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Netflix Inks Development Deal for Brian Jacques’ ‘Redwall’ Book Series

Work on feature film and series underway with writer Patrick McHale; projects will be based on heroic animal adventures from the Penguin Random House Children’s UK books that have sold over 30 million copies.

Another day, another important Netflix deal to report (often, more than one, and the day is still young…) The streaming giant has just inked a rights deal with Penguin Random House Children’s UK to develop a feature film and series based on Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” book series. Jacques’ tales chronicling the adventures of the heroic animals that inhabit the forest haven of Redwall Abbey have sold in excess of 30 million copies and been translated into more than 20 languages. The deal marks the first time that the film rights to the entire book series have been held by the same company, and the first time a feature film of any of Jacques’ works will be made.

A feature film based on the first book in the series, Redwall, is currently in development with writer Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio), as well as an event series based on the character of Martin the Warrior.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to announce this deal,” says Ben Horslen, Fiction Publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s. "These perennially popular stories have been etched onto the hearts of millions of readers, and we are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring those beloved characters on screen for families worldwide to enjoy."

Alan Ingram, representative of The Redwall Abbey Company (owner of Jacques’ intellectual property), added, “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. We are very excited to embark on this new endeavour with Netflix and Penguin Random House UK.”

Redwall joins Netflix’s growing original slate of animated features which includes Sergio Pablos’ Academy Award-nominated Klaus, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys, and Glen Keane’s Over the Moon. Features recently announced and in production include the upcoming comedy Back to the Outback, directed by Clare Knight and Harry Cripps; Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure; Chris Williams’ The Sea Beast; Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild; Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon; Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio; Wendy Rogers’ The Magician’s Elephant; Minkyu Lee’s The Witch Boy; and an Aardman Chicken Run sequel.

Netflix has also just acquired worldwide rights, outside of China, for The Mitchells vs. The Machines, a new animated comedy from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, producers of the Oscar-winning animated feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film, which up until recently had been renamed Connected, was originally slated for an October 23, 2020 release, which was then unset; with the new deal, reportedly worth more than $100 millionthe feature will premiere later in 2021.

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.