News broke Friday that Amazon is in discussions with with Warner Bros. and the J.R.R. Tolkien estate to acquire television rights for the epic fantasy classic. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is looking for content that is “large-scale” genre content and has potential “broad international appeal.” And what genre content is not only large, but huge, and, coincidentally, is about to leave a gaping void in television lineups after its final six episodes conclude? Why, Game of Thrones of course, the show that pioneered big-budget, fantasy television.
Everyone and their mother is looking for the next Game of Thrones to anchor their programming, so knowing this, and knowing that come some point in 2019 you’ll no longer have to worry about dragons or medieval zombies, what should be on your radar to satiate your fantasy appetite?
The Kingkiller Chronicles
Patrick Rothfuss’s purported trilogy currently consists of two novels (and a companion book) that center around Kvothe, an arrogant young man with a penchant for music and magic. The novels do borrow from other fantasy canon, but Rothfuss’s voice is unique and he’s crafted a character that’s the right blend of anime-can’t-be-beat-must-get-stronger hero and sympathetic wiseass with a way of getting things done that must be admired.
Showtime recently announced it had picked up the adaptation by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and optioned it for television. The story is set to begin a generation before the events of Rothfuss’s first novel, The Name of the Wind (think Black Sails), leaving plenty of room for story development, creative license and more seasons.
Why you should care …
Kvothe is a rule-breaker by nature. He’s like a too-wise-for-his years Harry Potter at a Hogwarts where Harry tells Professor McGonagall and Snape to go fuck themselves. Oh, and magic, or sympathy in this world, can be linked to blood. Kvothe gets dark.
The Wheel of Time
Robert Jordan began publishing his sprawling epic fantasy novels back in 1990, six years before A Game of Thrones hit bookstores, and he kept writing, consistently, up until his death in 2007. At the time, he’d been writing the twelfth and planned final book in the series, but fortunately, he left extensive notes on how to complete the series. His wife sought the help of author and longtime WOT fan Brandon Sanderson to complete the book, which ended up being three.
Sony acquired the rights to produce the series back in April of this year, though its unclear where it may air and details have been scant since. Originally, I’d hoped for someone like Showtime to do it right, but with their acquisition of The Kingkiller Chronicles this seems unlikely; however, this series deserves to be done as premium cable content: it should not be watered down for violence.
Why you should care …
There are 14 books! And this author made sure to leave enough information and plans in motion before his death to complete the story! If you’ve felt some stories were stretched, or that certain television runs went stale as writers had to take liberties filling in for gaps in the original material, this story will allay all fears. This books takes human motivations and unfurls all their complications and pits them against one another through a cast of hundreds of characters: even when the end of the world draws near, people are going to try to get theirs. It will make you rethink what the people around you want. Oh, and all while immersed in a world with magic (the one power) and orcs (trollocs) and a Sauron like figure (Shai’tan). And, have I mentioned Matrim Cauthon?
The Black Company
Ten books worth of fantasy wizardry comprise the material detailing the annals of The Black Company a band of legendary mercenaries at loose in a world filled with magic and mayhem. Told from the perspective of a defecto grunt rather than a hero, this series will envelop you in its soldiers ethos and language. Highly recommended for fun, light reading, this series also doesn’t have a proclaimed home, yet, but expect it to soon, and pray that it’s done right. There’s a lot of potential here to show you the violent side of magic and medieval warfare that doesn’t get caught up in the details of how or why it works, only that it is.
Why you should care …
Eliza Dushku, aka Buffy‘s ‘Faith’ and David S. Goyer (Blade, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) are developing. With these two at the helm, I expect great things. And with a different angle than its competitors, this series could fill a niche successfully.
Game of Thrones
So the series we know and love may be drawing to an end, but HBO and George R. R. Martin aren’t going to let that stop a goddamn thing. Rumor has it, there are as many as five Game of Thrones spinoffs, prequels, and companion series in development. Did you really think the originator of this game would let any of the other great houses try to steal their throne? Have you learned nothing from Cersei?
Amazon wants to be HBO so bad [Variety]