Thanks to blockbuster franchises based on young adult novels like Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, the film industry has spent a good part of the last decade adapting well-liked series to the big screen. Although some, like The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Eragon, and the Percy Jackson series failed to take off, others like Divergent and The Maze Runner have carved out their own niches in Hollywood.
One of the most successful of these franchises, The Hunger Games, is coming to an end with the premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. That leaves a void needing to be filled, and studios still see viable properties in the YA genre. As such, Disney has now tapped an award-winning fantasy scribe to launch a new adapted franchise based on The Merlin Saga.
An adaptation of The Merlin Saga has been in the works for some time, with Warner Bros. holding the rights to the series before Disney picked them up. Boyens is replacing John Zinman and Patrick Masset, who were previously attached to pen the script. Boyens, for her part, is well-versed in adapting fantasy series to the big screen, having worked with collaborators Jackson and Walsh on all six Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. She also worked with the pair on King Kong and The Lovely Bones. However, Boyens will now team with producer Gil Netter (Life of Pi) for The Merlin Saga.
Deadline points out that Warner Bros. and Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Knights of the Roundtable has already wrapped production with its release scheduled for next year, but there are a number of other adaptations of the Arthurian legend that includes Merlin. Most recently the characters of Camelot have also arrived on ABC's Once Upon A Time, and in the past have appeared in 2004’s King Arthur, BBC's Merlin and Starz's Camelot.
According to the official synopsis of The Lost Years, the novel follows a young Merlin who has lost his memory, forgotten his name and his home, and must find out who he is and how to wield his powers. It's unclear if Disney and Boyens' film will follow the story of The Lost Years or pull from multiple books in the YA series. Of course, there is enough material between the 12 novels to create an exciting fantasy film franchise that appeals to fans of Barron's work, fans of the character Merlin, and casual moviegoers.
That being said, unlike other YA franchises, The Merlin Saga may need to compete with other films and television series that also follow the story of the legendary sorcerer. However, The Merlin Saga could certainly offer a different take on the character, especially since Barron has constructed an entire fantasy world around Merlin. Still, the final version of the film adapted from The Merlin Saga is a ways off, so it remains to be seen whether or not this YA adaptation will be another success.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more on The Merlin Saga adaptation as it becomes available.