ShondaLand’s New Series to Follow the Montagues and Capulets in the Wake of Romeo and Juliet’s Death

Since Romeo and Juliet (400-something year old spoiler alert) both conclude their narrative with pretty inarguable death, theirs has never seemed like a plot that’s exactly ripe for a sequel. But author Melinda Taub clearly had other thoughts, as she wrote one — the novel Still Star-Crossed. And now Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers have boarded the Shakespearean sequel-enthusiast train, as their next project is producing Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy producer Heather Mitchell’s TV series based on Taub’s postmortem with the Montagues and Capulets.

According to Deadline, the show has been “nabbed” by ABC. If we’re speaking in TV terms, the book is more of a sequel revival of Romeo and Juliet than a reboot — its setting is the same as the play, and acknowledges everything that happened previously. And so it’ll return us to 16th century Verona, where Romeo and Juliet are, indeed, very much dead.

But since the deaths caused such a stir, Taub’s book sees Prince Escalus deciding to take action to end the famous family feud that destroyed the young lovers. He commands that Benvolio (who you’ll recall is Romeo’s bestie) and Juliet’s cousin Rosaline marry one another. As the official description of the book mentions, they do not share the same love for one another that Romeo and Juliet had, “yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.”