With Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales still to be green-lit, and a sequel to Tron: Legacy still in early development stages, Disney certainly has a keen interest in launching new franchises. And though The Sorcerer’s Apprentice disappointed at the box office, the studio evidently isn’t giving up on magicians just yet. Today we have news that the House of Mouse has tapped Patrick Massett and John Zinman, the writers behind Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, to pen an adaptation of T.A. Barron’s high fantasy series The Lost Years of Merlin, tentatively known as Young Merlin.
The film will follow Merlin, destined to one day become a powerful ally and friend to King Arthur, as a teenager exploring the magical isle of Fincayra. In his early years, the young magician forms friendships with local girl Rhia and aspiring jester Bumbelwy, all the while grappling with his darker side and battling the powerful warlord Rhita Gawr. Barron’s books were acclaimed for their fresh, innovative take on both Welsh mythology and Arthurian legend.
Disney isn’t the first studio to attempt to mount an adaptation of Barron’s series. Miramax took a shot at it with Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Stardust) producing a few years ago, but that didn’t work out. Paramount also recruited Sherlock Holmes writer Simon Kinberg to adapt the book at one point, and Warner Bros. began working on a script with producer Donald De Line (Green Lantern, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) in 2011.
Hopefully Disney will actually see the project through; given that Barron’s series includes five books, the studio is certainly hoping to ignite a successful franchise with Young Merlin, so I doubt they’ll give up easily. With a script being written, Disney will likely start turning an eye to potential leads for the film. There’s an abundance of terrific teen actors out there, but Game of Thrones baddie Jack Gleeson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower star Logan Lerman and The Giver actor Brenton Thwaites come to mind as three actors who could deliver powerful, distinctive takes on the iconic character.
No word yet on a planned release date for Young Merlin, but we’ll keep you posted as news on this project emerges.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter