In a bit of non-Star Wars news, yet still very much related to Lucasfilm, it was recently reported by Deadline that Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to develop a trilogy of films based on Tomi Adeyemi’s bestselling novel Children of Blood and Bone.
What’s significant is that, last we had heard, Lucasfilm had the rights and was developing the film. However according to Deadline they let the rights lapse, which led to a bidding war between studios like Universal, Amazon, and Netflix, but Paramount won out. Deadline reports that the offer included a seven-figure screenwriting guarantee for Adeyemi, as well as a guaranteed theatrical release. Also significant is the fact that Adeyemi will be writing the screenplay and executive producing the film, giving her immense creative control over the adaptation of her book.
Considering all of that, it sounds like this is a far better deal for Adeyemi, as she was not originally set to write the film when Lucasfilm was attached to the product (Kay Oyegun was attached to write the script, while Rick Famuyiwa was set to direct). Upon Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the film was picked up by Lucasfilm after it caught the attention of President Kathy Kennedy. In the massive Disney Investor’s Day presentation that took place in December 2020, which included tons of Star Wars announcements as well, Kennedy also confirmed that Lucasfilm was developing Children of Blood and Bone in partnership with 20th Century Studios.
“Our slate is expanding further with a story that will introduce a new hero and explore an original world that feels perfectly paired with Lucasfilm’s storytelling,” Kennedy said. “We’re proud to bring to the screen author Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel Children of Blood and Bone. This story will center around a young African girl’s heartracing quest to restore magic to her forsaken people, the Magi. Tomi was recently included in the Time 100’s list of most influential people of 2020. We’re proud to be partnering with the 20th Century Studios on this coming-of-age adventure.”
It’s unclear why exactly Lucasfilm let the rights to this project lapse, especially given the considerable interest it has drawn from other interested studios, but I would guess that production delays and other factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic could easily be to blame. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Adeyemi’s involvement was a significant factor as well, given that she’ll now be writing and executive producing the movie. Regardless, this is one less project in the works at Lucasfilm, and it was a rare non-Star Wars one at that. With Indiana Jones 5 and the Willow series coming there are other non-Star Wars projects in the works from the studio, but it remains (and will always be) mostly focused on its premier franchise.