More Arthurian legend movies are heading our way, this time with a particularly big-name director behind the camera.
Variety reported yesterday that veteran director Ridley Scott could possibly helm a Disney film based on “The Merlin Saga”. Should negotiations prove fruitful, the film would follow up Scott’s recently buzzed crime thriller, All the Money in the World.
“The Merlin Saga” is a series of twelve fantasy novels written by T.A. Barron that detail the life of iconic wizard Merlin – who eventually becomes King Arthur’s mentor – from the time of his youth. Disney has hired The Lord of the Rings scribe Philippa Boyens to adapt The Merlin Saga. As this will be an origin story adapted from such a lengthy series, there is also obvious potential franchise bubbling under the surface already. It would be silly to think Disney is looking at this any other way.
The last time anything from the King Arthur realm was adapted for the big screen, it did not go well with critics. The Merlin Saga seems like something that could adequately counteract the disappointment of Legend of the Sword, the latter of which only teased an appearance by Merlin himself. Legend of the Sword suffered greatly by preempting its own franchise potential, only teasing out certain aspects of a greater narrative. Ultimately, Legend of the Sword was a wholly unsatisfying film and will likely never get the sequel it needs to fully connect with most audience members. It’s also worth pointing out that Disney is working on their own live-action adaptation of the Sword in the Stone too, so the studio is certainly covering all bases when it comes to competing with Warner Bros. Furthermore, the market of young Merlin adaptations has itself only been mildly tapped into. Only a couple of shows like NBC’s and BBC’s respective Merlins bringing a youthful version of the wizard to life, albeit while taking several liberties.
So The Merlin Saga has quite a bit going for it even without Scott’s presence, but the film would mark a return to fantasy for the director as well. Scott has dabbled in plenty of different genres in the past, but this may be his most fantastical film to date. In 2017 alone, Scott’s movies comprised Alien: Covenant and All the Money in the World, which could not be more different. Although should he take up Merlin’s story, will The Merlin Saga will be less reminiscent of his draggy take on Robin Hood? Let’s hope not.