Ridley Scott Reportedly to Begin Filming ‘Merlin Saga’ for Disney This Fall

The Martian and Alien: Covenant director Ridley Scott is next expected to helm Disney’s Merlin Saga in the fall, HN Entertainment reports.

Last Janaury, when Scott was first reported to be in talks, the 81-year-old filmmaker was negotiating to produce through his Scott Free production company with Gil Netter (Eragon, Life of Pi). Philippa Boyens, co-writer on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, penned the screenplay.

Barron’s Lost Years of Merlin series focuses on the famed wizard before his appearance in Arthurian legend as mentor to King Arthur.

Merlin Book 1
(Photo: Puffin Books)

According to HN Entertainment, the project will move forward with the working title The Lost Years, suggesting its final title could be Merlin: The Lost Years. In addition to news of its planned fall production start, HN Entertainment published character breakdowns:

EMRYS (MALE LEAD 12-15). Caucasian. The boy who would become the legendary wizard Merlin. Emotionally erratic. Eccentric. Prone to wild mood swings. Brilliant. Sometimes, he is calm and controlled, thoughtful, with a hint of mad whimsy.

BRANWEN (FEMALE LEAD 30-40): Caucasian. Emrys’ mother.

RHIANNON (FEMALE LEAD 12-20): Open to any ethnicity. Seeks Emrys’ assistance in stopping a terrible blight which is now beginning to kill the forest she lives in.

SHIM (MALE LEAD 20-40): Open to any ethnicity. A dwarf-sized giant, befriend Emrys.

RHITA GAWR (FEMALE LEAD 30-50): Open to any ethnicity. An evil spirit who wants to control Fincayra before moving on to Earth. Enemy to Emrys, the film’s villain.

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Five books were published between 1996 and 2000, followed by the Great Tree of Avalon trilogy between 2004 and 2007 and the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy between 2008 and 2010. A companion book, The Book of Magic, was released in 2011.

Disney is also translating another young adult novel series to screen in Artemis Fowl, drawing from Eoin Colfer’s eight-novel sci-fi fantasy series. That film, out August 9, is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor) and stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench.