Watch for Kirkus’ in-depth columns on Manhunt, an Apple TV+ limited series based on James L. Swanson’s nonfiction bestseller about the Lincoln assassination and its aftermath (premiering on March 15), and 3 Body Problem, a new Netflix miniseries based on Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past SF trilogy (premiering on March 21). Meanwhile, here are four other book-based productions coming in March:

March 1: Spaceman (film premiere, Netflix)

Jaroslav Kalfař’s 2017 SF novel, Spaceman of Bohemia, provides the basis for this movie, which stars Adam Sandler as Czech astronaut Jakub Procházka and Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan as his wife, Lenka. In the book, Jakub is on a mission to collect space dust en route to Venus. He ruminates on his various fears and his strained relationship with his spouse back home before encountering a spider-like being—who may or may not be a hallucination. Real or not, the apparent extraterrestrial has extensive conversations about life with Jakub in a book that’s “built on sly, decidedly contrarian humor,” according to Kirkus’ review. The setup recalls the 2009 film Moon, and this new movie may appeal to aficionados of similarly offbeat SF. It was directed by Johan Renck, best known for helming the well-received HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and the fine cast includes There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano as the voice of Jakub’s strange companion and Isabella Rossellini as Jakub’s commanding officer.

March 1: Dune: Part Two (theatrical film premiere)

The 2021 theatrical blockbuster Dune tackled the first half of Frank Herbert’s epic 1965 SF/fantasy series-starter, and this sequel delivers the second. It’s the third time that this story has been adapted for the screen, after a David Lynch-directed 1984 movie and a 2000 miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy). The original novel tells the tale of two noble houses fighting over control of a powerful substance called “spice” on the desert planet Arrakis (aka “Dune”), which is also the home of giant, lethal sandworms. Eventually, Paul, the scion of wealthy House Atreides, takes refuge among the local Fremen people; he exhibits supernatural abilities, which seem to confirm that he's a fabled messiah.

Dune has long been a controversial novel; some have argued that it’s effectively a white-savior narrative that exoticizes its Bedouin-like Fremen. Hopefully, this movie sequel, which is likely to spend more time with the Fremen than the first film did, will avoid such pitfalls. It intriguingly features the first appearances of a few key characters, including the brutal Feyd-Rautha of the evil House Harkonnen, played by Elvis’ Austin Butler, and the powerful Emperor’s daughter, Princess Irulan, portrayed by the great Florence Pugh. (She reunites with her Little Women co-star, Timothée Chalamet, who stars as Paul). Emmy winner Zendaya also returns as the Fremen Chani.

March 14: Apples Never Fall (miniseries premiere, Peacock)

Liane Moriarty’s bestselling, Kirkus-starred 2014 novel, Big Little Lies, spawned a hit 2017 HBO series starring Nicole Kidman, who also produced the show. Two years later, Moriarty’s 2018 novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, yielded a Hulu miniseries, also starring and produced by Kidman. The latest Moriarty adaptation is a Peacock miniseries based on the author’s 2021 novel, Apples Never Fall, which also received a Kirkus star. This time around, Kidman is nowhere to be found; Annette Bening (who’s currently up for an Oscar for her performance in the Netflix biopic Nyad) stars with Sam Neill as former tennis champs Joy and Stan Delaney, who’ve been married for half a century. In the novel, Joy goes missing in February 2020 after sending her three grown children a garbled text; Stan seems unconcerned, but soon it appears that Joy’s disappearance may be due to foul play—perhaps related to a stranger who entered the Delaneys’ lives months earlier. The series was written by Melanie Marnich, a writer and co-executive producer of the fantastic Netflix series The OA, but the cast alone, which also includes Mad Men’s Alison Brie and The White Lotus’ Jake Lacy, makes this mystery worth watching.

March 29: A Gentleman in Moscow (miniseries premiere, Paramount+ with Showtime)

Ewan McGregor plays the title role in this miniseries version of Amor Towles’ Kirkus-starred 2016 novel about a Russian count under house arrest in the Soviet Union. In the book, which was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is arrested and charged with being a “social parasite” after the 1917 October Revolution, but he’s spared a death sentence; instead, he’s confined indefinitely to a servant’s quarters at Moscow’s Hotel Metropol. There, he meets a wide range of people over the years, including a young piano prodigy for whom he ends up being a surrogate father. The novel has an unusual chronology, doubling time-skips between successive chapters—which take place one day, two days, five days, 10 days, three weeks, and six weeks after Rostov's arrest, and so on—and then halving the time-skips after the 16-year mark. As such, it offers readers a sweeping survey of one man’s life, and of Soviet history. McGregor is sure to deliver a compelling performance in the miniseries, which also features the always-excellent Mary Elizabeth Winstead—McGregor’s spouse—as Anna Urbanova, a film actor who becomes Rostov’s lover and close friend.

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.