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Next for Chad Coleman? Syfy’s New Space Opera ‘The Expanse’ + Adaptation of ‘When January Feels Like Summer’

Next for Chad Coleman? Syfy's New Space Opera 'The Expanse' + Adaptation of 'When January Feels Like Summer'

So we all watched, or, at least, should know that Tyreese became zombie lunch during last night’s mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead.” Frankly, given how poorly the character was developed (when compared to how he’s depicted in the comics series), I was ok with seeing him being relieved of duty, so to speak. Although I’d guess that the actor who plays him – Chad Coleman – may have wanted to last a little longer.

But don’t cry for Mr Coleman because he already has another gig lined up. And, as I wondered when his casting in this new series was announced last fall, it maybe should’ve been a sign of what fate lay ahead for his “Walking Dead” character.

Coleman, who also took time away from “The Walking Dead” to guest-star in a fall episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” playing a former athlete in a Ray Rice-like situation, joined the cast of Syfy’s upcoming new space drama “The Expanse,” which is based on the bestselling book series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

And it’s a series regular (although supporting) role, joining Thomas Jane and Steven Strait in the galaxy-spanning story of a hardened detective (played by Jane) and rogue ship captain (Strait) who team up to find a missing girl, and find themselves in an interplanetary conspiracy.

Coleman will play a character named Frederick “Fred” Lucius Johnson, a former Colonel of the United Nations Marine Corps, one of the most decorated officers in the UN military, and the de facto leader of the rebel group the OPA.. The novel series isn’t one that I’ve read, but after doing a little research, I found a detailed background on the character here. It will likely make more sense to those who are already familiar with the book series, as it mentions other character names and places, as well as specific wars, revolts, and more that just wouldn’t register if you’re not already familiar with the universe the story unfolds in. But feel free to read all about Fred Johnson here.

The 10-episode drama is written by the writers of “Children of Men” and “Iron Man” – Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby – who will serve as showrunners on the Syfy series, as well executive produce with Naren Shankar (“CSI”). A good team behind the camera, given their previous work.

“The Expanse” is set to premiere in 2015 – although no specific date given yet. A trailer can be watched at the bottom of this post; although Coleman is nowhere to be found in it.

Also worth noting, in an interview the actor gave to TV Line published this morning, post last night’s prolonged “goodbye,” Coleman revealed that he has some other projects in the works, so it’s not the end of Chad Coleman the actor. Here’s a quote from the piece: “I’m also producing my first movie, [‘When January Feels Like Summer’] When I saw the play, I said, ‘This has to be a movie.’ You never see Indians and African Americans engaging each other in just a normal, human way. And I’d never seen a transgender Indian guy in a movie in Harlem. It’s like ‘The Crying Game’ meets ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ but it’s a better movie than ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ Then, on August 7th, 8th and 9th, I’m working on a project for Ferguson called ‘Laughter Is the Best Medicine.’ On Friday night, we’re going to give the community a free concert with A-list comedians. The second day, we’re going to have what’s called a reconciliation workshop… for anybody who wants to participate and move toward peaceable change. And then the third day will be a block party.”

The play he mentions that he’s producing a film adaptation of – “When January Feels Like Summer” – follows 2 teenagers who become unexpected heroes, an immigrant accountant who embraces transformation, and an unlikely pair who overcome loneliness to find each other. It’s an ensemble work that follows these independent stories that eventually collide during one “strangely warm winter in Central Harlem when the possibility of change hums in the air.”

The play, which premiered in March 2010 at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, was written by Cori Thomas, who won the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright, in 2011. According to the ATCA announcement of her win, which gives a bit more info on the play: “Her street-smart ‘When January Feels Like Summer’ is a comic and touching tale of love, sex, redemption and the survival of the American Dream in the 21st century, amid the struggle with the polar attractions of identity and assimilation. Thomas stirs together a diverse group of urban dwellers on an atypically warm winter month: a middle-aged African American sanitation worker, an East Indian shopkeeper whose husband from a loveless marriage is in a coma, her brother in the midst of a transgender transformation, and two bright homeboys trying to understand everything from global warming to meeting girls. All are on a quest for the healing power of true love, a mythic journey presided over by the Hindu god Ganesh, lord of the removal of obstacles.”

It’s not listed on IMDB as a project, nor is it on Coleman’s IMDB page, and I couldn’t find any further info on it, like casting, director, etc. But it’s something to add to your watchlist.

Here’s the trailer for “The Expanse,” although, as I said, he’s not in it:

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