EXCLUSIVE: Jumanji producer Radar Pictures is adapting Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar literary universe for television.
The company, founded by Interscope Records co-founder Ted Field, who is an exec producer on Amazon’s The Wheel of Time series, has acquired the small screen rights to the books, which number 58 over more than 30 years.
Kit Williamson, who created Netflix’s LGBTQ comedy series EastSiders, is adapting with author Brittany Cavallaro, who wrote the Charlotte Holmes series of books. The pair bonded over the books in school and will now write and produce the TV adaptation.
The series will be executive produced by Field, who has produced films including the Jumanji franchise, the Riddick franchise, Amityville Horror and The Last Samurai. Anthony Tringali, Maria Frisk and Michael Napoliello will produce for Radar.
The first season will be adapted from the Last Herald-Mage trilogy, comprising of Magic’s Pawn, which was first published in 1989, Magic’s Price and Magic’s Promise.
The series centers around openly gay heroic protagonist Vanyel, the persecuted and abused son of a Valdemaran noble, who finds acceptance at Haven when he is Chosen by the Companion Yfandes. Companions like Yfandes are magical horse-like beings with the power to bond with their Chosen and trigger the potential for psychic abilities—and magic.
But Vanyel discovers other things about himself at Haven as well. He discovers love in an unexpected place, and loses it, and nearly his own life. With Yfandes and his aunt, Herald Savil, he will travel to the home of the mysterious Hawkbrothers in search of healing and training and will grow from a troubled and heartbroken Trainee to become the most powerful Herald-Mage in the history of Valdemar—and the one hope for Valdemar against an implacable foe bent on eradicating magic from the Kingdom entirely.
Lackey said, “I have hoped for decades that The Last Herald-Mage would be adapted for television. Now that Radar has optioned the trilogy, I am nearly breathless with excitement. I could not have chosen a better organization to take my work in hand, and Kit and Bri, the producers, absolutely know both their stuff and the material. I love the fact that this is going to be a longform series: episodic TV gives the story all the room it needs. I hope our fans will be as thrilled to see their favorite characters come to life as I am.”
“Vanyel in The Last Herald Mage series was one of the first gay characters I encountered, and as a recently out 16-year-old I can’t stress enough the impact that these books had on me. The Valdemar series was far ahead of its time in the portrayal of LGBTQ characters, and Lackey’s writing afforded them a level of depth and complexity that is still very rare, especially in genre storytelling,” said Williamson.
“It’s an absolute dream to be adapting the Valdemar books alongside Radar Pictures and Kit Williamson. Twenty years ago, Kit and I became friends at boarding school, and bonded over our love for Mercedes Lackey’s work, and we’re so excited to begin the process of bringing it to the screen,” Cavallaro added.
Radar partner Michael Napoliello said, “Radar is honored to bring this series to life for its many fans.”
Radar Pictures is repped by United Talent Agency. Kit Williamson and Brittany Cavallaro are repped by Buchwald, and Mercedes Lackey is repped by Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency.