‘The Riftwar Cycle’: TV Series Adaptation Of Fantasy Books In Works At Newly Launched Six Studios

Hannah Friedman Jacob Pinion Nick Bernardone
(L-R) Hannah Friedman, Jacob Pinion and Nick Bernardone Courtesy of Chris Day

EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Huang and Carl Choi, entrepreneurs and lifelong fans of comic book, fantasy/sci-fi, and horror storytelling, have formed Six Studios as a genre-focused content company. In its first major content move, the company has acquired rights to the first six books in Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ international bestselling fantasy book series The Riftwar Cycle for television. Writers Hannah Friedman (Untitled Pixar Feature, Disney+’s Willow, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Unt. Doug Liman Feature), Jacob Pinion (Fear the Walking Dead, Unt. Doug Liman Feature) and Nick Bernardone (Fear the Walking Dead, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) are attached to adapt the books for a potential series.

The Riftwar Saga series, considered one of the best known pieces of fantasy IP not yet adapted for the screen, started with the 1982 publication of Feist’s Magician, the first of what now spans more than 30 books and short stories. They have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Riftwar describes a multiverse of worlds that interact through tears in the fabric of spacetime called rifts. The first trilogy, titled The Riftwar Saga, written by Feist, centers on a talented, teenage magician of humble origins, named Pug, on a journey to master his craft and defend his world of Midkemia. The remaining books, The Empire Trilogy, written together by Feist and Wurts, focus on Mara, a girl of noble birth who is thrust into a dangerous power struggle when her family is assassinated. She must grow fast and survive by seizing power through the ranks of the brutal empire that rules her world of Kelewan. A rift sets Midkemia and Kelewan, and Pug and Mara, on a collision course.

BCDF Pictures previously acquired rights to the first novel, Magician, and commissioned Atomic Blonde screenwriter Kurt Johnstad to pen a TV script. The deal with Huang and Choi’s Six Studios marks the first time that the first six books, which combine the fantasy worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan, have been acquired together for development.

Choi and Huang will produce through Six Studios. Producers and former Lucasfilm executives Kiri Hart (Soul, Rogue One) and Stephen Feder (Solo, Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster) will serve as consultants on the series, with additional creative team hires expected in the coming weeks.

“I fell in love with The Riftwar Cycle from the very first chapter, and it’s been a lifelong dream to see Raymond and Janny’s extraordinary worlds come to life onscreen,” said Huang. “I am thrilled that Carl and I have been entrusted to make the dream come true and do justice to this seminal work in the fantasy canon.”

Added Choi, “Between Hannah, Jacob, Nick, Kiri and Stephen, we have an incomparable dream team to bring both sides of the beloved Riftwar Cycle together and embrace the brilliant stories and characters that Raymond and Janny have created.”

Taiwan-based Huang co-founded Taiwan-based Machi Xcelsior Studios and just completed the feature Till We Meet Again for Disney+ in Asia.

Los Angeles-based Choi is the founder of experiential studio The Great Company (GreatCo), which produces interactive experiences for brands such as Marvel Studios, HBO Max, The Smithsonian, Foot Locker and PepsiCo.

“Jeff and Carl have a clear vision for bringing The Riftwar Cycle to the screen in a way that stays true to our hero and heroine’s plight and the intersecting cultures that are at the heart of these books,” said Feist and Wurts. “We’re very excited to partner with Carl, Jeff and the talented creative team they have assembled for this project.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2022/02/the-riftwar-cycle-fantasy-books-television-writers-hannah-friedman-jacob-pinion-nick-bernardone-1234923198/