Our schedule gets pretty intense around here sometimes. Case in point, last week was so chock full of new releases that we only squeezed our Once Upon a Time post in on Friday. And while we intend to make that the new normal, it meant that one bit of news got bumped.
The Hollywood Reporter and Patrick Rothfuss himself simultaneously reported that Lionsgate had acquired the option for The New York Times bestselling series The Kingkiller Chronicle. Apparently without a hint of self consciousness, it’s a deal of three parts. The product will be developed simultaneously for film, television, and video games.
The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
Studios have been approaching Rothfuss since before The Name of the Wind debuted in 2007. For years he declined to sell. However, in 2013 he apparently found some kindred spirits at New Regency Productions. Developed for television by Eric Heisserer, distributed by 20th Century Fox, and purchased by NBC in 2014, Kingkiller was billed thusly:
On the night of his sixteenth birthday, KVOTHE bears witness to the slaughter of his parents and the rest of the traveling troupe of stage performers that had been his family. The murderers are THE CHANDRIAN, a group of powerful villains straight out of folklore, hundreds of years old and thought to be nothing more than a myth. Kvothe’s need for vengeance is forged that night, but as he embarks on the long and arduous path of training and study to defeat the Chandrian, Kvothe learns there are no shortcuts to power, and his impatience for answers will make him hunted by the very forces he’s desperate to destroy.
Heisserer left the project in January of this year. And the option lapsed right before SDCC 2015. On his blog, Rothfuss talks about a series of meetings with major studios culminating in an amusing paraphrased exchange with Lionsgate.
Rothfuss: “If you came at me with a pitch that involved a television show AND a movie, I’d listen to that. I’d listen really hard, because something like that would let us be big-budget while still giving my story room to breathe. It would give people the ability to spend more time in my world. I can’t think of anyone who has really done that, but it seems like we could have the best of both worlds that way. And it seems to me that you guys are one of the only places that could realistically pull something like that off.”
Lionsgate: “About that whole TV-show-and-a-movie thing you mentioned. If we’re going to do some sort of big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal based on your books, wouldn’t it make more sense to do a video game along with the TV show and movies? Because seriously, why wouldn’t we want to do a video game too?”
They signed a deal. Nobody’s mentioned how long Lionsgate has to realize their plans, yet. Erik Feig, Jeyun Choi Munford, and Jessica Switch will develop the film. Chris Selak and Peter Levin will develop the television series and game respectively. Robert Lawrence (Clueless, Die Hard with a Vengeance) will produce.
Rothfuss spoke in 2012 and 2013 about breaking the books up into an episodic format. Heisserer created a series bible for the entire trilogy. That medium seems solid. The author has stated that he doesn’t believe the books can be made into films. So that might be a stumbling block.
On the other hand, he is involved in Torment: Tides of Numenera. He suggested when he signed on that its success would increase the chances of a Kingkiller game getting made. I’ll leave you with a link to the hilarious vision he and longtime collaborator Nate Taylor for Kingkiller Online in 2011.