The world of Ursula Le Guin's acclaimed "Earthsea" fantasy book franchise is about to make the leap from page to screen, with Oscar-nominated producer Jennifer Fox (Nightcrawler, Michael Clayton) and A24 looking to develop the novels for television. Fox is set to produce, with A24 serving as the studio as well as financing the project – which is expected to be shopped to broadcasters, cable networks, and streaming services soon.
"Ursula Le Guin is a literary legend with a huge fan base and her work has been translated into practically every written language on the globe. She is second only to Tolkien in influence in this genre, and before she died last year, she agreed to put her most beloved work in my hands. This project is, therefore, a sacred trust and priority for me as well as an opportunity to create an iconic piece of American culture."
– Jennifer Fox
Having optioned the books in 2018, Fox received Le Guin's blessing to adapt the novels as a series of films before her passing (since that time, the plan was retooled towards television). Interestingly enough, this will be the second go at television for "Earthsea": a miniseries based on the book series aired on Sci-Fi Channel in 2004, sporting a teleplay co-written by none-other-than Le Guin.
"Ursula long hoped to see an adaptation of Earthsea that represented a collaboration between her ideas and words and the visual storytelling of others. I feel very fortunate that, with Jennifer Fox and A24, we have a bedrock of producing and development experience that can bring the sweeping narrative and moral truths of my mother's work to screen."
– Theo Downes-Le Guin
Le Guin's "Earthsea" series began in 1968 with A Wizard of Earthsea, published by Parnassus Press. The series would go on to include The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, and The Other Wind; as well several short stories. The series concluded with the publication of "Firelight" in Paris Review in Summer 2018. Set in a society consisting made up of hundreds of islands, magic is a source of power both used and abused. The franchise's early embrace of diverse characters and appreciation for the the mankind-nature dynamic set it apart from other works at the time and proved to be a work ahead of its time.
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.