Let’s take a break from our hectic schedule for a little media punditry.
A while back there was talk of a Kingkiller Chronicle TV series, which I dearly hoped would come to pass so I could blog about it but which I realistically expected to shuffle quietly into the void. It seems I was wrong, because just a few days ago Lionsgate announced that they’ve locked up rights to a whole galaxy of Kvothe-related material, including movies, TV projects and (most intriguingly of all) video games.
That article also includes the following rather surprising piece of information:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the books trail only Game of Thrones when it comes to fantasy book sales.
I knew these books were popular, but I didn’t realize they were quite that popular. From a financial perspective this explains why so many studios were apparently willing to engage in negotiations and (probably) bidding wars to get their hands on the license: there’s clearly a level of appeal here that goes beyond just fantasy die-hards.
From a creative standpoint, I’ll reiterate what I said about the TV series news: I don’t understand how you adapt these books for the screen. If I was a director or a screenwriter handed that task, my only recourse would be to either tell a completely different story with the same characters or start going into completely original side material.
As for the video game, there’s an interesting possible lead that came to mind as soon as I saw who had secured the rights. Lionsgate recently invested money in Telltale, creators of the acclaimed Walking Dead adventure game and a lot of other well-respected media tie-ins, with an eye toward collaborating together. The announcement claimed they were focusing on original properties, but the only way I can see a Kingkiller game working is as a dialogue-heavy adventure game in the Telltale style. I would bet money that if Lionsgate is serious about this, they’ve got Telltale in mind as the developers.
Now for the tricky part: is any of this actually going to happen?
Probably not. I’m not saying that out of spite– I’m sure a lot of fans are doing backflips over this news and it would be great for their sake if it panned out– but because deals like this have a noted tendency to fall through. In particular, once a studio starts going on about huge multimedia projects the chances that any of it will ever come to pass rapidly approach 0%. Look at what keeps happening with the Dark Tower– it’s a movie! It’s three movies! It’s three movies and a TV series! It’s not happening! Two movies! No wait it’s cancelled again! No wait it’s back on!
Here’s my prediction: we won’t hear anything for a year or more, then when Lionsgate starts talking about the project again it will be with a far more cautious tone. The movie, TV show and video game idea will have quietly morphed into a single movie to test the waters, with sequels lined up if that does well. The script will go through a few passes, we’ll hear vague rumblings of major re-writes and trouble behind the scenes, a few directors will be name-dropped as likely candidates. Some other project that’s vaguely similar to this one will bomb, sparking a round of feverish think pieces on what it could mean for the Kvothe movie. And then the whole thing will be abruptly called off several months before filming is due to start.
Maybe I’ll be wrong. I’d like to be, if for no other reason than the promise of several years worth of high quality grist for the blogging mill. Let’s be honest, Doing In The Wizard has never been quite the same ever since the glory days of the Kvothe Let’s Reads ended.
And hey, if nothing else Pat Rothfuss and others connected to the books probably got a nice fat cheque out of all of this. Go buy yourselves, like, fifty steak dinners.