From novels to the big screen, everyone loves a good retelling of their favorite tales. In 2012 graphic novelist, Ron Wimberly, debuted his novel, The Prince of Cats. The story is a modern pop punk spin on the Shakespearean classic, Romeo and Juliet. Set in 1980s New York, the novel is jammed pack with allusions to Greek myth, Japanese folklore, heavy Hip Hop & Pop culture references and eve underground sword fighting. Above all Wimberly pays homage to the tales original author by staying true to his signature writing style with all characters speaking in iambic pentameter mixed with the modern day imagery and ideals viewed through the lenses of inner city African Americans.
The story focuses heavily on secondary character Tybalt, the hot tempered first cousin of Juliet Capulet and main antagonist of the play; acting as Romeo’s rival. The original character shares his name with one of the main characters (Tibert the Cat “Prince of Cats”) in the medieval allegorical fable, Reynard The Fox. Often mocked and addressed as such within the play, Wimberly decided to use it as the title to his own work.
First published in 2012 by DC/Vertigo, Prince of Cats went out of print and has been more-or-less unavailable ever since. However, in 2016, Image Comics and Wimberly teamed up to re-work and re-release the Shakespearean street tale in hardcover. In a bid for feature rights, Legendary Studios beat out all other offers to turn Wimberly's work into a film and has since signed on rising actor Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Get Out, Sorry To Bother You) as the Prince of Cats, Tybalt himself.
The film is still in the early stages of fruition with Janet and Kate Zucker of Zucker Productions on board to rodce and Selwyn Sefyu Hinds attached to adapt.