Warner Bros Options McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern for Movie Franchise

Warner Bros Options McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern for Movie Franchise

The entire Dragonriders series - all 22 volumes - could make it to the big screen.

Back in the 1980s if you were a fantasy nerd, Anne McCaffrey was on your reading list. You were right up there in the skies above Pern astride your dragon, blasting Thread as it falls down on your Hold, and loving every minute of it, waiting impatiently for the next book to come out. Now you have something else to look forward to: Warner Bros has optioned McCaffrey's entire Dragonriders of Pern series - that's 22 books, including everything McCaffrey wrote as well as the books written in collaboration with, or by, her son Todd - for a possible movie franchise.

The deal was managed by Warners executive Drew Crevello, previously a Fox VP with X-Men franchise credits. It's not surprising that Warners is keen to find another fantasy vehicle, now its Tolkien express train is about to reach its final destination. Warners could get an entire new merchandising and licensing product line out of its latest acquisition, and we could get some fantastic new fantasy epics.

Dragonriders follows the exploits of the Holders, Crafters and Weyrriders of the planet Pern, threatened by falling Thread, an incredibly dangerous substance of unknown origin which destroys everything in its path, from crops to people. To fight this threat the Pernese have co-opted intelligent, fire breathing dragons, which they ride into battle against the invader. There's a strong science fiction element, but I'm not going to tell you about that here; go read the books.

This isn't the first time that Warners has tried to adapt the Pern story to its own ends. However the last time it tried, back in 2001, the deal ended in disaster when creative differences sank the TV project days before filming was supposed to begin. Warners insisted on what was described by producer Ronald Moore as a "Buffy-esque and Xena-esque" treatment. "It was something they felt more comfortable with on The WB." It was a dealbreaker.

Copperheart Entertainment is also supposed to have optioned the Dragonriders series for a film of its own, but that one seems stuck in development hell.

Source: Deadline

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FINALLY! i have be waiting FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS! for this to happen.

Wait so we get Dragonriders before we get the Brainship Saga?

FUCK YOU WARNER BROS. FUCK YOU SO HARD

Please let this go ahead, please don't let them fuck it up.

No good can come from this. My sense of foreboding is strong here...

Sadly about the only thing I still remember from reading most of the series is when the white dragon stands by and watches while his rider has sex with another human. And I kinda doubt that part will show up in the movie.

In the mean time, is Eragon a suitable substitute? I haven't read the books, but the movie seems to have copied a good deal from Pern. Though not the "having a plot" part, Eragon forgot to do that.

P.S. Thanks

I wasn't really a big fan of the books, the fact that the main threat to human kind was the Thread was for some reason a turn off, but I read the entire first book and never picked another one up again. That said, I think DoP could translate really really well onto the big screen if it is picked up by competent director with a good cast and budget. Just because I didn't enjoy the books doesn't mean i won't enjoy the movie adaptions. I hope this series is treated well....unlike my last favorite childhood fantasy series involving Dragons...(*sniff...sniff* Oh Eragon....why did you torment me so?)

Well, on the one hand, that's good news. I know that it is my wife's second favorite series (after LotR). I know she'll be happy to hear it. On the other hand, it's being done by Warner Brosthers, so corporate policy dictates that Batman must have the lead role, as he rides around on his Bat-Dragon, killing off Bane Threads (re-written to be called just 'Bane').

With the clear lineage to works like Game of Thrones and the quirky gender politics of the series aligning with the modern Zeitgeist, it'd be a missed opportunity if WB didn't consider this for an on-going television series.

I mean I'd love to see the Pern saga get the big-budget, silver screen treatment but if all they're considering is a blockbuster special-effects extravaganza, I'd feel like they'd really missed the point of the series. In that case it will surely fade into obscurity as most of these adaptations do.

The budget for a serialized show would be a challenge; the dragons in particular would be strain on CGI resources. But the series is really more about the human players anyway. Even a mini-series would be less obliged to fill every second frame with OMGZ dragon-filled aerial acrobatics, than a feature film. Outside of some establishing stock shots, the original setting could be comfortably shot in domestic NA locations and on sound-stages; rather than the exorbitantly expensive international shoots of similar shows. Costume, make-up and other practical production costs would also be easy to manage without the need to adhere to historical verisimilitude.

With the last 15 years of trends in fantasy literature adaptations, It just seemed like such a no-brainer for me. That nothing of one of sci-fi's biggest movers and shakers has ever made it to production is odd. Best of luck to whatever early writers get attached to this. I'll be first in line to see whatever they can come up with.

A world with dragons and humans where the two never fight is going to be a tough sell. In general, this is a weird series that has a lot of odd stuff going on that has to be explained.

I really really enjoyed the Pern books.

That said...

The action and dragons was sort of incidental. The main focus was characters, politics and social and environmental issues.
(Im not complaing about this, its what made them great reads)

Anything spawned from this by hollywood, will undoubtedly be focused on fire breathing teleporting dragons that battle space worms to the cost of everything that made Pern interesting.

UnderGlass:
With the clear lineage to works like Game of Thrones and the quirky gender politics of the series aligning very much with the contemporary Zeitgeist, it'd be a sadly missed opportunity if WB didn't consider this for an on-going television series.

Quite a few potential adaptions could easily go GoT style. A Pern one is a 'maybe' in my opinion.

Ed130 The Vanguard:

UnderGlass:
With the clear lineage to works like Game of Thrones and the quirky gender politics of the series aligning very much with the contemporary Zeitgeist, it'd be a sadly missed opportunity if WB didn't consider this for an on-going television series.

Quite a few potential adaptions could easily go GoT style. A Pern one is a 'maybe' in my opinion.

Certainly. Actually, I was mainly drawing a line from Anne McCaffrey's works to Martin's much later Song of Ice and Fire series -- GoT as lazy short-hand for the whole property. Just pointing out the Pern books have many similarities (and surely influenced Martin), rather than suggesting the style or tone of their adaptation. I agree, it could be a mistake to pitch it as a direct contender, but for me it has just as much potential for the small screen. In a similar sense -- at least in my opinion -- to how a GoT feature film would short-change that series.

EDIT: clumsy phrasing.

Covarr:
In the mean time, is Eragon a suitable substitute? I haven't read the books, but the movie seems to have copied a good deal from Pern. Though not the "having a plot" part, Eragon forgot to do that.

P.S. Thanks

NO! Just.. no.
Eragon does so much wrong: it's characters are stupid, the dialogue is hammy and/or painful, and worst of all, there's 20 minutes worth of dragon-riding! /rant

OT: Bloody finally! I only hope that they handle the sexual stuff (if they're brave enough to try) a bit more deftly than the author. She had some... weird ideas. (and yes, those are the parts I remember the most)

I don't have faith WB can do this series justice.
I'm not going to hold my breath, it will be a disaster.

Ironically the books I see making at least mediocre movies are the ones written by Todd, which are viewed by many as the worst in the series.

It would be better suited for a TV series if anything.

I want to be happy... But skepticism is pouring off me by this point, due to the points others have made here where, all in all, there's actually not that much "fighting" going on.

So, any ideas on who could direct this one without it failing? Cause I don't think Jackson could do it, to be honest.

No. Just...no.

This should be handed to HBO/AMC/FX/Showtime to produce as a series a la Game of Thrones. There's just too much going on from a socio-political standpoint to have it done well as a movie or even as a series of movies. They'll try to make an "action-packed blockbuster!" out of it and it's going to turn out to be cheesy and strange without any characterization or depth.

That's what my crystal ball is saying anyway. Very happy to be proven wrong.

Could work well, maybe more so as a TV series. Pern has a strong sci-fi influence, although you could probably call it science fantasy, with the riders originating from space colonization, creating dragons by genetic manipulation of the local lizards, and eventually losing their technology, becoming tribal after hundreds of years. They do later on rediscover it though, through an old AI installation. Point is, Pern has many layers, tons of lore and world building.

Also, please don't make it in the style of Game of Thrones. That style doesn't fit Pern. Pern isn't particularly grim or dark. It's colourful adventure fantasy, with some character building in between.

Anime and/or Korean animation would be a cheap solution to the CG issues and could be really well done with a good Jdrama/Kdrama director in charge (a lot of the Pernese characters have that level of emotional content)

 

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