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About The Sparrow
Scott Frank is set to adapt Mary Doria Russell’s novel “The Sparrow”, which followed a group of Jesuit priests and scientists who make contact with an alien species in the near future. Their mission ends in disaster and the lone human survivor returns to Earth to face the Vatican as a scandal ensues. Casting details and a premiere date are under wraps.
Father Sandoz is a talented Puerto Rican linguist. He is described as of mixed Taíno and Conquistador heritage and character. Sandoz grew up in La Perla, a poor neighborhood in San Juan. He joined the Jesuits as a teenager. After several stints at Jesuit missionaries around the world, he returns to Puerto Rico. Several of his close friends and co-workers, people with a variety of unique skills and talents, have seemingly coincidental connections to Arecibo. One of them, a gifted young technician, was the first to hear the transmissions; another, Sofia Mendes, a Turkish Jewish artificial intelligence specialist, has the connections and aptitude to obtain a spacecraft and help pilot the mission. Sandoz, who has often struggled with his faith, becomes convinced that only God’s will could bring this group of people with the perfect combination of knowledge and experience together at the moment when the alien signal was detected. Sandoz and his friends, along with three other Jesuit priests, are chosen by the Society of Jesus to travel in secret to the planet, using an interstellar vessel made with a small asteroid.
When Sandoz returns to Earth in 2060, his friends are dead, and his faith, once considered worthy of canonization by his superiors, has turned into bitter anger with the God who inspired him to go to Rakhat. Due to relativistic space-time effects, decades had passed while he has been gone, during which popular outrage at the United Nation’s initial and highly out-of-context report on the mission, and especially Sandoz’s role in the tragedy, had left the Society of Jesus shattered and nearly extinct. The Jesuits shelter Sandoz from the media and help him recover physically, while the Father Superior selects a panel of Jesuit priests from around the world to help Sandoz come out of his shell and explain what really happened. Initially bent on discovering the truth, the other priests eventually recognize the great personal cost at which the journey came, and accept Sandoz’s epic struggle with his faith. Over the course of several months, Sandoz painfully explains his story and begins his personal healing.