According to reports, Disney is in negotiation with Ridley Scott to helm The Merlin Saga along with his production company, Scott Free. It is believed that the Merlin Saga will be Scott's next project, but nothing has been officially confirmed by Disney or Ridley Scott. All the Money in the World as well as Alien: Covenant were both directed by Scott in 2017 and All the Money in the World is seeing quite a bit of acclaim, even after removing Kevin Spacey from the project and replacing him with Christopher Plummer at the absolute last minute.
Variety reports that Ridley Scott and Disney are in negotiations for the director to helm the Merlin Saga, which Academy Award winning screenwriter Philippa Boyens wrote the script for, based off of T.A. Barron's books. Boyens is best known for working with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on all six Middle-earth films as well as on King Kong and The Lovely Bones. Barron started the Merlin Saga in 1996 with The Lost Years of Merlin, which is the first of 12 books. It is believed that the movie will be based off of the first book in the series, but it isn't clear at this time.
T.A. Barron has said previously that Disney has been welcoming and "inclusive" to him while developing the project. It appears that the movies will try and stay as true to Barron's vision and the author has had nothing but positive things to say about working with Disney, stating that they are "the best" partners to have while promising that the series is in good hands. For those in fear of Disney taking the project and straying too far from the source material, Barron says not to worry, since he is working closely on the project. He had this to say.
"Since this film will be based on my 'Merlin Saga,' they have been very inclusive of me in this process. All of us want this film to be true to the authentic young wizard who has captured the hearts of people everywhere. In addition, the people at Disney have been the best studio partners imaginable-hugely helpful in every way. I couldn't be more excited!"
The Merlin Saga will serve as an origin story for Merlin the wizard who was instrumental in Arthur Pendragon in his ascension to the throne, and is one of two projects based on Arthurian legend currently in development at Disney, the other being a live-action adaptation of The Sword in the Stone. This will be the first time that Merlin's story has been told in depth on the big screen even though King Arthur's story has been told many times. The closest that we've seen into the history of Merlin was the NBC miniseries Merlin, which starred Sam Neil.
2017 has been a big year for Ridley Scott and it looks like he does not intend to take a break for 2018. It will be interesting to see if Scott ends up working with Disney since they just bought out a portion of 20th Century Fox that includes the Alien franchise. There have been questions about the future of the franchise sitting with Disney, which Ridley Scott recently said should be as big as Star Wars and Star Trek. Maybe working on the Merlin Saga will get some talks about the Alien franchise going at the Mouse House, but for now, we'll have to wait and see if Ridley Scott ends up taking on the project. You can read more about the possibility of Ridley Scott helming Disney's Merlin Saga courtesy of Variety.