Perhaps hedging his bets in case that Tintin sequel never comes to pass, Peter Jackson is going to give the dystopian YA genre a shot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Lord Of The Rings director is producing and co-writing an adaptation of Mortal Engines. Philip Reeve’s quartet of novels is set in a futuristic, steampunk London that’s kind of hell on wheels. Following a war and some catastrophic seismic events, the English city is literally on the move, essentially feasting on other settlements’ resources to keep itself chugging along. Despite this development, the Mortal Engines world is bereft of technology; what little remains is revered. There’s also something called “Municipal Darwinism,” in case the story wasn’t sufficiently heady for you.
Jackson is once again collaborating with his wife Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, which is the same team he put together for all six Tolkien adaptations he helmed. But despite getting the Middle-earth gang back together, Jackson will not be behind the camera for this one. That is, he’ll be somewhere behind the scenes (or give himself another cameo), but he won’t be sitting in the director’s chair. Despite really digging the books’ steampunk aesthetic—to say nothing of its four books primed for cinematic retelling—Jackson will only share writing and producing duties with Walsh and Boyens. His “protege” Christian Rivers is set to make his directorial debut with the adaptation. But again, there are four books in the series, which means Jackson can tag in at any time.