screen characters. The series will be breathtaking, action-packed and a huge amount of fun.”
Nautilus is yet another original series in Disney+’s growing European catalogue. In 2020, the company shared it was aiming to have 50 productions commissioned on the continent by 2024.
Along with Nautilus, the company used the festival to make casting announcements for two previously-revealed Disney+ productions. Nathan Stewart-Jarret will star in the dark comedy series Culprits, while Rosa Salazar is set to lead the romantic-comedy action-thriller Wedding Season.
This is not the first time Disney has brought the famed book to life. It released a live-action film in 1954, starring James Mason as Nemo and Kirk Douglas as Ned Land. An attempt was made in 2016 to commission a movie based on the premise of the upcoming series, but the project fell through.
No news has been released regarding casting or when Nautilus will premiere on the streaming platform.