The first book in the series, WOOL, was self-published in 2011 in 5 serialized parts. By 2014 WOOL had been published in 30 countries with 2 million copies sold, and the series has remained popular ever since. Despite sudden worldwide notoriety, Hugh has always remained accessible to his fans, participating in book clubs, interacting on social media, and most recently taking part in another “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit.
There is still a lot he can’t say, but he did give us a lot of information about the show.
Below is a list of questions Hugh was able to answer. The questions are paraphrased, but the answers are generally copied directly from Hugh’s replies.
How will the story told through episodic television differ from the books?
It gave us so much extra room to let the story breathe! I read two really good scripts for a film adaptation, and it was pretty impressive how much of the story they were able to tell, but a ton had to be left out. With ten hour-long episodes of commercial-free television, we were able to add to the story rather than subtract.
How faithful to the books will the show be?
Pretty faithful, but we are changing a few things. Exact replicas (like the WATCHMEN film) often fall flat. For me, the main thing was getting Juliette and Holston right and making the silo feel authentic.
Will anything be added to the story?
The real fun was adding some backstory scenes that are only hinted at in the books that we now get to explore more fully. It’s great fan service for readers, and it tells a more in-depth story for noobs.
What portion of the story will be covered in the first season?
We have 10 episodes in the first season. Each is an hour long. And believe it or not, that won’t get us to the end of WOOL (the first book). It’ll take two seasons to tell what’s in the first novel.
Who has been cast so far?
I think most of the season 1 roles are locked in, but some fun casting to do for season 2 ahead! Hopefully we will start announcing more of the cast as shooting gets underway next month.
(We know Rebecca Ferguson has been cast as Juliette.)
When does shooting start?
The shooting will be overseas and should start in July, so some things will start leaking. Once again, I find myself holding too much close to my chest when I just want to shout everything to the world.
How many seasons would you hope for?
I think we can tell the entire story we have in mind in 4 seasons. The more compact, the better in my opinion.
How involved were you in the story?
I’ve been involved, but definitely not in charge. I spent a few weeks in LA before the pandemic in a writers’ room, blocking out the pilot and the first season of episodes. The last year has been a lot of work, going through scripts and making notes, meeting with the writers and production crew, just trying to help make the story as solid and engaging as possible. It’s been a lot of fun. I think my dream job now is to just work in TV/Film writers’ rooms. The group energy is infectious.
Do you have any concerns about the show?
My worry is that the second season won’t get ordered. So much of what we do in season 1 relies on a season 2. I’ve got friends who’ve had a season of TV made only to have it canceled. So that’s my big fear right now.
Will WOOL eventually be available on services other than Apple TV+?
Yup! The original deal was with AMC, and they are involved on the creative side. So I’m sure after an initial release on Apple+ that it’ll appear on AMC as well.
Are you going to make a cameo?
I’m going to try! I haven’t really started the begging campaign for that yet. But I’m gonna stomp my feet and wail until they let me.
I mean, I wanted to play Holston since I’m all old and gray now, but they wanted someone who could act, so that was out.
So there you have it! There’s a lot to mull over in there. Which tidbit are you most excited about? Leave a comment below or stop by our Discord to let us know.
And as an added bonus for fans of Hugh’s books:
- Hugh’s other post-apocalyptic story, Sand, was serialized in 2013 and 2014. The sequel, Across the Sand, was turned in to the publisher in May, and should be released in early 2022.
- Hugh also dropped a hint about story ideas he hopes to visit in future WOOL books. We don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read the trilogy yet, so if you want to know what he said, head over to the AMA on Reddit to see for yourself.