After co-writing both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, screenwriter Philippa Boyens is returning to the fantasy realm, signing on to write the adapted screenplay for The Merlin Saga. The project, based on T.A. Barron's novel, was first set up at Warner Bros. but then moved to Disney, where it is currently housed. This project marks the first time Philippa Boyens has struck out on her own, having collaborated with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on all of her projects thus far, including both Middle Earth trilogies along with King Kong and The Lovely Bones.
The Merlin Saga is based on a series of novels by T.A. Barron, starting with The Lost Years of Merlin in 1996. It was followed by The Seven Songs (1997), The Raging Fires (1998), The Mirror of Fate (1999), A Wizard's Wings (2000), The Great Tree of Avalon (2004), Shadows on the Stars (2005), The Eternal Flame (2006), The Dragon of Avalon (2008), Doomraga's Revenge (2009), Ultimate Magic (2010) and The Book of Magic Illustrated Treasury (2011). The Lost Years of Merlin centers on a boy who washes ashore in ancient Wales, with no recollection of who he is, as he becomes determined to learn the truth about his magical powers.
Patrick Massett (Thunderheart) and John Zinman (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) were first attached to write the script when the project was at Warner Bros. It isn't known if Philippa Boyens is starting over completely from scratch, or if she will incorporate any of their work from the original draft. It isn't known if there are plans in place to adapt the rest of T.A. Barron's novel series as well, but Merlin's origin story is just a part of a much larger story that unfolds in the books. Here's what author T.A. Barron had to say about Philippa Boyens coming aboard in a statement from his official website.
"I'm absolutely thrilled that Philippa Boyens has joined the Merlin movie project! She is truly world class. As a creator of powerful epic fantasy on the big screen, there is nobody with more wisdom, artistry, authenticity, and (I'm delighted to say) pure magic!"
Warner Bros. also has the mystical adventure Knights of the Round Table hitting theaters next summer, which stars Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur. Merlin eventually grows up to become Arthur's mentor, but since this adventure follows a much younger Merlin, it seems unlikely that we'll see King Arthur in this adventure. What do you think about Philippa Boyens signing on to write The Merlin Saga? While we wait for more details, take a look at a video interview with T.A. Barron from 2010, where he sheds new light on his story.