Eragon in Other Media: Could Eragon work as a TV show, miniseries, or animated movie? (Part one)

From successful fantasy/dragon television shows such as Game of Thrones to anime such as Avatar: The Last Airbender to the rise of comics and graphic novels, we think there’s a lot of potential for Eragon to work in other media. In this, the first of two articles, we explore television shows, miniseries, and animated films!

eragon-in-other-mediums-tv-showTelevision Show

What The Walking Dead did for zombies, Game of Thrones is doing for medieval fantasy worlds and dragons, by helping to bring it into the mainstream. This opens the door for the success of similar shows. With Game of Thrones at its back, an Eragon TV show could gain a lot of traction.

Breaking up the books would be no easy task. Eragon would make a great first season, with enough content to easily fill a thirteen hour-long episode run. From there, the books could be split into multiple seasons, clearly requiring more than one each to cover all the content.

One challenge, however, is that Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle would require an unusually large budget to bring Alagaësia to life. Unlike Game of Thrones, the Cycle features magic and dragons in virtually every part of the books.

If it did happen, what channel would it air on? This is a tough question, as it could play on broadcast channels (Fox, ABC, NBC) but may be better suited for cable (AMC, FX), or premium channels (HBO, Showtime). The latter could allow for larger budget, higher production quality, and in-depth plot development.

There’s also room for Eragon to make waves on the booming internet-based media, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and other original shows have propelled Netflix into the television arena, and their most recent release, Daredevil (in partnership with Marvel), made a huge splash in the comic book world, demonstrating viewers’ desire for this kind of content. It’s also important to note that because Netflix shows are built with the understanding that a large portion of their audience will binge-watch, creators are given more freedom to pace the plot in unique ways.

eragon-in-other-mediums-mini-seriesTelevision Miniseries

If the Inheritance Cycle were brought to TV, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be an ongoing series. Instead, a studio could commit to a set number of episodes and capture the entire Cycle in one go. Having ten hour-long episodes to cover the content of all four books could work.

Alternatively, a miniseries could be utilized to tell a condensed or alternative version of the story, perhaps following different characters, excluding certain points of view (Nasuada, Roran, Murtagh), or focusing only on the core story (Eragon and Saphira’s adventures). This would be a unique way of getting the books onto the small screen in an abridged fashion.

It may be hard to find a good home for this sort of content. We think the best bet for a miniseries would be on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Both have shown that they can deliver brilliant, competitive TV shows, and they continue to expand their offerings.

The downside to a miniseries is the time constraint. There are thousands of pages in the Cycle. Could a miniseries, even at ten one-hour episodes, be able to properly tell the story? And, as mentioned before, would enough resources be assigned to accomplish the necessary special effects?

eragon-in-other-mediums-animated-movieAnimated Film or Movie

We need look no further than How to Train Your Dragon to see how well a dragon-based fantasy world can work as an animated film. The series is loosely based off a book by the same name, written by Cressida Cowell. Its exaggerated animation style would stray a bit from the Cycle’s more series tones, but at the same time, the styles used by Pixar and Dreamworks could enhance Alagaësia, creating a unique and memorable version of our beloved fantasy world.

It could also prove to be a major handicap. Animated films are generally skewed toward a younger audience, and a lot of the series’ heart could be lost in translation as a result. Think about how much of Eragon‘s grittiness was lost in the film because Fox sought a PG rating: the movie had no blood, the plot was flattened, and the characters’ motivations and drive lacked true meaning as their stories were dumbed down. We worry that the same could happen to an animated Eragon.

So while it may be fun to see Eragon as an animated movie, we don’t feel that it would fit the heart of the books, believing that Alagaësia would lose too much of what makes it special.

The second part of our “Eragon in other media” article will discuss anime, graphic novels, and video games!

Now we ask: What other media could you see Eragon working well in? If you had to choose, which medium (movie included) would you pick? Let us know in the comments!

  • Jacob Selassie

    Follow the books!!

  • Wydra

    I think that wishing for a movie chain which would have to be massive or tv series with a budget blowing GoTs out of the water there amount of cgi for nearly every second would be costly, so in the end the best option at this point i think would be a anime style series to be specific a style similar to fate:unlimited bladeworks, this would allow for the indepth details everyone here would demand as well as an alternative to having a cgi screwup with the art in the style for fate would allow for a complete replica of CP mental imagery for each character

  • Ashlyn

    I love the book! Ive’d reed all the books, and if someone know were you can found the serie, then contact me! Ive’d love to see the serie!

  • Shadez

    Me and my 10 year old friend love Eragon. You have a point saying that they should aim over a PG rating, but I think that some of the younger fans, can handle violence and blood. Cristopher wrote the book when he was 15. He aimed for everyone to enjoy the magic of Inheritance. Thus, I think it would harm the series if we aimed for adults. I know so many kids 10 and up who adore and cherish Inheritance.

  • Jeff D.

    TV show would work best there is jut way to much content in the cycle to ev n do movies properly unless they were to make 7 movies at peter Jacksons length movies. Which would be amazing if done CORRECTLY. But I feel that a tv show would allow more of the little moments that make the cycle so unique and amazing to bleed onto the screen. A movie wouldn’t have time for some of the small interactions between characters. Overall a properly done tv show would be best 17-22 40 min episode seasons could last us years. Look at supernatural for a good example of what a fan community could do for a beloved show 11 seasons strong and not looking to slow down. The cycle could be that long if not longer

  • Paddy Crinnigan

    Definitely a series. Definitely. The more I think about trying to do these books justice the more I realise you’d need a Peter Jackson esc timeframe and budget to do so. Since we don’t have that – get HBO or Netflix to pick it up. Half decent CGI nowadays does not require a big budget – and the series shouldn’t be centred around CGI anyway. As it drew in more viewers you could put more money into the look of it – get the characters, pace and storyline right first.

    For instance the villagers become a big part of the story later on – we could have a decent build up of the characters and who they are in the beginning to start the connections between these integral characters and the audience – whilst it could also be flitting across to other people such as Arya so we understand what their roles are and we don’t loose interest.

    A low budget first season where time is taken to introduce us to the characters and storyline – keeping it within the realms of the books – would be carried by the avid fans of the book series. This would pull in more people and by the 3rd season you could start going crazy.

  • Mark Mugavero

    I think the you could break down the books into least 6 seasons if done right.

  • David

    Make eragon in the style of Japanese anime.

  • Id love a tv show, but i understand the budget.

  • Doc

    Fox may have more luck getting this right by turning Eragon into a Television series. With the success that the Game of Thrones franchise has been experiencing, Many authors are considering this route over Films and Miniseries productions. Another option would be to try the route the DUNE franchise is experimenting with, referred to as VideoBooks. Using slightly abridged narration, it’s basically like listening to an audiobook with voice acting while watching it all being animated before your eyes. Even Orson Scott Card has expressed an interest in this concept.
    ..

  • Rueben Breaux

    I think a four 2.5 hour movies, ala Lord of the Rings, would be best

  • No. No condensing. No shortening of anything. I don’t want to hear that word again. Any risk of “not having enough time” is likely to happen anyway, no matter how hard even the best people try not to do. Risks are too risky for this crowd. We want to see what we saw in our minds when we read the series.

    If the books can be printed in the way a writer wants the words, so too can whatever form of media be produced. Perfectly. Without flaws. No missing words. No missing scenes. Imagine for a moment of how devastating it would be to find out that the book you wrote is being mass-printed with a few pages missing here and there just because the printing facility didn’t have enough paper?

    Although the television series idea is the best on this list (if budget weren’t too much of a worry), one important thing to note is that not all people have cable or Netflix set up simply because they either find it too expensive or just don’t watch much TV. If the Inheritance Cycle were treated like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with the numbered parts, it would be much loved everywhere and go far: Movie theater > DVD/BlueRay/digital > Libraries (Fans who can’t afford to go to the movies or buy it would be heartbroken — I once was in that tight spot, so I know how they’d feel, and I can’t bear to think of it.) > TV channels having a movie marathon > buying boxed sets of TV shows are often hideously expensive and don’t really allow smaller sets to be bought with a satisfying amount of content in them, resulting in fewer sales than if they were DVD/BlueRays, however cheaper they are in long term.

    Animated movies are often just… too cute. When Saphira needs to look scary and formidable, wet fangs bared and eyes ready to pierce a foe as fast as tooth and claw, you’d have to say she’d win better on a more detailed view of she-looks-so-real-I-feel-terrified-yet-thrilled-knowing-she’s-on-my-side.

    Two more important things against animation in the cycle: In the heat and grittiness of the battle in Surda, how would parents like to see men getting decapitated by man and dragon alike? And then there’s the part when Eragon, after jumping off and landing back on Saphira’s back from the battle of Surda, took off his trousers later to show Roran the immense bruise that went “all the way up to…?” “Yeah.” (P.S. That scene would be funniest with real actors. Nothing beats the real-world combination of empathy, body language, and expressions more than two guys chatting like they were college roommates.)

  • Winry Pendragon

    An anime series would definitely be brilliant, but personally I think the best option for a reboot is to simply redo the movies and make each film a two-part like the original Lord of the Rings, bringing each film to a total time of roughly four hours a piece. There’s simply too much detail, story line, and character development to try to cram the books into four 2.5 hour movies or a television show.

  • Guest

    I really don’t think there’d be enough material for a 13 part season for the first book. Each episode of Daredevil was approx. 50 minutes long, and there was a lot of stuff in there. A lot. Eragon is about 150,000 words long, and it’d therefore mean you’d have to stretch each episode out to fit about 11,500 words of text into 50 mins, or 230 words per minute. You have to remember also that CP is famous for his overly-long and very unnecessary descriptions of the scenery, so if you take that away and replace it with a few establishing shots, your word count is eaten into and you have even less material than you thought you did. No way is there enough material to make episodes that long.

    Daredevil has a several plots interwoven into the story (Matt’s plotline, which covers his day and night work, then you have Fisk’s, the Russians’, the Japanese’, the Chinese, Karen’s, and Urich’s), and there are several scenes in which the conversations can stretch for minutes at a time, which, if replicated in Eragon, would very much kill the pacing, as it’s action skewed, whereas Daredevil is a balance of both action and politics. I said before in one of the previous posts that the IC isn’t a world where politics would be good, simply because YA books, and the adaptations made of them, can’t dwell over-long on politics because the audience, who will mostly be assumed to be within the marketing range the book was (YA in this case) gets bored and stops paying attention. For companies that rely on their audiences binge-watching their shows (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), having the mix of action-politics that Daredevil and GoT have would mean people get bored and stop watching, resulting in loss for these profit driven companies.

    I’m not even going to touch on the issue of CGI expenses, since everyone’s already battling that out in the comments; I’m not going to go about beating a dead horse.

    And this talk of a TV show is all assuming that this is a world where Fox no longer holds the rights (and I’m also going to assume they did a ten-year purchase, and by the time that runs out, I think this petition might be dust in the wind and nothing more than a memory as excitement dies down). If they don’t let them go, then everyone’s stuck, because Fox won’t be looking to redo Eragon. They tried very recently in the bigger picture of things, and they have much more on the table which will turn out profit than a reboot project which may not give them the returns they’d want. Let the movie die. Besides, there are a hundred more things that I’d love to see on the big screen. Eragon’s already had its turn, so let another great book, like the Chaos Walking trilogy, have a shot.

  • Elva

    It would be really cool to make Eragon into an anime-series! Although i doubt that is possible, it would still be awesome.

  • Alice

    A TV series would be the best thing to do, at least then more detail can be added into each season and episode. However, it may cause some competition between Game of Thrones and Eragon should it be released during the time when Game of Thrones is playing and there will have to be enough detail in each chapter and Christopher Paolini will have to agree to a few modifications. A movie is a good idea, but it would have to be three movies per book or something similar and you’d need a VERY experienced director like Peter Jackson, or a lot of stuff is going to be cut out of the plots like it was before. I highly disagree with animations because it will put off adults and attract young children, which the plot and some of the scenes won’t be good for- like the torturing of Nasuada and the scenes with the ra’zac.

    • Shahina Mazumdar

      Exactly.. Competition with Game of Thrones.. I’m afraid about that too. GoT has become a standard for judging projects of this kind.

      • Qto4

        Because Game of Thrones is the only Fantasy show that has proven to be successful with how ambitious and big it is. Of course it’s going to be the standard as it set it.

    • CuriousReader

      I’m pretty sure Game of Thrones would beat out any T.V. show made out of Inheritance Cycle. It wouldn’t be a competiton because the Inheritance Cycle doesn’t have the level of appeal that Game of Thrones does.

      For economic reasons, no studio would ever be willing to do three movies per one book.

    • Thatguybehindyou

      Yeah…. And…
      Sloan….
      Ergh….
      And… Yazuac…..

  • Saphireleine

    Movie or anime. An anime of Inheritance would make me incredibly happy.

    • Shahina Mazumdar

      It totally would. And Japan loves the Inheritance Cycle. They are big fans of the series, so maybe they can help 🙂

      • Qto4

        What exact percentage of Japanese people love this book series?

        I really doubt you know what your talking about.

        • The Inheritance Cycle is very popular in Asia, Japan included.

        • Shahina Mazumdar

          Why don’t you offer a suggestion rather than pointing out flaws in my reasoning? Check out the innumerable anime style fan art on the internet and the multiple cover versions of the Inheritance books in Japan, then you’ll see what I’m talking about, Qto4.

          • Qto4

            Why don’t you offer evidence rather than making baseless assumptions?

  • Sam McDonald

    I feel like this could be done really well as a live action tv series, but then again budget. Personally, I would also love to see it as a animated series of movies, but done in one of those very artsy 2D animation styles. Everything is moving to CG, which is cool, but it’s almost like that very artistic and creative 2D style is moving out.

  • Nicole FullMetal Ramírez

    I say either a TV series would work or do a movie series like they have done for the Harry Potter and lord of the rings series. But if you want to take an animated route then go with anime and not cartoon like. Cartoon- means no blood and making it more pg like. If you do anime, then it can have the blood and cussing and full on battles like the books. Japanese based anime isn’t really meant for kids… Trust me. Anime always hit on subjects that most animated shows won’t touch on. Like divorce, death of one or both parents or even a whole clan…. Rape, losing limbs, poverty, war and the spoils of war, (aka half of FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood…) and anything else in between….

    • That’s why I think a fusion between Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra would be a really great way to tackle the series. I talk more about that in part two.

    • Kevin bloodstoneasiimwe

      I think a TV series would be better because it would give people something to enjoy over a long period of time even if they haven’t read the books but movies might do as well because if the first movie is as close to the book as possible people r gonna be left wondering is their a second movie and might make it to the box office

  • Slayden Mcleod

    I think they should have another go as a movie, but make it like the semi-recent Beowulf movie. Totally CG, but still able to be really creative in terms of world building and capture the more gritty sides and badassery to the books.

    • Problem with Beowulf is that it barely made back its film budget (had the same budget as the Eragon movie but actually brought in less money). I’m not sure if that was lack of audience interest in the film/plot in general, or if people simply didn’t like the style, but either way, it wouldn’t bode well for Eragon being redone in that style.

    • Nolan Holley

      I think one problem with realism styled CG films is they tend to look dated after a number of years – take a look at Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – at one time it was a technological marvel, but doesn’t hold up as well today to most video game cinematics. Even Beowulf lacks some of the lustre it had when it was released.

      I will say though – you could do some REALLY awesome stuff in an Eragon CG movie. Epic scale magic and dragon fights…yes please!

  • TimDrakeFan

    Cutting out the other POVs would be somewhat problematic for some people. Not sure how I feel about it, actually as the Roran parts are some of my least favorite.

    • Aw, I love the Roran parts! He doesn’t get enough love. I’m not sure how it’d work, to be honest, it’s just a thought that came to me while writing the article so I figured I’d throw it in there for others to discuss.

      • TimDrakeFan

        Yeah, I know some people like Roran, but I was just not as interested in him as Eragon.

  • Joseph Lawrason

    I’d say do it in a movie series or put it on tv in seasons

  • Tyler Archambault

    I think an animated/cartoon series that is about 25 episodes about 45-60 minutes a piece should cover everything. Maybe look on YouTube for how they made a cartoon of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Now it wasn’t exactly to the book, but with they way they did it, most of the info from the book was able to be put into the cartoon to tell the whole book.

    • Nolan Holley

      Ahh yes I remember the Redwall series now! I think they might have done Redwall and then Mattimeo, covering two books…but I can’t recall for sure.

      • Tyler Archambault

        They did Martin the Warrior and I thought one more I believe! Also deltora quest was turned into an anime. Those may be good reference points for doing a cartoon of eragon

  • Alice

    A 3 part TV movie, like the 10th Kingdom, that way we don’t get to miss any of the details.

    • That would be along the lines of a miniseries, I think, but do you really think they could do the entire series in just one three part movie series?

  • Gray

    despite its popularity, I would argue that How to Train your Dragon is a bad example. It might have been a decent movie, but it was a terrible adaptation. It took all the interesting bits from the books and replaced it the the same old boring Hollywood standards – not unlike what happened in the previous Eragon film. I think Eragon could work as an animated film, but it would definitely have to avoid doing what HTTYD did, otherwise it’d just be the same story all over.

    • I haven’t read the books, but I’ve heard that it was “very loosely based on”. While referencing HTTYD, I was more discussing the way that dragons, Riders, and the story of the film was handled. I think the movie was great, but I also see where you’re coming from.

  • Jess

    I think an animated series would work well instead. It might be cheaper due to all of the magical creatures and the magic itself (but then I’m not in the world of animation and how much CGI costs vs 2D). Plus, as mentioned the 2 Avatar series were amazing, and if we’re talking about adaptations into a cartoon series, “The Twelve Kingdoms” by Fuyumi Ono was done pretty well.

    • I talk about anime in part two, and I’d LOVE to see it as one. I’m a huge Avatar/Korra fan, so I’d die a little if it was ever made into an animated series or anime.

  • John McClymond

    Movie!

  • MasterBrom

    I would love to see a TV series like Game of Thrones, there is more than enough source material for 5 to 7 seasons of 10 episodes. The only problem is going to be Saphira, she is a major character and has to appear most of the time, so the cost of CGI will be the the major factor. In Game of Thrones the dragons do not appear very much, probably only a few minutes in the last 4 seasons, though there is going to have to be a big scene at the end of this season.

    • Nolan Holley

      That’s a good point. From what I understand, GoT has an entire team dedicated to the dragon production including animators and animatronic specialists (they used a giant crane that shoots fire to film some of the scenes) and so far the dragons have gotten very little screen time overall.

      • Nemo

        well to bring good quality CGI creature to a screen you pay 5000 dollars for 1 second of on screen time

        • Bladden Bushaw

          Damn. So if she has an appearance of half the tv scenes. That’ll be one hell of a tv show. Best bet is to fix the fuck up from 1st movie and start from scratch

        • I’m sure it’s expensive, but that expensive? Tech has come a long way and continues to advance quickly. I wouldn’t entirely rule it out.

          • Nemo

            yes tech has come a long way and yes you can get cheaper CGI but quality will be low.Saphira in first movie was on scene for around 17 minutes and she cost around 5 millions.

      • I haven’t read the books but the first few episodes of this season seem to hint that we’ll be seeing a lot of the dragons going forward. Will be interesting to see how much screen time they get. That would be the real test of whether or not a series like Inheritance could survive on a TV show budget.

    • Yeah, CGI costs would be killer. If the right studio picked it up (Netflix or HBO, as I talked about in the article), they might be able to pull it off.