In the search for the next big literary franchise, Warner Bros has turned to telepathic dragons. The studio behind The Hobbit and Harry Potter has optioned the rights to Anne McCaffrey’s epic Dragonriders of Pern fantasy sci-fi series.
Set on the quasi-medieval but also futuristic world of Pern, the dragonriders are elite warriors trained to ride (you guessed it) dragons. The dragons themselves are intelligent, fire-breathing and capable of speech through telepathy, and form an intense bond with their riders. The dragons and their riders defend their world from the Oort cloud: deadly spores that rain down from space and must be incinerated before they hit the ground. It’s all tied together by an intricate history, taking in fantasy and advanced technology, slowly revealed over the course of the books.
First appearing in 1968, the Pern series comprised 22 novels and sundry other works over four decades, so a film series shouldn’t lack for material. It’s one of the best selling fantasy series ever, made author Anne McCaffrey the first ever woman to win the prestigious Hugo Award and, according to Deadline Hollywood, Warner Bros have optioned the lot.
A previous attempt to adapt Pern for the TV back in 2001, produced by Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald Moore, dissolved due to creative differences with American network The WB. A producer has yet to be attached to Warner Bros’ cinema version.