Peter V. Brett's The Warded Man is getting a TV adaptation

A potential streaming franchise to stand up alongside The Witcher, Game of Thrones, and more

Peter V. Brett's The Warded Man is getting a TV adaptation
Graphic: Andrew Liptak

Chalk up another potential fantasy series to add to your to-watch queue: Deadline reports that Electromagnetic Productions, run by Roger Birnbaum and Mark Kimsey has picked up the option for Peter V. Brett's novel The Warded Man for a series.

The novel was a breakout hit for Brett when it was first published back in 2008. It follows a trio of characters in a world that's been overrun by demons called Corelings, who come out at night to feast on humans. Over hundreds of years, humanity has been reduced to a dark age, and their only protection are magical wards that can be painted around settlements to keep them at bay. But those protections are fragile, and the Corelings have been steadily gaining ground against those people who remain. Those three heroes, Arlen (the titular hero who's inscribed the runes onto his body), Leesha, and Rojer, who might very well be humanity's last hope.  

Brett has since completed the series: he followed The Warded Man up with The Desert Spear (2010), The Daylight War (2013), The Skull Throne (2015), and The Core (2017), and also released a handful of novellas through Subterranean Press: "The Great Bazaar", "Brayan's Gold" and "Messenger's Legacy".  Last year, he released the first installment of a new series set in the same world: The Desert Prince, which picks up the events of the world 15 years later.

Reached for comment, Brett tells me that "I’m super excited to have an amazing team bringing the Demon Cycle books to life. I can’t wait to share these stories to a wider audience in a new medium."

This isn't the first go-around for the project being adapted: back in 2009, Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil), optioned the novels for a film, who explained at the time that he thought "it has the potential to be a new ‘Lord of the Rings’-style epic, and the book has all this great imagery.” That project never materialized, however: In 2016, Brett explained that the project fell through, and noted that Anderson's efforts hadn't been the first time it had been optioned.

The timing here is apt: in 2009, fantasy was just breaking into the mainstream: Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy had come and gone in theaters to great acclaim, bringing with it a handful of imitators, while J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise was still going strong. Since then, we've had a shift in how we consume entertainment: HBO's Game of Thrones blew the doors off of the TV world, and we now live at a time where big-budget fantasy adaptations of things like Wheel of Time, The Witcher, and Lord of the Rings are the norm on a bunch of streaming services. The Warded Man strikes me as a good addition there: it's got a huge fanbase, and plenty of room to work with, given that the series is already completed.

Deadline noted that the goal here is to "build a long-term franchise" out of the series," and it feels very much like this could be a series designed to follow in the footsteps of Netflix's Witcher franchise, which has not only garnered a mainline show, but some animated spinoffs, and an additional live-action series. There's no word on where the series will land (if it does indeed land anywhere), but in the meantime, Simon Barry (Warrior Nun, Continuum) will serve as the showrunner for the project, while Witchblade screenwriter JD Zeik is adapting the book.

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