Disney Reacquires Rights to Prydain


{Header image courtesy Archäologisches Museum Hamburg, under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license}

Note: this article was also published on SciFi4Me.com.

In an announcement that gets me breathing into a paper bag for anxiety, Disney has once again gotten the movie rights to The Chronicles of Prydain book series.

The five books, written by Lloyd Alexander in the mid to late 1960s, are heavily steeped in Welsh mythology, with the fifth book in the series earning the Newberry Medal. They follow the journey of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben, as he grows to maturity, earning friends and a love along the way.

For many, however, it’s the Disney cartoon version of The Black Cauldron that they know. Released in 1985, the movie was near the end of Disney’s ‘dark animation’ period, and was not well received at the box office. And even I, the first to chastise people for comparing books to movies (as they are two different mediums and I feel they can’t be compared to directly) have problems with many of the changes they made in making the cartoon, which was loosely based on the first two books in the series.

According to the article by Variety, Sam Dickerman is the executive on the project, and there has been no news yet on a producer, director, or writer. The article also seems to imply that Disney is now aware that there are five books, not just the one, and that this may therefore be a multi-film deal. It also doesn’t indicate whether it will be animated again, or if they’ll delve into live action. (PLEASE MAKE IT LIVE ACTION!)

To me, the Prydain Chronicles have always been a more mature (but still for the younger generation) Chronicles of Narnia, with much more adult decisions and less of the religious overtones. It was also the first time I learned the harsh lesson that (to quote The Princess Bride) sometimes the wrong people die. Ever since The Lord of the Rings made fantasy ‘cool’, I had been hoping that Disney would remember this series. I can only hope it sees the lessons learned with both Jackson’s movies and Game of Thrones in that it’s the heart of the story that matters.

Do it justice, Disney.