Books and movies have fascinated people the world over. When a reader is so engrossed with the journey of the character on the page that the rest of the world falls away from them, there can be a sense of euphoria. An audience who is so thrilled to see their favorite actor or actress steal the scene sits on the edge of their seats just begging for the next moment to come, and they are sucked into the worlds flying by their eyes.
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What happens though when a book becomes the inspiration for a movie? What happens when characters like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson take to the silver screen? In some instances, such as Harry Potter, we have a result of absolute movie magic, while in the case of Percy Jackson, the reception wasn’t as pleasant. Movies and television have had a hit or miss relationship with book adaptations, but what would happen if they took the time and money and got all of the story right?
15 ENDER'S GAME
"Ender’s Game" follows the child tactical genius Ender, and the military of the human race who are preparing for war against the “buggers.” In this world, the ruling parties on Earth create the International Fleet in order to combat the “buggers” with new and ever more advanced starships. The International Fleet creates a program designed to bring out the most brilliant strategic minds of human kind, otherwise known as the Battle School. Ender Wiggin, through many war simulations, is shown to be the greatest mind of any that have come out of the school.
While the movie that was made back in 2013 barely broke past its budget, only grossing $125 million on a $110-115 million budget, the movie wasn’t the worst thing to come from an adaptation. This earns a place on the list because while the film's twist was very jarring, it ended in a way that made fans want to see what happens next, even if they were already a fan of the novels and knew what will come to pass.
14 JOHN CARTER OF MARS
John Carter is the main protagonist in many of Edgar Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” series of books. John Carter has been around for more than 100 years and has made appearances in comic strips, comic books, novels, games and television shows. The Virginian who can astral travel to a fictionalized version of Mars has more than withstood the test of time, and with good reason.
While Disney’s "John Carter" from 2012 marked the centennial of the character, the film was met with mixed reviews from viewers and critics alike. Most would agree that the visual spectacle of the film was fantastic, but that the story and development of the characters was lacking. With such a rich history and plenty of story to accompany the story, this film deserves a continuation. While the film under performed at the box office, it would seem that most people just weren’t able to make up their minds about if the movie was truly good or not. With some tweaks, there’s no doubt that an epic franchise full of all manner of character could be reborn from the ashes.
"Dune" was written in 1965 between two separate serials in “Analog” magazine and has been called the world’s bestselling science fiction novel. From its interactions of such things as politics, religion and technology to name a few, the story which takes place on the dessert planet of Arrakis has many different layers to pierce the reader and keep them engaged.
This series did in fact already have a film adaptation, that while having a lengthy runtime also had fans of the books split for other reasons. Certain fans were very happy with the adaptation, while others despised the creative liberties taken with the film. The critics were also harsh judges when the film was originally released, but with time the movie has gained a cult following. Based on the split decision from fans of that original movie as well as the popularity of the novels, “Dune” deserves another shot on the silver screen.
12 SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES
“The Spiderwick Chronicles” is a series of short children’s novels that consisted of five original books following the Grace children as the move into the house of their Great-great Uncle Arthur Spiderwick, where magic and faeries soon find the kids once they happen upon the field guide. From that point, the kids are almost constantly fighting goblins, trolls and all manner of magical creature; the evil, shape shifting ogre Mulgarath being by far the worst.
“The Spiderwick Chronicles” is another series that had a try at the movie biz, and while not a completely horrible adaptation, the movie tried to shove all five books into the same film. While this was a big issue in and of itself, as well as completely removing the fourth book, more people seemed to be put off by the fact that Freddie Highmore was playing both of the twin boys. This series would do best as a live-action television miniseries, even if it were to stay in the hands of Nickelodeon studios who helmed the original movie. They could easily break down each of the books as well as the sequel series and cover all of the content correctly.
11 INHERITANCE CYCLE
“The Inheritance Cycle” consists of “Eragon,” “Eldest,” “Brisngr” and “Inheritance.” This series mainly follows the story of the new dragon rider Eragon on his training and the uprising against the malicious Galbatorix. Aside from Eragon himself, the books also follow the stories of his cousin Roran, the leader of the Varden Nasuada, and Arya the warrior elf/princess to name a few. While “Eragon” in particular did get a movie adaptation, it was very poorly received by fans of the books series. Issues with the storyline being played with, Arya not looking elf enough for some people, and the ease of killing some of the strongest creatures in the land of Alageasia were some of the biggest tipping points out of the films favor.
“The Inheritance Cycle” is here because even though they tried once to go for the movie, it is a series that deserves another shot. This particular series would do well with either a television series or maybe second go at the movies. The better route would be television, there, the books could be completely covered and all the production companies would need to do is let it end where it is supposed to.
10 PERCY JACKSON UNIVERSE
Percy Jackson is the demigod son of Poseidon who at this point has an entire universe of Gods and monsters surrounding him. This universe contains not only the Greek Gods, but also the Egyptian, Roman and Norse as well. The Greek inspired "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" opens the door to the Egyptian “Kane Chronicles,” soon after that the “Heroes of Olympus” series opens us up to the Greek Gods split personalities in the form of their Roman counterparts, and “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard” introduces us to Valhalla and the Viking Gods of Norse mythology.
While Percy has had a not-so-successful film career, the stories contained within the pages of these books are something that would be fantastic when done on screen, big or small, correctly. A big budget television series or TV movie serial would do wonders for this series, and could span multiple seasons for a long time with how much material is already here. The only thing that would more than likely need to stay changed is keeping the characters older.
9 FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S: THE SILVER EYES
While some may be getting tired of everything "Five Nights," the video game series has gone on to not only have numerous fan games made about it, but also spawned a book from the creator of the games Scott Cawthon. “The Silver Eyes” takes place mostly in the same town that houses the original Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and centers around Charlie, the daughter of the man who owned and created Freddy’s as well as all things inside, and her group of childhood friends who have converged back in town for a memorial service.
This novel would take a solid spot as a movie contender, while the full line of games would help to make a franchise. The movie could be made at little cost needing mainly the budget to animate the animatronic animals. While this would more than likely fall into a niche horror genre, a take on this novel is well worth the shot.
“Fablehaven” so far consists of five original titles in that heading and most recently the first book in the sequel series “Dragonwatch.” The series follows siblings Kendra and Seth Sorenson as they explore the exciting and sometimes dangerous world full of fairies, plagues and dragons. The children find that they can see the magical creatures on the Fablehaven reserve by using a type of magical milk and adventure ensues. Once the Society of the Evening Star comes onto the scene, the story opens up to a whole new realm of possibilities.
“Fablehaven” is best suited for a television series with a big budget for lots of visual and special effects. Whether needing to animate the shadow plague turning good creatures to bad or the transformation from a human form to a dragon, it would definitely not come cheap, but the magic that would come from a series of this kind would be well worth the effort.
7 THE LUNAR CHRONICLES
“The Lunar Chronicles” are a sci-fi reimagining of classic fairy tales, but with the sci-fi twist of being in a world full of cyborgs, androids and alien races. Some of the biggest elements that make up “The Lunar Chronicles” are that the stories of each story intertwine at one point or another. Aside from the main books, there are also a few short stories that would fit well into fully developing certain characters and taking the films to a different level. The characters based on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and the Snow Queen are not your grandparent’s fairy tales.
While there isn’t much sci-fi on the list, a combo of fairy tale and sci-fi is definitely an interesting take. This series could be made either the television route or the movie route, while not needing a massive budget to start out the franchise and see where it would go.
6 DRAGON RIDERS OF PERN
The original three books of “The Dragon Riders of Pern” follow F’lar in his quest to repopulate the dragon riding community, known as Weyrs. Initially F’lar has three communities of dragons, when in fact there should be a total of seven Weyrs. The people of Pern originated from Earth and came across Pern during a colonization mission, where they bred dragons to protect them from the spore-like Threads which can destroy anything they touch.
A movie franchise would probably be best to capture the full diversity of the “Dragon Riders of Pern.” It would also take a fairly large budget to animate the sheer number of dragons. The series takes many of the favorite elements of sci-fi such as time travel and combines them with elements of medieval times. With more than a dozen books in the series, each could captivate audiences and breathe new life into a series that came into being in the late 1960’s.
5 ARTEMIS FOWL
The best way to describe Artemis Fowl is to have someone picture Tony Stark mixed with Sherlock Holmes, with the attitude to match, and a heart that ends up doing the right thing. Spanning eight novels and receiving much critical praise, the titular criminal mastermind has hollowed out a special place in the hearts of readers worldwide.
"Artemis Fowl" is actually in pre-production which makes many fans happy. It also makes them wait for more than a decade apparently seeing as how the original purchasing of the film rights was back in 2001 and then didn’t have a screenplay until 2003, which had its own issues and has been in development hell pretty much until some of the latest news broke in 2015 about Kenneth Branagh directing. While waiting, it has been said that the movie would push together two of the books, mixing two different plots, but only time will tell at this point.
4 THE RANGERS APPRENTICE
“The Ranger’s Apprentice” follows Will, an eager young orphan who wants nothing more than to be a knight like he always heard his father had been. When Will isn’t chosen for knight training school, he is instead brought under the tutelage of Master Ranger Halt, and man many believe to have magic powers because of his ability to seemingly appear out of thin air. As Will continues through his Ranger training he realizes just how much he enjoys his new path in life and accepts his path.
The series spans a total of 12 books so far, and a companion series, both full of adventure and thrills that would make for either an epic movie franchise or television series. There wouldn’t be many road blocks in the way of visual effects because the show/film could be made using mostly practical effects and not a lot of special effects, a big perk for being in the setting of medieval times.
3 THE LAND OF STORIES
“The Land of Stories” is a continuation of classic fairy tales except with a few twists thrown in. Be aware, these are not the Disney versions of characters like the Little Mermaid or the Snow Queen, these are continued from the Grimm Brothers. Another set of stories using twins as the protagonists, they get sucked into the Land of Stories where they meet all manner of magical creature and fairy tale fantasy. Through their adventures in the Land of Stories they find themselves on the wrong side of such classic villains as Captain Hook, the Snow Queen and the Evil Queen to name a few.
While some may be bored with fairy tales, author Chris Colfer breathes new life into the old while adding his own special flair. This is one of the biggest reasons that a series like this could definitely make it on television. The characters are engaging and there is a familiarity with many of the old characters while the audience has a portal to this new world through the eyes of the main characters.
2 INDIANA JONES NOVELS
While most know "Indiana Jones" from the films made famous by Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, there is also an entire series of novels that deal with all manner of fantasy. These stories cover everything from Druids to the typical Nazi’s that Indy beats the tar out of daily. While full of adventure, these also have romance and history which helps to solidly implant them in the world of Indiana Jones.
These novels would make fantastic editions to the Indiana Jones library, the biggest issue being a recasting of Harrison Ford. What should be done is a casting of a new actor, more than likely an unknown, and not touch the movies that have already been made! Simply implant the new stories into the already existing mythos. Also, if we see any more Shia Lebouf, no one can guarantee there won’t be a riot from fans, so it’s best to use stories from before he existed.
1 DOROTHY MUST DIE
"Dorothy Must Die" and the subsequent novels all written by Danielle Page are about the other girl from Kansas. In this world, Dorothy went back to Oz after her return to Kansas only to be fully tainted by the magic that overcame her. Centering around Amy Gumm, a small-town Kansas girl who wanted to be away from her neglectful mother and the terrible life that came from where she lived, as well as the high school she needed to attend. After a freak tornado pulls herself, her mom’s pet rat and their entire trailer into the sky, she discovers the land of Oz and her Wicked fate to match.
The “Dorothy Must Die” series would make an amazing addition to the HBO library. Even though it is set in the land of Oz, this story is full of violence and language which it would be a complete disservice to exclude. The story could also go past the main line of books since the author also wrote a series of novellas that center around individual characters from the story such as the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow and Lion.
What books do you want to see get adapted into movies? Tell us which ones in the comments!