Adapting books to the screen is a business that has generated billions of dollars and some of the best-known movies and series of all time. The fantasy genre, especially fantasy novels, is no exception to the rule, and the last few years have seen the success of several such adaptations.
HBO has capitalized on the works of George R.R. Martin to produce A Game of Thrones, one of the biggest hits for the network. Combining action, romance, and drama, the series follows members of various of families as they vie for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Complete with the trademark sex scenes of the network, dragons that are growing bigger every episode, and zombies originating from the frozen north, the show has all the hallmarks of the best that the genre has to offer.
Hollywood has also been able to capitalize on several franchises with amazing success. Harry Potter produced a total of 8 movies to date, the Twilight novels have been adapted for the big screen, and The Hunger Games continues its dazzling box office run.
However, not all that the genre has to offer has appeared in film or television show format, and some books have carried with them lackluster adaptations. Check out these five fantasy series that we think would look amazing on screen.
1. His Dark Materials
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy — consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — is one of the better young adult series to emerge so far this millennium. Combining elements of the supernatural with retellings of historical events, the books have won praise for both their plot lines and their writing.
You may be thinking that there was indeed a movie called The Golden Compass from a few years back — while there was a film based on the book that was released in 2007, it was generally not considered a success. Many fans of the novels have issued calls for a new on-screen adaptation that could work through the entire series in a more vivid, entertaining manner.
2. The Dark Tower
Taking its title from a Robert Browning poem, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower cycle of books is another series that ties together historic and literary elements with the awe and supernatural abilities that come with the fantasy genre.
Often considered some of King’s finest works, these are also some of the few that have not been adapted for the big screen. While a movie was reportedly in the works for the first book in the series, the plans fell through early this year, meaning that we probably won’t be seeing Russell Crowe as Roland anytime soon.
3. Wheel of Time
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is one of the best known among fantasy lovers for its attention to detail, intricate plots, and sheer length. The 14th book in the series, A Memory of Light, had to be finished by a different writer after Jordan’s death in the middle of the book.
While it is a shame that the author never got to finish the cycle, Jordan did leave behind enough to allow the completion of the text, making the series complete at long last. Universal Pictures has acquired the rights for a film, and there are tentative plans to begin filming the first installment — but at this point, we are still very far from a release date.
4. Dresden Files
The Dresden Files is often compared to Harry Potter – except that it’s written for grown ups. Jim Butcher’s series follows Harry Dresden, a licensed wizard who finds himself at odds with vampires, werewolves, and hosts of other magical creatures while trying to deal with his magical superiors and foes who are often more powerful than he is.
The series uses a very casual tone, making the notion of magic almost real, and Dresden comes off as having much more of a darker side than Harry or Ron. While the series did make it to cable TV for a brief series back in 2007 on Syfy, fans have long yearned for a better adaptation, especially with several new books published since the original television attempt.
5. The Sandman
Neil Gaiman’s award-winning series of graphics is perhaps better known in its novel form. The Sandman is generally considered one of the best graphic novels of the past century, standing alongside titles such as Watchmen. With Watchmen being converted into a hit film, many thought that The Sandman might be next, but so far, the wheels have been slow to turn on the project. With Dream, the ruler of all dreams, as the series’ main character, Gaiman showed just what a graphic novel could accomplish, and bringing the story to the big screen would be a test of whether the medium could do justice to Gaiman’s creativity.
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