It’s finally happening: the beloved Redwall books are coming to the screen. The epic fantasy novels by Brian Jacques will be adapted into a feature film and TV series for Netflix by Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale, who has recently worked with the streamer as the writer on Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
Netflix announced that a deal between Penguin Random House Children’s UK and the streamer will bring Redwall to the screen for the first time ever. And it’s about time — the adventures of the swords-wielding woodland animals in the forest haven of Redwall Abbey in the United Kingdom has long deserved a big-screen adaptation, and now Netflix is giving us both a big-screen and small-screen take.
McHale is developing a feature film based on Jacques’ first book in the 22-book series, Redwall, as well as an event series based on the character of Martin the Warrior. And if Redwall takes off, there could be more to come — the deal between Netflix and Penguin Random House marks the first time the film rights to the entire book series have been held by the same company.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to announce this deal,” said Penguin Random House Children’s Fiction Publisher Ben Horslen. “These perennially popular stories have been etched onto the hearts of millions of readers, and we are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring those beloved characters on screen for families worldwide to enjoy.”
“Brian often travelled the globe to tell his Redwall stories to young audiences, more often than not at their schools,” added Alan Ingram, representative of The Redwall Abbey Company (owner of Jacques’ intellectual property). “Brian would have been very happy to see that Netflix shares his joy and desire to bring his stories to life as a new universe of films, series and potentially much more for audiences of all ages to enjoy. We are very excited to embark on this new endeavour with Netflix and Penguin Random House UK.”
Netflix had been seeking its own big fantasy franchise akin to Harry Potter, and it may just have found it with Redwall. In fact, it’s astonishing that the widely beloved and acclaimed series hasn’t made it to the big screen already. Josh Spiegel made the case for a Redwall movie series for /Film all the way back in 2017, writing that the series contains “memorable characters who could become as well-known and beloved as those from franchises like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, an opportunity for jaw-dropping photorealism in animation, and a mythology that doubles back and forth in ways that echo how comic-book movie universes are designed. ”
And there probably isn’t a better writer to craft the Redwall franchise than McHale, whose deeply imaginative and richly textured Over the Garden Wall remains one of the best things to come out of animated TV in the past few decades. It’ll be exciting to see what he has in store for Redwall.
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/Film – ‘Slash Film: ‘Redwall’ is Getting a Netflix Movie and TV Show From ‘Over the Garden Wall’ Creator’
Author: Hoai-Tran Bui
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February 10, 2021