The Birthright comic books are getting a movie adaptation, with the writing duo behind Despicable Me and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment on board. The series, written by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan, is produced by Todd McFarlane’s Image Comics who also publish Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Outcast. Birthright tells the story of a young boy called Mikey who goes missing in the woods, much to the horror of his two parents. A year passes and a fully-grown man appears to Mikey’s family claiming to be the missing boy. The man purports to have stumbled into another world on that fateful day in the woods and his folks soon get mixed up in the same fantastical adventures.
Birthright‘s mix of real world drama with high-fantasy elements has generated success within the comic book realm since its debut in 2014. The series’ is currently on its sixth collected volume, due for release in March this year. In 2015, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment imprint signed a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures and this has led to several properties of Image Comics being picked up for the big screen treatment, including Kill The Minotaur and Kirkman’s own Invincible.
As reported by THR, Universal has now taken an option on bringing Birthright to the big screen. The project will be written by the pairing of Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, perhaps best known for penning the Despicable Me franchise. Kirkman will be producing along with fellow Skybound founder David Alpert, as well as Jeb Brody, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst.
With the deal between Skybound and Universal still in its infancy, it’s too early to say whether the planned adaptations are likely to succeed or not, but the success of The Lord of the Rings and more recently Game of Thrones demonstrates a healthy market for fantasy-based material. Birthright‘s unique slant of simultaneously being set in the “real” world adds a fresh take to the genre that should allow it to stand out from the pack and could even help the adaptation appeal to movie-goers who usually shy away from the swords, skeletons and sorcery lark.
However, the choice of Paul and Daurio as writers is somewhat more curious. The duo’s career largely resides in the kid-friendly arena, with credits also on Hop and The Lorax. While Birthright doesn’t quite reach Thrones levels of adult content, it does feature dark moments, violence and mature themes. Maybe Paul and Daurio are looking for a fresh challenge, in which case it’ll be intriguing to see how they fare, or perhaps their hiring is a sign that Universal are looking to take Birthright in a more family-friendly direction.
Birthright is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.
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