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!
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.
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?
Animated 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!