Fantasy used to be a genre that seemed to be either ignored or even maligned by Hollywood. Movies in the genre were comparatively rare, partly because of the difficulty with their heavy reliance on special effects, and partly because the reception of the films usually led to them being cult classics at best. Adaptations of fantasy novels (and especially series), therefore, were scarcer still, as Hollywood was reluctant to license a work that might not sell well enough to justify the cost of acquiring the rights.
However, that has changed in recent decades. With the massive successes of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, Hollywood now seems to be eager to adapt fantasy to films. So, being reasonably well-read in the genre, I have compiled a list of what I feel are the top fantasy series that have yet to be brought to the big screen.
There are, of course, a few caveats and rules in play. First, although my preferences have a heavy influence, it isn’t the only factor; popularity of the series, and its chances of actually happening are also considered. For example, though I love the Vlad Taltos novels by Steven Brust, the anachronic order could be a significant deterrent to Hollywood, at least while the novels are still ongoing; the episodic nature would make any individual book easy to adapt, but adapting the series would require either sorting them out (tricky while it’s unfinished) or having an actor whose age can reverse between films (thus greatly increasing the need for special effects). Secondly, I’m only looking at series, not individual novels (though of course, Hollywood may not want to adapt every book in a series). Third, when considering whether a series is “unfilmed”, I’m only looking at whether it has a theatrical release or not. Direct-to-video and TV movies do not count. Animated films count if and only if they’ve been released theatrically. Of course, TV adaptations do factor into the prognosis; A Song of Ice and Fire is certainly unfilmed by this definition, but it’s questionable whether the fans would really be clamoring for a film given the success of Game of Thrones as a TV series. And fourth, I had to have at least some familiarity with the series. While I’ve read a lot of fantasy novels, there’s always going to be something I haven’t read. If I’ve left off one of your favorites, it may simply be I haven’t gotten to it yet. Of course, some of the entries are ones I’ve only read a few novels in.
Those were the rules for the list; now, the list itself. Continue reading