Disney's Merlin Lands Love and Monsters Helmer

The legend of King Arthur's Merlin is about to be told for a new generation — and now we know who will be spearheading the project. It was recently announced that Love and Monsters' Michael Matthews will be directing Merlin, an upcoming adaptation by Disney based on the books by T.A. Barron. Matthews will be replacing Ridley Scott, who had been attached to direct the project as early as 2018, when it was previously titled The Merlin Saga. Reports indicated that Scott departed the project "due to his busy schedule." The film is being produced by Gil Netter (Flora & Ulysses, The Blind Side), with a new script from Chris Weitz (Pinocchio, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). 

The Merlin film would follow the origin story of a young Merlin who would go on to become the mentor of the classic literary character King Arthur. Barron has penned twelve books within the Merlin Saga since 1996, which were packaged as the five-book The Lost Years of Merlin epic, the Merlin's Dragons trilogy, the Great Tree of Avalon trilogy, the Book of Magic companion, and the recently-released Giant prequel.

"There are two core ideas in the Merlin books that resonate with people around the world: the magic in every person and the inspiration of nature," Barron recently explained to Westword.com. "The whole series begins when a lone boy washes ashore, half-drowned and barely alive, with no memory at all of his own identity. He doesn't even know his own name! That he even survives this terrible day is a miracle. And that he might someday become the greatest wizard of all time, the celebrated fellow we call Merlin, is an even bigger miracle. Beyond the story itself, all of that is a powerful metaphor for the hidden potential in every person. I really believe that everyone has some special magic down inside. Even if they haven't yet discovered that magic, it's there. And that's true regardless of age, gender, background or any other description. So everyone has the potential to find that magic... and to use it to help themselves and the world."

"The other core idea is the enduring power of nature," Barron continued. "Nature gives us sustenance as well as healing and renewal and inspiration. Just take a look at our mountains here in Colorado, and how can anyone not feel inspired? That's why I make sure that nature is more than just the setting for my books - it's actually one of the characters. I want the places in my books, even if they're imaginary, to feel utterly real for a smart reader. And I also want to convey the environment's beauty and wonder and inspiration."

An adaptation of The Merlin Saga has been in the works in some capacity since 2015, with Philippa Boyens (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) previously penning the script.

"This whole movie experience is, let me tell you, one AMAZING journey," Barron said of developing the movie on his website. "With a plot even more bizarre than one of my fantasy novels. But here's the big news: The film is making great progress... with fabulous people who are bringing it to life. And I'm very glad to say they are staying true to the core values and key elements of the books. So I'm very excited about what lies ahead!"

What do you think of Michael Matthews directing Disney's Merlin? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

h/t: Deadline