Harry Potter, The Hobbit and now … Dragonriders Of Pern? On an endless search to find big-scale fantasy books that lend themselves to global franchises, Warner Bros has optioned the Pern book series from the estate of American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. There is a lot to work with here, with 22 volumes that make it one of the biggest selling sci-fi series ever. The first book was published in 1968, and the focus is on an elite group of warriors who take to the skies on the backs of giant, fire-breathing dragons with telepathic powers. They try to save the exotic planet of Pern from a terrifying airborne menace — a rain of deadly spores that comes with the orbit of the Red Star.
The deal was spearheaded by Warner Bros exec Drew Crevello, who joined the studio only a couple of months ago after writing for two years. He previously had been in production at Fox as a VP, where he worked on the X-Men franchise pics. Warners’ Julia Spiro also is working on the project. The series option deal comes as the studio searches keenly for another big franchise; this one could launch an entire merchandising and licensing product line. Just as important, it could be the fantasy the studio craves after Warner Bros rode Harry Potter into The Hobbit, which winds down later this year as Peter Jackson completes the final installment of the trilogy with The Battle Of The Five Armies, complete with its own fire-breathing dragon Smaug.