Roundtable: Hollywood, Do This Instead!

We already know that Hollywood buys up far more properties than it can possibly adapt for the big and small screen. Sometimes, those properties are adapted to great success, and other times, fans wish that Hollywood had never heard of their favorite property. Last month, the contributors of Speculative Chic told Hollywood what to leave alone, so it made perfect sense, this month, to ask this follow-up:

What are you DYING to see Hollywood tackle? What do you want to see adapted for the big or small screen? This can be a book, a comic, a game, anything! BONUS POINTS for adding your dream cast!

I asked, and Speculative Chic answered! Check out their responses behind the cut, and comment below with your own wish list!

Carey: I would love to see Hollywood tackle Robin McKinley’s The Hero and The Crown and The Blue Sword. You can’t have one without the other! I first read these books in middle school, and they are two books I still reread as an adult. Both won the Newbery Award; both feature young, complicated, kick-ass women doing extraordinary things — learning magic, fighting dragons, leading armies, and ruling kingdoms.

The Hero and The Crown features a book-reading princess of Damar named Aerin, whose family notes her inability to use magic as a sign that she is, ahem, “not royal enough.” Aerin adopts her father’s old war-horse, adapts an ancient recipe for fireproofing armor, and sets off to prove herself by killing dragons. Aerin barely escapes one encounter and is healed by a magician named Luthe. Now wielding the Blue Sword, Aerin leads an army of mountain cats and wild dogs to defeat the Northern leader, Agsded, whose army is invading her father’s kingdom, and succeeds in taking back the Hero’s Crown from Agsded.

The Blue Sword is set hundreds of years later, when Aerin is just myth. Recently orphaned Harry Crewe travels to a remote outpost in the Homeland to be with her brother. Corlath, the leader of the hill-folk — the last remnants of Damar — warns the outpost of an impending invasion by demons from the North. He’s compelled by royal magic to kidnap Harry — but treats her with respect. Harry, for her part, begins to feel a connection to the hill-folk and has visions of Aerin. She trains as a soldier, then defies Corlath to unify both Homelanders and Damarians to guard a mountain pass from the Northern invasion.

Who wants to see all that on film? I do! (As long as it’s done well…) Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road) would be perfect as Aerin — but I need help casting Harry!

J.L.: I know that it has become cliché to use Game of Thrones as a descriptor to promote another project. But as much as I love The Expanse, I submit for your consideration something that is much, much more like “Game of Thrones in space”: Catherine Asaro’s Saga of the Skolian Empire.

Interstellar empires clashing over moral values! Ruling family politics and strife! Unique space travel and other technology, with bonus telepathic powers! War! Romance! Intrigue! A sprawling cast of characters for you to both love and despise, with the opportunity for beautiful set pieces on planets, ships, and incredible space stations.

The current series spans over a dozen novels, starting with Primary Inversion, linked together by the trials and adventures of a ruling family trying to keep their empire together — with a healthy dose of romance and drama just to keep things interesting. I’ve been crazy about these books since college, and while some literary loves should remain envisioned solely in my imagination, I’d be thrilled to see how a team of scriptwriters and a healthy budget could bring one of my favorite science-fiction universes to life.

Casey: Sadly, I am not able to play a lot of video games.  As such, I am forced to play them vicariously through Spouse, who has gamely (pun intended!) tried several things that he wouldn’t otherwise touch.  Some of my favorite games to watch have been part of the Fallout family.  I would love to see a television adaptation of this series.  It’s enormous, which would leave potential showrunners with no shortage of possible plots and characters to tackle.  The various settings wouldn’t be too terribly complicated to recreate.  A series based on Fallout could, potentially, go on for years with no trouble whatsoever. Fallout: New Vegas alone had four different story expansions  (“Dead Money” could almost be a spin-off series in and of itself).

Unfortunately, I don’t think that this dream adaptation is in the cards anytime soon. I couldn’t find any recent information on the topic, but a year ago, Bethesda spokesperson Todd Howard said that there weren’t any plans for a movie. However, the article doesn’t address the idea of a premium television series in the style of Game of Thrones, so I will continue to hold out hope.

Nicole: Maybe Hollywood is done with dystopia, maybe not. But as I read Veronica Rossi’s trilogy I just thought, “This would be so awesome as a movie.”

The protagonists come from very different worlds — Perry from the desolated wasteland of the world outside, and Aria who, after a terrible set of events, is ejected from the paradise of the domed city she lives in. Making the world outside its most dangerous is the violent Aether storms that can strike without warning and scorch the land to ash.

I had a great time reading these books because the world is fairly wide and you never know what might happen next. When Perry and Aria first meet each other, they hate each other. I knew Rossi would have to do some very interesting things in order to bring them together, and she managed to work it out, which impressed me to no end. The desolation and world she describes reminded me a lot of the anime Ergo Proxy — another setting in which some people live the high life in domes while others scratch out their survival outside in endless wasteland. That sort of Mad Max-like emptiness of the world has always fascinated me in a bizarre sort of way, but you don’t often see it on the screens.

I want to see this place. I want to meet these people. I want to see the Aether dance and strike and destroy. I want this movie to happen, but I want don’t want Hollywood to ruin it. A production company has had the rights since the first book came out, but just like all fans, all I can do is pray that they do things right.

Kelly: From the first time that I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I’ve wanted to see it made into a movie. It’s an incredibly cinematic book with hauntingly beautiful images. Two master magicians force their protégées, Celia and Marco, to compete against each other to determine whose magic is the most powerful. The venue of their epic battle is a magical traveling circus that only opens at night, known as Le Cirque des Rêves or The Circus of Dreams. Every little detail of the circus is meticulously rendered. Morgenstern’s descriptions of the circus snacks, especially the chocolate mice, made me hungry. I want to see the carousel where the animals actually breathe and the fantastical clocks made by Herr Thiessen. I want to walk around in the gorgeous ice garden that Marco created and witness Celia change the color of her dress with her mind. In the book, the dedicated fans of the circus call themselves “rêveurs” (“dreamers”) and wear a splash of red to stand out from the black-and-white color scheme of the circus. I consider myself a rêveur of this book. It could become a commercially successful movie — it’s visual and charming, there is a love story, and magic has become extremely popular because of Harry Potter. I haven’t gone so far as to actually cast the movie, but I would love to see Tim Burton direct it because the style of his movies completely suits the imagery of the book. According to Wikipedia, Summit Entertainment purchased the film rights to this book, but there doesn’t seem to have been much progress made since 2012. At least there is a possibility that someday I will see my dream adaptation.


  • Lane Robins May 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    You know, I really racked my brain thinking of things I wanted them to tackle, but just couldn’t! I don’t have a Hollywood mind. Things I think they’ll do well with, they destroy and things I wouldn’t expect to work, do really well on film. I guess, maybe I’d like to see something urban fantastic. The Rook? James Bond with Magic, right? How can that go wrong?

    • Shara White May 13, 2017 at 9:22 am

      As long as it isn’t sexed up unnecessarily, that could be fun!

    • davidbrawley May 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

      I loved The Rook, and just so long as it didn’t turn into The Kingsmen, I’d be thrilled to see that too.

      • Shara White May 15, 2017 at 7:48 am

        I was just thinking of The Kingsmen! I freaking hated the end of that movie….

  • davidbrawley May 13, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Oh man, if they could pull off Night Circus, that could be AMAZING…. if they didn’t screw it up.


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