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.