TV Series Based On Ursula Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea’ Fantasy Novels In Development

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05 Sep 19

TV Series Based On Ursula Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea’ Fantasy Novels In Development

Production company A24 and Oscar-nominated producer Jennifer Fox (‘Nightcrawler’, ‘Michael Clayton’, ‘The Bourne Legacy’) have teamed up together on a TV adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea’ fantasy novels it has been announced.

Created by Ursula K. Le Guin, the ‘Earthsea’ books are a collection of 5 novels, plus short stories, set in a rich fantasy archipelago consisting of hundreds of islands. The first book, ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’, follows the story of Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea. Known as Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth, he was hungry for power and knowledge, but by tampering with long-held secrets he unleashes a terrible shadow upon the world. The novel tells of how he redeems his mistake by mastering the mighty words of power, taming an ancient dragon, and crossing death’s threshold to restore the balance. The novel series tends to mainly feature people of colour as the main characters and has an emphasis on understanding human nature and the natural world, and the delicate balance we live in.

“Ursula Le Guin is a literary legend with a huge fan base and her work has been translated into practically every written language on the globe,” commented Jennifer Fox. “She is second only to Tolkien in influence in this genre, and before she died last year, she agreed to put her most beloved work in my hands. This project is, therefore, a sacred trust and priority for me as well as an opportunity to create an iconic piece of American culture.”

Le Guin began creating the ‘Earthsea’ universe in 1964 with the short story, ‘The Word of Unbinding’, and continued up until her death in 2018, when the final short story, ‘Firelight’, was published in The Paris Review. Over the years the books have picked up a multitude of awards, and been translated into multiple languages. The individual novels have also been previously adapted for radio by the BBC, and a (very unpopular, due to the whitewashing of characters) tv adaptation by Syfy in 2004. Additionally, Studio Ghibli created an anime adaptation in 2006 loosely based on the novels. This would be the first time the entire series has been together in one place for adaption.

“Ursula long hoped to see an adaptation of Earthsea that represented a collaboration between her ideas and words and the visual storytelling of others,” added Theo Downes-Le Guin, son of the author. “I feel very fortunate that, with Jennifer Fox and A24, we have a bedrock of producing and development experience that can bring the sweeping narrative and moral truths of my mother’s work to screen.”

The ‘Earthsea’ tv series is currently only in development and does not yet have a broadcaster attached, but is being shopped to networks soon. We’ll let you know when we hear more.