Warner Bros. Options Fantasy Series DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN

by     Posted 142 days ago

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Could a Dragonriders of Pern movie be coming soon to a theater near you?  While Warner Bros. has worked hard to find some suitable franchise replacement for Harry Potter since the highest grossing film franchise of all time came to a close three years ago, it has thus far come up empty.  The studio bought some time when Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit adaptation expanded to three films, but that’s coming to an end this December with the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.  And so WB continues to search hard for another franchise that might spark as big as Harry Potter (I’m not sure there’ll be anything like Harry Potter again for a long, long time—if ever), and their latest play is author Anne McCaffrey’s long-running Dragonriders of Pern book series.  More after the jump.

dragonflight-book-coverAuthor Anne McCaffrey began the Dragonriders of Pern book series in 1968 with the release of Dragonflight.  Since that time, 22 novels and a number of short stories have been released under the Dragonriders of Pern moniker, with McCaffrey’s son Tom McCaffrey co-authoring some of the books with Anne since 2003.  The sci-fi/fantasy series takes place in a pre-industrialized society that is comprised of lords, harpers, dragons, and much more.  It has spurred a large and intense fan following, and is notable for it progressive views pertaining to a number of societal issues.

Per Deadline, Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to the entire Dragonriders of Pern book series from American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey’s estate.  It’s very early days on the project, but given that Warner Bros. is in need of a new fantasy franchise, I imagine its chances of reaching production are more solid than some other acquisitions.  This isn’t the first time an adaptation of Pern has been tackled, though, as a few years ago David Hayter (X2) penned a script for Dragonflight for executive producer Don Murphy.  That iteration was planned as an international co-production, but obviously it never came together.

What say you, Pern fans?  Are you excited to see a feature film adaptation of the series at Warner Bros.?  Who should spearhead the franchise?  What are you thinking for director?  Cast?  Sound off in the comments below.




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  • Leo Spaceman

    I remember when they tried to do The Series of Unfortunate Events Franchise 13 books. It is one thing to do something as universally loved as Harry Potter for seven books which is incredibly ambitious buy 13 was just far far far too many and they did the first movie which covered 3 full books. This format of covering a couple of books per movie did not work and now they think they can tell a story that is 22 books long? They are going to have to drastically rework everything to the point that they tell a story that represents the series but does not resemble the architecture of the books which will alienate their fan base. That means that they will have to rely on non fans of the original to drive this series forward and I can not see this series having the budget necessary to hire known actors willing to be contracted to 22 books. Harry Potter got a way with not the greatest actors because they were ten years old when they were cast and had 8 years to grow into their roles. I know nothing of this franchise but I can’t see it working as a movie. A TV series may be a better fit if they land on a channel that will let them attempt to make it a movie quality show in the same sense ft hat is Game of Thrones.

    • milo

      Is the 22 books one long continuous story? If it’s more episodic I could see them doing a few of the books that work as a group.

      Snicket was tricky since the thirteen books were one series similar to Potter. Except they didn’t really have enough material to do a book per movie, and the books got pretty repetitive and didn’t have much of a payoff in the final one. Generally that series probably wasn’t the best to try and adapt to movies.

      If this one is more like a bunch of different stories in the same universe and some of the same characters I could see it working for films.

      • Kathleen Dill

        Have either of you ever read the books? It’s obvious that you haven’t. The 22 books span over a 2500 year period. Treat yourself and read them in Chronological order. Wikipedia has a pretty good list. I’m sure it will surprise you. This will take many different actors to play the different characters in the books. Only the first three and last 6 are connected characterly. Enjoy!

    • milo

      Is the 22 books one long continuous story? If it’s more episodic I could see them doing a few of the books that work as a group.

      Snicket was tricky since the thirteen books were one series similar to Potter. Except they didn’t really have enough material to do a book per movie, and the books got pretty repetitive and didn’t have much of a payoff in the final one. Generally that series probably wasn’t the best to try and adapt to movies.

      If this one is more like a bunch of different stories in the same universe and some of the same characters I could see it working for films.

  • Leo Spaceman

    I remember when they tried to do The Series of Unfortunate Events Franchise 13 books. It is one thing to do something as universally loved as Harry Potter for seven books which is incredibly ambitious buy 13 was just far far far too many and they did the first movie which covered 3 full books. This format of covering a couple of books per movie did not work and now they think they can tell a story that is 22 books long? They are going to have to drastically rework everything to the point that they tell a story that represents the series but does not resemble the architecture of the books which will alienate their fan base. That means that they will have to rely on non fans of the original to drive this series forward and I can not see this series having the budget necessary to hire known actors willing to be contracted to 22 books. Harry Potter got a way with not the greatest actors because they were ten years old when they were cast and had 8 years to grow into their roles. I know nothing of this franchise but I can’t see it working as a movie. A TV series may be a better fit if they land on a channel that will let them attempt to make it a movie quality show in the same sense ft hat is Game of Thrones.

  • Pop Ninjas

    “DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN”
    One unseen auto-correct away from a PR nightmare….

  • Pop Ninjas

    “DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN”
    One unseen auto-correct away from a PR nightmare….

  • Georce Johnson

    OMG, I just peed a little.

  • Tyler

    Yes please!

  • Eunice Musa

    Sounds exciting, however to engage viewers who are not readers of these books, how are they going to raise the interest in this as science fiction rather than the full fantasy they are misrepresented as? Dragon’s Dawn was the 9th book in the series and clearly covers the science, but how to show this? Using flashback? Start it off as a synoptic prelude to explain the lack of technology? That would belittle Dragon’s Dawn.
    Anne’s Dragon riders series are unique and powerful stories. I can see over emphases in areas which are commented on in the books, while there, not dwelt upon as it is fully accepted and blend with the story.

    Great care is needed to maintain the dignity of the story and accurately convey the depth of her characters without turning it into a circus.

  • Eunice Musa

    Oh, and it is Todd McCaffrey, not Tom.

  • John Mills

    john mills
    the best thing about the Dragonrider series is that although there are over 20 books in it, a lot of them run concurrently with each other so can be merged into films together.

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