A series that was going to be Lucasfilm’s first non-Star Wars or Indiana Jones project since it was purchased by Disney has now been picked up by another company. Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to the Children of Blood and Bone trilogy, a action fantasy series based on YA novels by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi.
Children of Blood and Bone follows a young orphan named Zélie, who fights back against an evil king that commits atrocities against her people, the Maji, who practice magic. The first book was released in 2018 with its sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, was out in 2019. The third book is rumored to be out in 2023.
Adeyemi will adapt the screenplay and executive produce along with Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill Entertainment (which made the Twilight and Maze Runner movies) and Karen Rosenfelt of Sunswept Entertainment (which made the Percy Jackson movies).
Deadline broke the news of the deal which, reportedly, beat out bids by rival studios such as Universal, Amazon, and Netflix. There’s no word on what specifically happened with Disney and Lucasfilm’s involvement (which was still a thing a little over a year ago when Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was touting the project on the Disney Investor’s Call), just that the companies are no longer involved.
“Paramount’s passion and enthusiasm to bring this story to life has been incredible,” Adeyemi said to the trade. “We are all so excited for this new chapter and are already hard at work.” According to the trade, that “passion and enthusiasm” included a guaranteed theatrical release as well as seven-figure screenwriting guarantees for the author, which is ultimately what put the company over the top.
“Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone has not only become a phenomenon in the YA world, it has transformed every expectation of what world-building fantasy can be,” co-president of the Paramount Pictures Motion Group, Daria Cercek, said. “It’s with enormous pride that our studio—along with Tomi and our partners Wyck, Marty and Karen—set out to bring this franchise to life on the big screen. With its thought-provoking and timely themes, we know that this story will resonate with a global audience.”
This sounds like a big deal for Paramount, who has been biding its time to release some of its biggest potential blockbusters going on years now, and certainly the book series sounds awesome. But we are really curious how Lucasfilm fell out of what seems like a sure thing. Maybe we’ll never know.
Update 1/12/2022, 7 p.m. ET: This post has been updated clarifying Disney and Lucasfilm’s lack of involvement.
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