Phillipa Boyens, well known for her collaboration with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit franchises, has signed on to help Disney kickstart a new fantasy franchise – this time based on T. A. Barron’s [asin=0142418897]The Merlin Saga books[/asin], about the early life of the wizard of Arthurian legend.
With something of a void to fill in the fantasy series realm after years of hobbits and young wizards (Warcraft is on deck, along with some new Harry Potter films, but our journey in Middle-earth is done, and even YA post-apocalyptic franchises are reaching their conclusions), Disney is hoping to launch a new title, and Barron has already created a wide setting (spanning 12 books) that could take the legend closer to a Harry Potter audience, and Boyens, who shared the 2002 Oscar with Jackson and Walsh for The Return Of The King, could be perfect for leading a expansive vision on screen. Gil Netter (Life of Pi) is producing. No director has been named yet.
The project was previously set up at Warner Bros where it seemed to be making progress, but after a couple years of silence it moved to Disney last year.