“Lord of the Rings” screenwriter Philippa Boyens will helm Disney's newest film franchise, “Merlin”, based on the “Merlin Saga” from author T.A. Barron.
Philippa Boyens is the perfect person to adapt this series, because she has spent the last 20 years of her life adapting two other wonderful book series for the big screen: “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”. Boyens even took home an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2004 for her work on “Return of the King”, which she shares with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.
This version of “Merlin” will focus on the wizard's early life, as written in T.A. Barron's book, “Merlin, The Lost Years”.”The Lost Years” is book one in a 10-book series, which means if “Merlin” does well at the box office, it could launch an entire franchise of films.
“The Merlin Saga” has experienced an interesting journey in its years on the Hollywood market. At first the rights were at Paramount, with “Transformers” Lorenzo di Bonaventura set to produce. Simon Kinberg (“X-Men Apocalypse”) was working on the script at that time, but then the rights transferred to Warner Bros. Donald DeLine (“Green Lantern”) signed on to produce the adaptation, which then transferred screenwriting duties first to Ed Whitworth and then to the author himself, T.A. Barron. Then it was announced in 2013 that “Game of Thrones” writer Dave Hill would adapt the project.
No news was heard for another year, until Barron announced the rights had been sold to Disney. It's only now that Disney seems to be moving ahead with the project by signing Boyens to write it. Deadline first broke news of this new Disney adaptation on Tuesday.
Disney feels like a better fit for the film, especially since they are very familiar with the world of magic, fairy tales, and epic adaptations. The Disney-owned ABC Studios recently introduced a Merlin-based story line on “Once Upon a Time”, which features the wizard being caught between helping King Arthur and Snow White's daughter, Emma Swan.
“Merlin” will be produced by Gil Netter for Disney.