‘The Mortal Instruments’ Couldn’t Cut It as Movie Series, So Now It’s a TV Show

By  · Published on October 13th, 2014

The Mortal Instruments

Screen Gems

Talk about immortality! (Sorry.) The Hollywood Reporter shares that The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare’s bestselling and beloved YA book franchise (that first started as Harry Potter fan fiction, lest we forget), is bound for the small screen. And, no, you’re not misremembering things here – the series has already made one attempt at adaptation, with last year’s underperforming feature film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

The Lily Collins-starring feature was originally imagined as a franchise starter, but the film made less than $32m at the American box office (interestingly, the feature did make a grand total of $90.5m with worldwide receipts, but such a take still puts it in the bottom half of YA adaptations). Although there has been some chatter about lensing a second feature, it now appears that these Instruments are pointing in a different direction. Constantin Film, the rights-holding production company, will now revisit the series as a “high-end drama series,” with writer and producer Ed Decter on board as showrunner.

There’s no word on who – if any – of the original cast we can expect to see back for this new take on the material, but the project is in active development with an eye to go into production next year.

Although the Mortal Instruments film was a bit of a flop (despite a very well-designed cast), a television series could give it one hell of a second wind. As Constantin film and TV head Martin Moszkowicz explains, “It actually makes sense to do (the novels) as a TV series… There was so much from the book that we had to leave out of the Mortal Instruments film. In the series we’ll be able to go deeper and explore this world in greater detail and depth.”

Sound like fan service? It may be, but why not? Clare has written a ton of Instruments material, the kind that would bog down even a highly successful film franchise. The Mortal Instruments series includes six books, and Clare has also penned The Infernal Devices series (three books, a prequel series) and already announced no less than two other related series (The Last Hours, which follows The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices, which follows The Mortal Instruments). This is a big, big world, and the small screen just might be the best fit for it.

Beloved YA series have already spawned some successful television series – just look at The Vampire Diaries, its spinoff The Originals or even Pretty Little Liars (which, yes, sprung from its own book series) – but those shows never started on the big screen. This is new territory for the genre, and it might be the best way to weed out underperforming film series while still serving their dedicated fanbases.

Why not a Vampire Academy series? That series has an extremely dedicated group of fans that would (presumably) love to see their characters on screen week in and week out. And what about Beautiful Creatures, the most overlooked and underappreciated (at least, by my own approximation) YA series yet?

Constantin is also reportedly interested in bringing another pair of films to the small screen, with both Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and the Resident Evil series mentioned as candidates for the series route.

We’d rather see that totally hypothetical Beautiful Creatures series first, if we’re being totally honest.