With the final Harry Potter film set to be released this summer, Warner Bros. will be down one major franchise. In the search for replacing the most successful film franchise in history, the studio has tapped Ed Whitworth to write the big-budget adaptation of T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin. The five book series chronicles the rise of the young wizard, beginning as a boy washed up on the shores of Wales with no memory and no home. The project was previously at Paramount before Warner Bros. snatched it up.
Heat Vision reports that Donald De Line (Green Lantern) will be producing. Whitworth is a novice scribe, who has been working as a script reader for Oprah’s Harpo Productions. An Oxford grad, he most recently wrote a biopic of Colin Powell on spec which garnered him a lot of attention in the development community. For the first film he will combine the first two books in the series. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the books.
This first installment in a planned trilogy about Merlin’s shadowy youth takes some intriguing twists. Young Emrys washes up on a Welsh beach with a woman who claims to be his mother. For years, they share a hovel, but Branwen tells him nothing about his past. One day he discovers that he has some unusual powers; using them to kindle a fire in Branwen’s defense, he is blinded by the flames. However, he learns to see without eyes?using his “second sight.” Desperate to know about his past, Emrys, now 12, sets off on an ocean journey. He lands on Fincayra, where he plunges into a dangerous quest to rescue the island from the destructive blight caused by a pact between its king and an evil power. In the process, he befriends a young Fincayran girl and a dwarf who becomes a giant through a brave deed. Emrys also learns the truth about his origins. The Fincayran portion of the story is very much like Lloyd Alexander’s “Prydain Chronicles”: a young boy and girl team up with a cute non-human to save a kingdom from the force of evil, with Welsh-style names abounding. [Amazon]
In this sequel to The Lost Years of Merlin (Philomel, 1996), 13-year-old Merlin faces down the powers of darkness on the island of Fincayra and masters the traditional Seven Songs of Wisdom. In one month’s time, he must discover the soul of each song and journey to the Otherworld to obtain a magical elixir to save his mother’s life. He is accompanied by Rhia, a girl who possesses a mystical relationship with nature; and Bumbelwy, an annoying and pessimistic court jester. Adventure follows adventure as Merlin seeks wisdom and learns that his pride is his worst enemy. The trio encounters giants, a huge spider with a voracious appetite, and a treacherous one-eyed monster. In the village of Slantos, Merlin finds the magical sword that will one day belong to King Arthur. This richly layered fantasy is filled with harrowing escapades and many surprises. While readers may never doubt the outcome, they will eagerly devour the chapters to arrive at the satisfying conclusion. Arthurian legend is used as the starting point for a delightfully original story of magic and myth that retains the spirit of the classic tales. Merlin is a flawed hero, yet he rises to each new challenge. While the title can stand alone, there are constant allusions to incidents and characters introduced in the first book. [Amazon]