Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. Nearly four years ago at this very site, I wrote a lengthy essay arguing that the next great film or TV series was waiting for any studio to adapt, in the form of the Redwall series by the late author Brian Jacques. The series, which posits an adventurous landscape full of woodland creatures fighting for power and freedom in the forests of the United Kingdom, is full of memorable characters, locations, and food. (Lots and lots of food.) Though there had been a Canadian animated series adapting the first book in 1999, it’s not remotely as captivating as the books were, and there was always room for another retelling.
We are finally close to that reality, thanks to the announcement this week that Netflix has acquired the film rights to the entire Redwall series, and the first book will be turned into a film from Patrick McHale, creator of the Cartoon Network miniseries Over the Garden Wall. Though there’s little doubt that McHale’s got a cast in mind, there’s no reason why we can’t all indulge in a bit of fantasy casting right now, at least for the first adaptation.
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It’s finally happening: the beloved Redwall books are coming to the screen. The epic fantasy novels by Brian Jacques will be adapted into a feature film and TV series for Netflix by Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale, who has recently worked with the streamer as the writer on Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
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In an ideal world, Hollywood would focus entirely on wholly original films, from low-budget dramas to big-budget action/adventure/science-fiction stories. When the industry does go back to original storytelling, it can often yield major successes; we’re only a couple months removed from the low-budget original horror smash Get Out, released by Universal Pictures.
But hoping only gets you so far. Even the briefest look at the summer-movie calendar in 2017 and beyond offers sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, revivals, and everything in between. Some of those movies, no doubt, will be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that something new in the world of movie universes isn’t needed.
So, in the spirit of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” here’s a humble suggestion to the industry: if you want to find the next great franchise, you just need to adapt the Redwall book series. This is an all-but-guaranteed moneymaker that (mercifully) would also be a wonderful adaptation. Why? Let’s explain.
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