Netflix has acquired the rights to all 22 books of Redwall, the award-winning children’s fantasy series by English writer Brian Jacques which is about the adventures of a group of anthropomorphic animals, and will be adapted into a feature film and TV series by the online streaming platform.
Netflix continues its quest to reanimate our childhood by enlisting Patrick McHale, creator of Cartoon Network’s Over the Garden Wall, to write the feature film. The upcoming film will be based on Jacques’ first book in the series, Redwall. There are 21 others, extending to the final book titled The Rogue Crew. The streaming giant is also developing an event series based on the character of Martin the Warrior, a heroic mouse.
The news comes as Netflix rapidly builds out its still nascent animation unit to cut into Disney’s lead in the space. For a company primarily in the business of growing global subscriptions, animation helps make families more loyal customers. It now plans to release six animated movies per year—far more than what Disney’s main animation studios (Pixar and Walt Disney Animation) put out each year. In addition to making more animated originals, Netflix is bolstering its licensed slate of animated titles. Last year, it acquired the international rights to 21 films from Studio Ghibli, the famed Japanese animation studio responsible for Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.
Netflix inked the deal with Penguin Random House Children for the rights to the books, which have sold 30 million copies worldwide and chronicle the adventures of the heroic animals that inhabit the forest haven of Redwall Abbey.
This deal marks the first time that the film rights to the entire book series have been held by the same company. It is also the first time a feature film of any of Jacques’ works will be made. The beloved author died in 2011. The 22nd and final novel in the series, The Rogue Crew, was released posthumously that year.
A representative of The Redwall Abbey Company, which owns Jacques’ intellectual property, Alan Ingram said, “Brian often travelled the globe to tell his Redwall stories to young audiences, more often than not at their schools. Brian would have been very happy to see that Netflix shares his joy and desire to bring his stories to life as a new universe of films, series and potentially much more for audiences of all ages to enjoy.”
No additional details about the adaptations including who will play the key voice roles or when it will be released has been revealed. Netflix’s upcoming features include Apollo 10 1/2 : A Space Age Adventure, The Sea Beast, My Father’s Dragon and Pinocchio.