Epic Fantasy TV – The Battle For The Top Spot

With the frankly disappointing ending to the massive multi season hit, Game of Thrones (GoT), an interesting void has been created. Lots of companies are starting to realize that epic fantasy makes excellent TV if done correctly, and everyone is trying to cash in on the success that GoT was known for. The large bit of what made GoT so spectacular was the characters and their personalities… but let’s not forget the dragons and the swearing and nudity, because those things helped a lot as well.

Fantasy TV has been around for a LONG time. I remember as a kid on Saturday afternoons when my mom would commandeer the TV and throw on Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess. She wasn’t as big of a fan of The Adventures of Sinbad, but I watched that one with my grandma instead. To this day, I still remember the Xena intro and song, it really just takes me back.

As I said, with the ending of GoT, there are several companies/studios that are hoping to cash in on the new mega fantasy franchise on prime cable/streaming.

AMAZON – LORD OF THE RINGS PREQUEL SERIES

This show has been in the rumour mill for quite some time, since the second last season of GoT actually. It was officially announced as the last season of Thrones began and has been kept very hush hush since that time. We do know a couple of things about the series so far though.

The show will take place in the second age of Middle Earth. If any of you have read The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation/historical epic, then you will more than likely be familiar with the source material. The second age was the longest age in the history of middle Earth, it lasted for roughly 4 millennia (4,000 years). It begins after the fall of Morgoth (Sauron’s boss and the big bad in all of the lore of Middle Earth) and ends with the Last Alliance and the defeat of Sauron.

Morgoth v. Fingolfin in The Silamrillion

The showrunners have kept the details very much on the down low and only release small teasers on social media to help wet the appetites of viewers. First they released a map of Middle Earth during the second age (before certain kingdoms were formed) to show “When it will take place”. More recently they announced it will detail the fall of Númenor. For those not versed in the Lore here’s a brief synopsis:

During the beginning of the second age, Númenor, which was an island nation, was founded. The Dúnedain, who are the descendants of the Númenóreans, are a race of very long lived Men (Aragorn from the original Lord of the Rings trilogy). When I say long lived I mean that, even though he appeared to be late 20’s and early 30’s, Aragorn was actually around 80 years old during the War of the Ring, and lived to be around 210 before he died.

Númenóreans are descendants of Elven blood which explains their long lived life. Following the defeat of Morgoth they founded their island Kingdom of Númenor off the coast of Middle Earth. They were very militaristic and helped to push Sauron back into Mordor when he tried to take the continent during the second millennia of the second age. Eventually, they tried to take the “Undying Lands” as their own, also known as the “Grey Havens”, where the elves sailed to following the conclusion of the War of the Ring. This is what led to their downfall and subsequently what the show will focus on, the fall of the Kingdom of Númenor. Casting for the show has been very quiet but the show itself is rumoured to cost around 10 million per episode. Before the show has even aired, Amazon has already ordered a second season. As it stands right now, the show is set to air late 2020 or early 2021 on Amazon Prime.

NETFLIX – THE WITCHER

I have already done a post about the show so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, my previous post can be found here: https://multiverse9812.blog/2019/07/26/the-witcher-trailer-reveal-at-sdcc/

The show, which is set to air on Netflix on December 20, 2019, focuses on Geralt of Rivia and his quest to hunt monsters as he travels the continent. Geralt is a Witcher, a human that has been mutated to be stronger, faster and more durable. Each Witcher initiate must undergo the “Trial of The Grasses” which injects various potions and mixes into their body, the trial has roughly a 75% mortality rate with those that survive becoming Witchers. Due to Geralt’s mutation his hair turned white and as he belongs to the Witcher school of the Wolf, he has been dubbed the White Wolf.

The story will adapt the books written by Andrzej Sapkowski as the template for the show’s progression. We will follow Geralt as he hunts monsters across the continent and through his first interactions with Yennefer and Cirilla. Henry Cavill is set to portray Geralt in the series with Freya Allan portraying Cirilla and Anya Chalotra portraying Yennefer.

Netflix is banking on this property to drive up their subscriptions, which have fallen drastically in the last few months. They are so confident that this show will be a hit that prior to it’s first season airing, they’ve already greenlit a second season.

ELRIC SAGA

Elric and Stormbringer

This is something that recently crossed my feed the other night. New Republic Pictures’ Brian Oliver and Producer Bradley J. Fischer have acquired the rights to create a television series based on the Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. I am not familiar with the source material but from some quick research this is what I was able to find out…

The series centers on the ruler of the Kingdom of Melniboné, Elric, and he is the last Emperor of the dwindling kingdom. Elric is characterized as an albino with long flowing white hair and is a very skilled sorcerer. He must constantly drink an herbal mixture that maintains his health and unlike most of his people, he possesses a conscience. His people once ruled the land but due to their decadence and the emergence of young kingdoms headed by humans, his people are pushed to the brink of extinction. Melnibonéans do not consider themselves as human despite being physically identical to them in nearly every way. Elric’s people see him as a weak ruler and his cousin, who is next in the line of succession, due to Elric not having an heir, plots his death. Elric wields a sword called Stormbringer, which imbues in him strength, speed, and fighting prowess; it also renders his need of herbal mixtures to stay alive moot. There is a drawback however, the sword consumes the souls of those it defeats, and it constantly craves intelligent victims. Elric is constantly trying to find a way to stave his people away from extinction, while trying not to fall victim to the sword.

The series first begin in the novella The Dreaming City in 1961. To date there have been a total of 11 novels based on Elric as well as various comics, graphic novels and short stories.

There is not company/network attached to the project yet nor any information on casting. This is a series to keep a look out for in the coming years.

AMAZON – WHEEL OF TIME

Amazon is set to put out another epic fantasy saga based on the bestselling series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, The Wheel of Time. This is another fantasy series that I’m not very familiar with but I have a few friends who have read the whole series, all 14 books and love it. The first novel, The Eye of the World, was release on January 15, 1990; with the final book, A Memory of Light, released on January 8, 2013.

The series’ original author Robert Jordan passed away on September 16, 2007, of cardiac amyloidosis which he had been diagnosed with roughly one year prior. His widow and editor, Harriet McDougal, contacted Brandon Sanderson to request his help finishing the series after she had read and was very impressed by Sanderson’s first Mistborn novel. Sanderson agreed and ghost wrote the final three novels to end the series.

The series is set on an unnamed world that because of the way it’s time flows in a cyclical nature is both the distant past and far future Earth. There was an event called The Breaking of The World which happened around 3,000 years before the series takes place. It is depicted as global cataclysm that ended the Age of Legends, which was a highly advanced era.

The “Westlands”, where the bulk of the series takes place, is a series of kingdoms and city states that are bordered by mountains to the East and an area to the north called The Great Blight, which is a land of nightmarish creatures. The series takes place mostly in the Third Age which follows the Breaking and the Trolloc Wars, a time when humanity was nearly overrun by creatures from the blight. High King Arthur Hawking brielfy unified the Westlands but upon his death the War of a Hundred Years began which fractured the Westlands into their current divided state.

The series begins with one of the main characters, Moiraine, and her warder Lan, who are looking for a young man who has been deemed to be “The Dragon Reborn”. Moiraine isn’t the only one looking for the young man, servants of The Dark One are searching for him as well. Moiraine takes a group of young people from the village of Two Rivers and as they journey to the City of Tar Valon they are attacked repeatedly by Agents of the Shadow. The group must unite the various kingdoms of the Westlands so they can stand a chance against the Dark One and his forces until the Dragon Reborn can meet the Dark One in battle and save the world.

As the series takes place over 14 novels, the list of important characters is quite extensive. One of the defining moments of the series is the final battle which takes place in a single chapter in the novel, A Memory of Light, this single chapter totals 202 pages in length.

In 2017, Sony television announced they would be producing the series in partnership with Red Eagle Entertainment and Radar Pictures with Harriet McDougal serving as consulting producer. In 2018, Amazon ordered the series to production and Amazon Studios would serve as production company for the series, which began principal photography on September 16, 2019. The series is set to star Rosamund Pike as Moiraine with some new up and coming actors like: Marcus Rutherford, Josha Stradowski, Barney Harris and Zoë Robins rounding out the main cast.

The Wheel of Time series is set to appear on Amazon Prime in late 2020 or early 2021.

There you go! Some of the new epic fantasy series that will be coming to streaming and premium cable in the next few years. I’m personally looking forward to all of them as I do love me some epic fantasy. Let me know what you think!

See you next week!

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