Showtime has passed on Lin-Manuel Miranda's The Kingkiller Chronicle series. In the wake of HBO's runaway success with Game of Thrones, other networks and streamers have been searching high and low for a potential fantasy hit of their own. Among the shows that've gained traction as a result is The Kingkiller Chronicle, a small screen adaptation of Patrick Rothfuss' in-progress fantasy book trilogy. Interestingly, the TV series would actually take place long before the events of Rothfuss' first novel, The Name of the Wind. The show will then serve as a companion piece to a movie based directly on Rothfuss' books, which Sam Raimi is currently attached to direct.
It's an ambitious plan reminiscent of what J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard tried to do for years with Stephen King's The Dark Tower novels, prior to the 2017 film adaptation and The Dark Tower reboot series currently in development at Amazon. Showtime picked up The Kingkiller Chronicle in October 2017 and put it into development, but without officially ordering the show to series. Now, the network has decided to release the show back to Lionsgate Television.
According to THR, Lionsgate is now shopping The Kingkiller Chronicle to other outlets, with Apple among the interested parties. It's not clear why Showtime decided to pass on the TV show, though it's possible the network was hesitant about picking up another big-budget series while it's still working on its Halo TV show (which has already gone through director changes and added extra showrunners). At the same time, THR's source say Showtime is committed to making more big-budget shows beyond Halo, so there might be a different explanation.
The Kingkiller Chronicle books take place in the fantasy realm of Temerant and explore the adventures of Kvothe, an infamous wizard who recounts his days as a younger musician with a gift for magic in the present-day to Devan Lochees (a character otherwise known as the Chronicler). THR says the TV show would follows a pair of "wandering performers" on their journey through Termerant, in turn setting the stage for Kvothe's story from Rothfuss' novels. John Rogers (Leverage, The Librarians) has written the pilot and is lined up to serve as showrunner, with Miranda onboard as an executive producer and the show's music composer.
All in all, The Kingkiller Chronicle TV show sounds promising on paper, so it would be a shame if the series failed to find a new home. It has a decent shot at getting picked up by Apple though, seeing as the company is in the process of acquiring original IPs for its upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service (which formally launches on November 1). However, it seems unlikely to land at one of Showtime's fellow cable giants, like Starz and HBO. The former already has two fantasy book adaptations in the forms of American Gods and Outlander, while the latter is currently deciding which (if not all or none) of its developing Game of Thrones prequel series to move forward with.
We will bring you more details on The Kingkiller Chronicle TV show as they become available.