DreamWorks Animation has acquired rights to Cressida Cowell’s new fantasy novel series The Wizards Of Once, the first installment of which will bow in the fall. The deal keeps Cowell in business with DWA, which adapted her 12-book How To Train Your Dragon series into two successful movies with How To Train Your Dragon 3 in production ahead of its March 1, 2019 release date.
The deal for the potential new franchise was announced by new DreamWorks Feature Animation Group president Chris deFaria, the former president of animation and innovative technology at Warner Bros who took over the reins of DWA’s film biz in January under new owner NBCUniversal.
The first installment of The Wizards Of Once will be released through Hodder Children’s Books in the UK; and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the U.S. The series is set in a world of magic where wizards and warriors collide in a thrilling and enchanting adventure. According to its U.S. publisher, the series centers on Xar, a 12-year-old wizard prince without magic, and Wish, a 12-year-old warrior princess with a magical object in a world where magic is reviled and illegal. When they collide in the wildwood on the trail of a deadly (and thought to be extinct) witch, it’s the start of a grand adventure that just might change the fabric of their world.
“Cressida is part of the DreamWorks family and with The Wizards Of Once she once again anchors a new franchise for us,” deFaria said in announcing the deal. “The story is packed with the perfect elements to create a unique magical universe inhabited by adventurous, funny and memorable characters that will enthrall generations to come. We are honored to have another opportunity to partner with this amazingly creative author.”
The Wizard Of Once pickup comes a couple weeks after another DWA project, the musical Larrikins featuring Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Naomi Watts, Rose Byrne and Ben Mendelsohn, was shut down. That came after Croods 2 was also scrapped in November.
But the studio is coming off the global hit Trolls, which is getting a sequel for April 2020, and it has The Boss Baby hitting theaters tomorrow via Fox.
Cowell is repped by WME, David Higham Associates Ltd and attorney David Colden.