Top 10 Books That Should Become Film Trilogies
The second chapter of Peter Jackson's enhanced trilogy based on THE HOBBIT, THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG looks to amp up the events of the first movie while supplementing the story with J.R.R. Tolkien's additional appendices. Once the third and final film hits theaters next year, studios will be on the lookout to make the next big trilogy of films. The best place to look would be in published literature, especially fantasy, where there are a number of series primed and ready for the silver screen. Here are the top ten books and series that should be adapted as trilogies for the big screen. If your favorite didn't make the list, make sure to add it to the talk backs below.
Piers Anthony's Xanth books are the perfect blend of LORD OF THE RINGS, NARNIA, and HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. They mix fantasy, science fiction, and humor in a 27 volume "magical" trilogy that would make for a daring and unique big screen adventure. A lot of Anthony's writing would be lost in a movie, but with the exception of only a few movies have we seen a truly funny fantasy film.
Clive Barker has made many forays onto the big screen but his sprawling fantasy novel IMAJICA would be tailor-made for a trilogy. The story takes place on Earth, the Fifth Dominion, and has characters cross between parallel worlds. The 800+ page novel is a very adult-oriented fantasy tale that has enough subtext to make it an intriguing candidate for a movie.
Tad Williams' series is actually comprised of four books which could be condensed into a three film adventure. The future set series is a science fiction world based around virtual reality that would be a mix of THE MATRIX and more conventional fantasy fare. Warner Bros has been developing OTHERLAND as a potential film since 2012.
Taking place in the same universe as I, ROBOT, the FOUNDATION series of seven novels is built around the trilogy that started it all. Asimov's writing is hard science fiction in that it is built around a lot of complex concepts like the mathematics at the heart of the novel known as psychohistory. Once you get past the learning curve, FOUNDATION gives you a huge , hundreds of thousands of years worth of story that could make for a damn fine movie.
Breaking away from fantasy and science fiction for a moment, Chuck Palahniuk (FIGHT CLUB, CHOKE) is two volumes into a trilogy inspired by Judy Blume novels like ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME, MARGARET? Palahiuk describes them as THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION crossed with THE LOVELY BONES and it is just as dark and funny as you would expect. Like Dante, DAMNED starts in Hell and DOOMED takes the narrator to Purgatory. Totally batshit and perfect for the movie treatment, hopefully these get made soon.
Pratchett's satirical look at fairy tales and mythology, DISCWORLD is a sprawling series with a devoted fanbase. Difficult to film, Pratchett's novels have been adapted for radio and several British television movies. But, the world could use another dark and funny voice. I could see Peter Jackson himself helming something like this, a nice flip to his work with Tolkien.
Robert Jordan's fourteen volume high fantasy series is likely the closest thing to modern Tolkien. Jordan died before the entire story could be told and the final volumes were written based on his notes and outlines. But, if we go back and start with the first three books, you would definitely have a rival to LORD OF THE RINGS and even GAME OF THRONES. Dragons, battles, intrigue, WHEEL OF TIME has it all.
Ridley Scott optioned THE PASSAGE before the first volume was published. John Logan was tapped to write the film which has made zero progress. With the third and final volume set for publication next year, it is only a matter of time before this post-apocalyptic horror epic makes it to a theater near you. It has everything you need: vampires, action, romance, you name it. Stephen King is a fan so that is good enough for me.
While THE DARK TOWER is Stephen King's greatest unfilmed work, his collaboration with Peter Straub is a close second. THE TALISMAN and the sequel BLACK HOUSE tell the story of Jack Sawyer and his adventures crossing between our world and the next. The movie is sort of a lighter version of THE DARK TOWER with just as much action, thrills, and adventure to make a worthy series of films. Steven Spielberg was trying to get it made both as a film or a television series for a long time.