Harry Potter may be well and truly over, and I get the feeling that Jo Rowling is not kidding when she says she told the story and she’s done and that’s that. But Daniel Handler left plenty of room for revisiting the strange and somber world of his Lemony Snicket novels, and now they’ve made the official announcements that confirm what Handler’s been hinting at for a while.
On October 23, Little, Brown Books will release “Who Could That Be At This Hour?”, which will kick off a new series called “All The Wrong Questions.” And while the previous series of novels was concerned with the fate of the Beaudelaire Orphans and their ongoing rivalry with Count Olaf, a degenerate weirdo who was chasing their inheritance, it seems that they will play no significant role in this new series. Over the course of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events,” all of which were narrated by Lemony Snicket, there were clues dropped about a much larger storyline, clues which were left up in the air at the end of the series. It looks like that material is exactly what they’ll be tackling in this new series, and for fans of the books, this is very good news indeed.
Paramount made a very expensive attempt at developing the “Unfortunate Events” as a film franchise, and at this point, it seems unlikely they’ll make a sequel to that film. Jim Carrey starred as Count Olaf, and the film condensed the first three books into one story. I thought Brad Silberling did a pretty solid job of crafting the world that was described in the books and capturing the sort of Charles Addams sense of the weird and the funny. I’ll be curious to see if a renewed interest in the books might inspire someone to try again, maybe starting with this new narrative focus instead of telling the story of the Beaudelaires.
After all, you’re talking about a book series that has something like 60 million copies in print, and when they’re doing a one-million-copy first edition run for this new book, they’re counting on this as a major publishing event. I can’t imagine they’ll just let the entire series lay fallow all because they didn’t quite stick the landing the first time out.
It’s interesting because I think they got lucky with the “Harry Potter” series in general. Imagine if the casting in the first film hadn’t worked at all or if they just plain got Hogwart’s wrong and the film had been rejected by the fans. Warner Bros. would have had to step back and rethink everything. As it is, I think that one “Lemony Snicket” film is a fascinating almost, but it didn’t dent the brand at all. If anything, I think the reaction to today’s news about the books is proof that the audience is still engaged, and still curious about “All The Wrong Questions.”
You can sign up at the official site for the series for updates as they become available.