Branching out into the wider world of wizard beards and the wizards who wield them, Lord Of The Rings writer Philippa Boyens has signed on to script Disney’s new live-action Merlin film. The movie will be the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s first major project away from the comforting fellowship of Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, with whom she wrote all six Middle-Earth movies, along with King Kong and The Lovely Bones.
Now, Boyens will be setting off on her own, telling the tale of King Arthur’s backwards-living court magician. According to Deadline, though, the new project isn’t the previously announced live-action remake of Disney’s last Arthurian adaptation, 1962’s The Sword In The Stone; instead, the film is being adapted from T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years Of Merlin Saga. Not unlike BBC One’s Merlin TV series (or any other boy wizard story you might care to name), Barron’s books focus on the teenaged magic user as he attempts to master his powers and also not die of boredom while living in medieval Wales. (If the tidal wave of superhero movies that has swept pop culture in the last 15 years has taught us anything, after all, it’s that everybody loves an origin story, even for a public domain-friendly character who’s several centuries old.)