Thursday, March 30, 2017

More Fantasy: DreamWorks To Adapt Cressida Cowell's Next Book Series

Once the dragons fly away, the wizards will come in...

DreamWorks Animation announced earlier today that they have acquired to rights to Cressida Cowell's upcoming book series The Wizards of Once. Cowell, as many of you may know, conceived How To Train Your Dragon. Her 12-book series inspired DreamWorks' two epic fantasy stories, and the third entry in the series is due out in March of 2019. The movie series will end there, not sure about the TV side of things...

The Wizards of Once is about a wizard boy and a warrior girl who were taught to loathe each other, but things change when their two worlds come together. The full premise, via Amazon...

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came...

Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it.

In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they're going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort.

Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...

The first book will hit shelves this coming autumn. This isn't the first time DreamWorks acquired a book series that was then yet to come out. Their 2012 fantasy adventure Rise of the Guardians was based on William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood, which at the time of the film announcement, wasn't published. Sadly, Rise of the Guardians didn't go over due to the marketing's mishandling of it, and the gargantuan budget it was saddled with.

New DreamWorks head Chris DeFaria seems very gung-ho about this one...

“Cressida is part of the DreamWorks family and with The Wizards of Once she once again anchors a new franchise for us... The story is packed with the perfect elements to create a unique magical universe inhabited by adventurous, funny and memorable characters that will enthrall generations to come. We are honored to have another opportunity to partner with this amazingly creative author.”

This marks the second project that DeFaria and the new executives have approved of, the first of which was the Trolls sequel. At the moment, I think this is a very smart move. Years back, DreamWorks hinted at a transition into making big, epic, and even dark fantasy pictures. Movies that would align with the How to Train Your Dragon movies. Rise of the Guardians seemed like the kick-off to a future that included things like The Grimm Legacy, Alma, Rumblewick, and several other fantasy adventures.

Rise of the Guardians' box office collapse in fall 2012, unfortunately, brought that to a quick end. Despite how badly the likes of Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman did, former CEO/founder Jeffrey Katzenberg - in his last years at the studio, and his last years being in control - felt the right way to go was with movies like The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants. Lightweight family comedies that weren't dissimilar to Turbo and Peabody...

So the possibility of DreamWorks getting back on the fantasy adventure kick excites me. I feared for a little while that their future slate would be mainly Minions-lite stuff (because Universal also has Illumination), but maybe that was hyperbolic. Now, nothing is set in stone. In a year, DreamWorks' heads could turn this away and instead greenlight a Minions-y trash movie, but we shall see what happens. How To Train Your Dragon 2, while successful, wasn't the leggy monster its predecessor was at the domestic box office. Worldwide, it did significantly better. I do know that their heads at the time were disappointed with its run.

How To Train Your Dragon 3's delays had more to do with their schedule constantly changing. They initially thought that they could get the thing out last summer, but then (and this was back in 2014, mind you) they moved it to summer 2017. Then DreamWorks' fallout occurred at the end of 2014, How To Train Your Dragon 3 got pushed to summer 2018, because they wanted to reduce the amount of movies they were going to put out every calendar year. Dragon 3 would've shared this year with 3-4 other movies! The final move to spring 2019 happened because of the Comcast acquisition, and under Comcast, several in-development projects got the boot.

Since 2018 is now without a DreamWorks movie (following the regrettable cancellation of Larrikins), it's very possible that How To Train Your Dragon 3 can slink its way forward, but for now this is all speculation. Whenever it hits, hopefully it's a hit.

Do you think this adaptation will take off? Sound off below!


  1. About that last bit, I too think that Dragon 3 could get bumped up to 2018 since they apparently started doing the animation for it. I reckon the slate would be like this:

    11/9/2018-How to Train Your Dragon 3(DWA)
    7/3/2019-The Secret Life of Pets 2(Ill)
    11/1/2019-How the Grinch Stole Christmas(Ill)

  2. Oooh! I smell a potential Oscar nomination, and, since it's from the author of "How to Train Your Dragon", a potential franchise!Heck, maybe the trailers will say "From the author of "How to Train Your Dragon", or something among those lines! LOL!

  3. All I can think if I have a book tp put on hold written by the author of my favorite book series.