Fox stumbled with Eragon and the mistakes cost them a franchise. Before we dive deeper into these mistakes and how those mistakes led to the demise of the film, we’re going to explore the more important question: If the Eragon movie is rebooted, what does Fox need to do to get it right?
We recently asked fans on Facebook what they think needs to be done to get it right. We’re coupling some of the best responses with ideas and analysis of our own.
Reboot the series
It’s been nearly a decade since the Eragon movie was released. Since then, the final two books in the Cycle hit store shelves (and the series as a whole expanded from a trilogy to a cycle), revealing just how far the film strayed from the overall plot. It isn’t hard to imagine that future films would have been hard, if not impossible, to produce, given how drastic the differences were and how those changes would have majorly affected the film series’ plot.
In addition to a derailed plot, the film’s cast has aged and moved on. These actors have forged new paths and found success elsewhere. It’s very unlikely any of them would consider revisiting the project. It’s also hard to ignore the cast’s contribution to the film’s demise. There’s no denying that each of the film’s actors are incredibly talented individuals, but many of them simply did not fit the character they were cast to portray, leading to issues in the film.
Audiences have moved on, too. Ten years later, it’s unlikely that many moviegoers would remember Eragon. Picking up where it left off would confuse those who watch the movie, and judging by the film’s reviews, it wouldn’t please many either.
That leaves us with one option: a full reboot. What would this encompass? An entirely new screenplay, cast, and production crew. They would be starting from the ground up, offering them an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past and create a film beloved by fans and a new audience.
Get Christopher involved
It’s pretty clear that Christopher wasn’t consulted as closely as he needed to be, or even at all, during production. Many mistakes could have been avoided, including plot deviations that would have a substantial impact on future films. No one knows the universe better than Christopher, and leaving that resource untapped was a major mistake.
Films such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Fault in Our Stars worked closely with their authors to ensure that the story and the world were successfully translated to the big screen. When changes were needed, the author was consulted. In Fault’s case, the author was invited to live on set during filming.
How can they get Christopher more involved? There are a few ways:
- Let Christopher write the script. Before embarking on his upcoming scifi novel, Christopher wrote a screenplay for a science fiction movie. He has the know-how and experience to tackle such a project, and he knows the world better than anyone else. This would ensure that the core elements of the book remain the same, that the plot and characters translate well, and that any necessary changes work go over well with the audience and aid the film’s overall plot.
- Consult with him every step of the way, from screenplay writing to casting and set design. Get his blessing on changes, ask for his input, and bounce ideas off of him. Pick his brain on the intricacies of the world. Take advantage of that resource!
- Invite Christopher to visit or live on set. Having him around for suggestions and ideas would certainly help the production stay true to the series.
Assemble a team passionate about the story, characters, and world
It is critical to have a writer, producer, and director who are passionate about the work they are adapting. Marvel films, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Game of Thrones all have this in common, and each has succeeded in translating the series to the big screen.
Passion for the source material will resonate with readers, moviegoers, and ultimately lend itself to a powerful, enjoyable, and successful film. It isn’t hard to fall in love with Alagaësia, its inhabitants, and the story Christopher created, and we know the right team is out there for this adaptation.
Hire a director and writer with experience in bringing a book world to life
The first film’s director, Stefan Fangmeier, had never directed a film. He is a talented visual effects artist, having spent many years at Industrial Light and Magic, the studio founded to do the CGI for the Star Wars films, and while the film required heavy CGI, it didn’t require a CGI wiz at the helm. We believe his lack of experience behind the camera negatively impacted the film. An epic fantasy film with a massive budget should be trusted to a director experienced with bringing such a world to life.
Don’t use a large budget as a crutch
Films do not need mega-budgets to be successful. Sure, a large war chest of cash will allow the production crew more freedom in exploring big ideas, but sometimes a large budget can get out of hand. Consider Transformers: the movies have a massive budget, and while they have found commercial appeal, the films’ quality is regularly panned by critics and audiences. Money is not an essential element in the creation of a successful film, but it certainly helps
Don’t stray far from the books
The unfortunate reality of book-to-movie adaptations is that changes need to be made. In some cases, events in a novel may not translate well to the big scene. We’ve seen such changes made to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and others. Most of these changes had the blessing of the authors, and in all of our examples (with the exception of Lord of the Rings, for obvious reasons), the authors worked closely with the production team to assist with those changes.
Changes are inevitable, but good intentions, informed decisions, and proper care can help ensure that these changes stay true to the series and don’t detract from the heart of the story.
Look at the big picture
This one seems a bit obvious, but we’re left wondering if the team behind the original Eragon film read and understood Eldest before writing the screenplay. Significant changes were made that would have affected the story in future films, and in some cases, would have entirely prevented or ruined major plot points, including the final battle, Roran’s story, the lack of dwarves and elves, Angela’s role, and missed characters such as Orik and Solembum. Christopher should have been consulted on future plotlines.
Should the franchise be rebooted, the production team doesn’t need to worry about the unknown. The series is finished and we’re sure Christopher would be eager to answer any questions the team behind a film had to ask.
By looking ahead, planning for long-term plotlines, and understanding the implications of seemingly minor plot points, the team will enjoy a story that flows and a happy fan community.
Consider splitting the books into more than four films
The decision to split final books such as Mockingjay, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Allegiance were met with skepticism and anger by fans. Mockingjay part one and Deathly Hallows part one were both plagued by a sense of a slow, unfulfilled plot – something audiences and critics immediately noticed.
However, there may simply be too much plot within the four books to successfully tell the story in just four movies. Five, or even six, films may be required to tell the stories in Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance, and that’s okay. To do this successfully, however, will require care to ensure that each film feels like a full movie in its own right and maintains proper pacing. By carefully analyzing the need for this change and avoiding decisions solely based on profit, Fox may be able to successfully split one or more books into multiple movies, allowing for a better-paced franchise.
Part two of our article will arrive tomorrow! Let us know in the comments what else you think Fox needs to do to get the movie right!