Netflix Is Planning A Roald Dahl Extended Universe

By now, you probably know the drill. These days, there are two main priorities that most major studios seem to have spent the last several years zeroing in on: streaming services and shared universes. Netflix has one of those aspects all wrapped up and taken care of, obviously, but the streamer hasn't quite managed to find its niche regarding properties under its ownership that could naturally expand to multiple platforms, mediums, and — most importantly for Netflix — profit streams.

Well, that search just might be over now that reports are coming in that Netflix has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, providing access and a clear path to almost endless adaptations of the famous author's collection of stories. That's right, folks. Ready or not, prepare yourselves for a Roald Dahl Expanded Universe.

Going All-In On Dahl

Insert terribly cheesy and way-too-obvious line about Netflix winning the golden ticket here. The news about Netflix jumping on board the Roald Dahl train comes courtesy of Variety, which notes that this new acquisition will serve as an expansion on a previous deal that Netflix struck with the Roald Dahl Story Company. That deal initially covered animated offerings that would offer their own spin on already-adapted works — including such titles as "Matilda" (which Netflix is teaming up with Sony and Working Title to adapt into a new musical), "The BFG," and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston are making a series "based on the world" of the classic story) – but now, the possibilities are endless as Netflix could very well commission spin-offs, remakes, tie-in shows, novels, games, and much more.

In a blogpost announcing the news, Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer stated:

"These stories and their messages of the power and possibility of young people have never felt more pertinent.
As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we're committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix."

The Variety report also notes that, "A significant part of the proceeds from the sale will be used to set up a charitable trust, which will focus on supporting existing and new charity partners in the areas of children's health, anti-hate and anti-racism." In other words, Netflix public relations knew enough to get out in front of potential backlash stemming from Roald Dahl's documented history of racism and anti-Semitism. As with many popular and influential public figures, the positive side effects of Dahl's work must be reconciled with his failings as a deeply flawed human being.

It remains to be seen how exactly this attempt to turn Dahl's many classic stories into a shared universe in its own right will pan out — personally I'm, uh, somewhat skeptical! — but more specifics are sure to trickle through in the coming months. Stay tuned to /Film as these updates come in.