Great news for children of the 90s: another best-selling book series is about to get the major movie treatment at Disney. Philippa Boyens, famous for her 2002 Oscar win for Lord of the Rings‘ The Return Of The King as co-writer alongside Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh—as well as the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones—has been selected to craft this franchise and expand her expertise beyond the Shire with T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin.
The series, written by American author T.A. Barron during the 1990s, quickly became a cult classic in children’s literature, although it didn’t gain as much notoriety as J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series did during the same time period. But Barron’s young Merlin and Rowling’s famous Potter aren’t so different in character and plot: both must navigate through an equally new, strange world and face the destruction of the magic they naturally posses.
Tales of magical lore and fantasy have belonged to a mage named Merlin from the classic Arthurian legends of the United Kingdoms for centuries. We’re already getting a planned live-action treatment of the 1963 animated Disney classic, The Sword in the Stone, but that tale focuses primarily on Arthur’s teenage quest. In more recent years—one year before The Sorcerer’s Stone was released in the UK, to be exact—the twelve-part book series titled The Lost Years followed an inexperienced lost teenage Merlin destined for supreme magical greatness, much like Potter. (Sorry, there’s no Merlin’s beard included in this retelling.)
Another similar adaptation of the fabled character was created for television with BBC’s Merlin which ran from 2008 to 2012 and starred Katie McGrath as his magical female counterpart Morgana, with Anthony Head as a very Giles-esque Uther Pendragon. However, Colin Morgan’s portrayal of young adult Merlin demotes Merlin to Arthur’s manservant and gives him more comedic gusto than dangerous supremacy. Barron’s Merlin, though only a young teenage boy, is created with a keen awareness of his immaculate power.
Are you a fan of this book series? Who do you think should be cast as teenage Merlin? Let us know how you feel about this possible new film franchise with Lord of the Rings connections. And as always, stay tuned for more news once it’s released.
Image Credit: Penguin Books