The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively revealed that Warner Brothers — the studio behind the billion dollar Harry Potter movie franchise — has acquired the rights to The Lost Years of Merlin, a multi-book telling of Merlin’s early/lost years, by T.A. Barron.
WB has announced that Ed Whitworth, a script reader at Harpo Productions, will pen the first film’s screenplay. He has no noteworthy screenplay experience. Donald De Line (Green Lantern, The Italian Job) will produce the film.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
The film will trace Merlin’s journey from being a boy washed on the shores of Wales with no memory and no home, to him becoming a young man learning to use his powers and ultimately defender of the natural world and eventual mentor to King Arthur.
THR is also reporting that the first two books in the series — The Lost Years of Merlin and The Seven Songs of Merlin — will be combined into one film. If the movie is a success, one can expect the following books to be adapted quickly.
This is a curious decision by WB. We understand that the guaranteed success of all eight Harry Potter films has been a virtual money maker for the studio and that they’re likely looking to find success in a similar franchise, but Merlin is by no means an original tale. In fact, the BBC is currently in the middle of a very successful run of the TV show Merlin, which depicts the early years of Merlin as he works to befriend and ally himself with Arthur.How will a movie fare against an established TV show?
Most amusingly: a promo blurb on the front of one edition of The Lost Years of Merlin states: “Young sorcery fans… set aside Harry Potter and pick up Merlin.” We’ll see how this Merlin adaptation does compared to Potter.