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Netflix has acquired the rights to all 22 books in Brian Jacques' fantasy series Redwall, marking the first time that rights to the entire series have been purchased by one film or television company. Netflix made a deal for the rights with book publisher Penguin Random House Children, according to Deadline.
This is a major franchise move even for Netflix, as the books are considered classics by many and have sold more than 30 million copies. The series follows the fantasy adventures of noble and heroic talking animals. Every book in the series was written by author Brian Jacques, who passed away in 2011 shortly before the publication of the 22nd book.
The streaming network plans to create both a feature film and an event TV series. The film will be based on the series' first book, which is simply titled Redwall. The screenplay will be written by Patrick McHale, who is best known as the creator of Cartoon Network's critically acclaimed animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall.
McHale is also working with director Guillermo del Toro on a modern adaptation of Pinocchio, also for Netflix. Pinocchio is set to be released this year.
Netflix will also debut a series centered on the character Martin the Warrior, for whom the sixth book in the Redwall series was titled.
Redwall has never been adapted into a feature film, but it was made into a three-season animated series for a Canadian TV network that ran from 1999 to 2002. The series was also aired in the United States on PBS. The three seasons in the Canadian series were based on the books Redwall, Mattimeo, and Martin the Warrior.
As is often the case with announcements like this, one of the parties in the deal released a public statement—in this case, The Redwall Abbey Company's Alan Ingram:
Brian often travelled the globe to tell his Redwall stories to young audiences, more often than not at their schools… Brian would have been very happy to see that Netflix shares his joy and desire to bring his stories to life as a new universe of films, series and potentially much more for audiences of all ages to enjoy.
No release date or window has yet been set for the film or TV series.