With over a 100 remakes currently in the works, spanning every genre, there are plenty of fantasy movie classics that will be coming to a theater near you in the future. Who doesn’t want to see mighty warriors in loincloths, fire-breathing dragons, and royalty in distress? It’s a tale as old as time, and studios are doing the same for classic sci-fi and horror movies as well.
These fantasy stories are classics with high nostalgia factors that Hollywood plans to bank on. Some are reboots of recent franchises that didn’t produce as much money as producers would have liked. Others are becoming televisions shows or animated spectaculars. Several are adaptations of classic novels and comic books. Plus one of the most popular board games of all time is being made into a movie yet again.
So, without further ado, find out about 15 Classic Fantasy Remakes You Didn’t Know Were Coming.
15. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair
The Chronicles of Narnia franchise, based on the popular books, faced a steady decline with each movie released. After three movies – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008), and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) – the series will be rebooted with The Silver Chair. The fourth book in the series, but chronologically the sixth story, The Silver Chair occurs after the previous film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.The story is about the search for King Caspian’s missing son Prince Rilian. Aslan sends the English children Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole to find him.
Despite the events taking place after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, this is still being considered a remake. According to producer Mark Gordon on Collider, “it’s all going to be a brand new franchise. All original. All original characters, different directors, and an entire new team that this is coming from.” As for when the remake will come out, Gordon replies, “We’re hoping to be able to make the movie very shortly. We’re very excited about it.”
14. Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons has a solid place as one of the most popular fantasy role-playing games of all time. Ever since it was created back in 1974, a lot of works have been inspired by it in other mediums, including a television series running from 1983-1985 and a movie of the same name in 2000. The movie did not go over well, but that didn’t stop the SyFy channel from releasing two sequels. After fighting for the rights, reportedly Warner Bros. is teaming up with Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures and Sweetpea Entertainment to create a Dungeons & Dragons remake.
The story of the film is already complete thanks to screenwriter David Leslie Johnson (Wrath of the Titans). Producers for the film include Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis, Roy Lee (The LEGO Movie) and Courtney Solomon (one of the original Dungeons & Dragons producers). Plans are to create a franchise starting with this film, as suggested by Stephen Davis, the executive vice-president and chief content officer of Hasbro.
“There can be only one.” After several sequels and television shows, we can safely say that was a lie. The classic Highlander (1986) movie was about an immortal swordsman fighting his final enemy, an immortal barbarian, to get power. Lionsgate currently holds the rights to Highlander and they’ve been trying to make the film since 2008. The remake has had several directors attached to it, including Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) and Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War). But one has finally seemed to stick: Chad Stahelski, the director of John Wick (2014).
Stahelski commented on The Hollywood Reporter about the project: “I’ve been a huge fan of the original property since I saw it in high school…. Such great themes of immortality, love, and identity are all wrapped up in such colorful mythology. I can’t think of a better property that gives the opportunity to create interesting characters, mythic themes and action set pieces.”
Now if they could only find some actors who will stay on the project, unlike Ryan Reynolds and Dave Bautista, among others.
12. The Phantom Tollbooth
Based on the classic Norton Juster children’s book of the same name, The Phantom Tollbooth (originally published in 1961) is about a boy who gets a magical tollbooth. He drives through it and discovers the Kingdom of Wisdom. He makes new friends, goes on adventures, and saves a princess. The original 1970 film began in live action and switched to an animated adventure after Milo went into the Kingdom of Wisdom.
The remake was originally being worked on by Warner Bros. but recently moved to Tristar. Donald De Line is producing the film with De Line Pictures alongside Ed McDonnell from Maple Shade Films. The Tristar studio executive is Nicole Brown.
Formerly the film was going to be directed by Gary Ross and written by Alex Tse. However, now Michael Vukadinovich is writing the script. It remains to be seen when this film will be released, but hopefully it won’t remain in development Hell. With the recent movement from studios, it seems like this could be starting to finally make headway.
11. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen seemed to have crashed and burned a while ago when the 2003 movies failed to start a franchise and a 2013 TV pilot didn’t lead to a television show. These were loosely based on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s comic books of the same name. The stories focus on classic literary characters such as Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray of Dracula, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and The Invisible Man. The original movie did have an all-star cast, including the likes of Sean Connery. It was a bonkers experience that was actually rather fun. However, it upset fans by being very different from its source material.
Now they’re rounding up these famous characters once again in an attempt to make another go at creating a franchise. 20th Century Fox will be making the remake with John Davis as the producer. Jayson Rothwell will be writing the script while Matt Reilly and Ira Napoliello oversee the project.
10. Masters of the Universe
While it’s been stuck in developmental hell for years, Masters of the Universe may finally be coming to fruition. The director, Director McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator: Salvation), commented the following on Den of Geek: “It’s a very exciting moment for Masters Of The Universe”, he revealed. “We have a big meeting with Sony regarding prep of the movie on Wednesday. And we’re in the middle of a bit of a script polish, and it’s my absolute passion. I’m laser-focused on that being my next film.”
McG also mentions some inspirational movies that are influential to the film as well: “obviously, we’re all cognizant of what’s going on with Game of Thrones. It’s incredible. We’re cognizant of what’s going on in Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn’s doing a great job. We’re going to try to answer the call and take it higher.” The film follows the origins of Prince Adam, better known as He-Man, who becomes a muscular warrior thanks to the power of his mighty sword. Most recently, Kellan Lutz of Twilight “fame” was a possible choice to play Prince Adam.
9. Red Sonja
Red Sonja is the She-Devil with a Sword. Created by Conan the Barbarian writer Robert E. Howard and adapted by Roy Thomas into Marvel Comics, Sonja is a powerful fighter who often thirsts for revenge. She starred in her own movie back in 1985 alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reprised his role as Conan. The remake will be written by Christopher Cosmos. Executive producers include Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, Christa Campbell, and Lati Grobman. The story is about Sonja seeking revenge for the destruction of her family, which leads to her attempting to save all of Hyrkania from the villainous Kulan Gath (at least that’s what it says on Ace Showbiz.)
It remains to be seen whether any of these people will stay on the project. Back in 2008, Robert Rodriguez and his production company Troublemaker Studios planned on making the film, starring Rose McGowan as Red Sonja. However, a year later their version was scrapped. But there is a suggested date of 2017 for Red Sonja, so maybe we’ll be seeing the red-head sooner rather than later.
8. Sword in the Stone
Disney is remaking a lot of their properties into live-action movies, and here’s another to add to that ever-growing list. Based on the Arthurian legend, the 1963 animated film Sword in the Stone featured 12-year-old orphan Arthur, who becomes king when he is able to remove a sword from the anvil it’s stuck in. Now, the film returns in live-action.
Back in 2015, Variety confirmed the Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman is writing the film and Brigham Taylor is producing it. However, they will have competition. Under the helm of British director Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. is planning on releasing Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, which should be the start of a series of six new movies. It was supposed to be out in 2016, but is now scheduled for May 12, 2017.
Knight of the Round Table stars Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur, Jude Law as Vortigen, Eric Bana as Uther Pendragon, and even footballer David Beckham will play a knight in the film. How will this film compare to the Disney remake? We’ll have to wait and see. But Warner Bros. will definitely beat them to the release date, as Disney’s live-action remake still does not have a date set, nor any new info really since the announcement about Cogman back in 2015.
7. Drop Dead Fred
For some reason, Universal Studios are remaking the bizarre Drop Dead Fred (1991) comedy. The story involves a woman, Elizabeth Cronin (played by Phoebe Cates), whose imaginary friend from childhood, Fred (played by Rik Mayall) makes a reappearance in her adult life and makes her already landslide of a life even more rocky. The film has a very contrary reputation, getting a measly 9% on the Tomatometer of Rotten Tomatoes yet a 77% audience score.
The remake will be written by Dennis McNicholas and star Russell Brand as Fred. Brand talked about his role on Movie Web: “It won’t be punky, like the original. It will be Victorian. And horrible. Fred will be a horrible, nasty imaginary friend. He will be wicked to children, with long, brown fingernails. He will have fingerless gloves, and a stovepipe hat, and a black lizarding tongue. He will whip it out at children. There’s more technology now. It can be even crazier than the original.” This is definitely the weirdest choice on the list for a remake.
6. The NeverEnding Story
Originally a German fantasy novel, The NeverEnding Story has been adapted into three movies and a television series. The tale follows Bastian Balthazar Bux, a young boy transported into a parallel world using a mysterious enchanted book. The book tells the story of a warrior who must stop a storm called the Nothing from destroying the fantastical land of Fantasia.
Warner Bros. was working on creating the remake, but producer Kathleen Kennedy back in 2011 said the rights were putting the remake at a standstill. However, it seems plans to create the film are now going ahead. In early 2016 it was suggested the film was still in the works and that Peter Jackson may be working on the project. Though, it’s unlikely Jackson is actually working on the project since that speculation was a year ago and he has not mentioned having any part in the project. He’s probably pretty busy making the next Adventures of Tintin.
5. Heavy Metal
The Heavy Metal (1981) cult classic is an animated film inspired by the sci-fi/fantasy magazine of the same name. The movie spun three tales drenched in dark fantasy. The rights to the remake are owned by Robert Rodriguez, of Sin City and Planet Terror fame. But it was reported on Variety way back in 2008 that the film would be helmed by David Fincher.
There are supposedly going to be eight to nine animated segments, each with a different director. One director would be Heavy Metal publisher (and TMNT co-creator) Kevin Eastman. Tim Miller of Blur Studios will also be directing a short. However, since very little progress has been made since this article, it’s questionable if any of this will come to be. If the film does finally come out, it will be R-rated.
At comic con back in 2014, a teaser poster for Heavy Metal created by Swedish artist Kilian Eng was made available. Producer Jeff Krelitz stated: “This is an opportunity to connect with the fans and listen to what they want to see as well as presenting them with our vision.” Action figures based on characters from the 1981 film, including Taarna, Harry Canyon, and the B-17 Gunner, were also made available from Retroband. So it seems like some progress is being made. Very, very slow progress.
4. Time Bandits
The story of Time Bandits (1981) was originally penned by Monty Python writers Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. Gilliam also directed the film. It was about a boy who travels with dwarves to mythical lands and different time periods to find treasure. The movie starred several famous actors, including Sean Connery as King Agamemnon, Shelley Duvall as Pansy, and John Cleese as Robin Hood. The film is well-liked, with a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and a 77% audience score.
Originally, Guy Collins, Michael Ryan, and Fred Hedman of Handmade Films Intl. were planning on remaking the film back in 2011. Since then, plans have slightly changed. Time Bandits will now be remade into a television series. Apparently, original writer Terry Gilliam will be returning to write the TV series, reported The A.V. Club. The new TV show is supposedly going to be family-friendly. However, like Heavy Metal, this remake seems to be slipping through the cracks despite actually showing promise.
3. Van Helsing
Van Helsing is the number one example of a vampire hunter. Ever since Dracula, Van Helsing has been part of vampire lore. Movies, books, television shows; there are numerous interpretations of the character. However, one particularly memorable one (not for very good reasons) was the dark fantasy/action film starring Hugh Jackman as the vigilante monster hunter. Van Helsing (2004) followed the titular character as he takes on the mighty Dracula and other hellish beasts. Rotten Tomatoes calls the film “A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload.” But the film has some charm… mostly thanks to Hugh Jackman.
Universal announced they would be completely reimagining the movie. A lot of the people behind The Mummy remake will be on this project. Tom Cruise will be part of the project, which is set to take place in modern day. According to writer Eric Heisserer (who’s writing the script with Mummy writer Jon Spaihts) on Movie Web, regarding Van Helsing, “I can only say that early on, our inspiration for his behavior and his mannerisms was all in Mad Max.” This will be another part of Universal’s shared monster universe, so we’ll likely see many elements of the new Mummy remake reflected in the film. Since Tom Cruise is attached in some way to the project, it’s likely his character from that film will appear in this one was well.
The Broadway musical is being remade for the big screen! Finally. It’s been in talks for awhile that the popular reimagining of The Wizard of Oz would become a feature film, but then The Great and Powerful Oz (2013) came out instead. Now, finally, Wicked will be a reality. Maybe. The producer, Marc Platt, (Into the Woods, Nine), confirmed that the Wicked movie would be in theaters as soon as 2016, but the year has come and gone. Now it’s being reported the film will be released on December 20, 2019.
The story is about a green-skinned woman who is framed by the Wizard of Oz, leading her to become the “Wicked” Witch of the West. This plot seems to be getting more and more popular nowadays as classical villains (typically the Disney ones such as Maleficent) get whole movies made about them, usually sympathizing with the villain and making them into an anti-hero, or, going a step further, making them into a hero. It will be directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Winnie Holzman (based on the Gregory Macguire book).
Probably the most well-known remake on the list, Jumanji (1995) was a fantastical journey featuring the board game of the same name. A group of kids play the dangerous game and one gets trapped within it, remaining there for decades until he is released by two new players, and is revealed as a grown-up Robin Williams. They must track down the original players and finish the game once and for all.
The story and characters in the remake are all new. It’s about four teenagers who are sucked into the world of Jumanji and must fight against its various dangers. This is a pretty neat touch since movie-goers never got to see the world within the boardgame in the original film, only our own world. The remake is directed by Jake Kasdan (New Girl) and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Dr. Smoulder Bravestone, Karen Gillan as Ruby Bravestone, Kevin Hart as Moose Finbar, and Jack Black as Professor Shelly Oberon. We’ll get to enjoy the gang fighting various perils when the film comes out on December 22, 2017.
Which fantasy remake are you most anticipating? Let us know in the comments!