At long last, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle is getting the adaptation it deserves. Deadline has reported that A24 and producer Jennifer Fox will be adaptating the iconic series for TV, and unlike previous adaptations, this one actually has the author’s blessing.
“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,” Fox told Deadline. “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.”
Previously, the Earthsea Cycle was made into a Studio Ghibli film and a Sci-Fi channel mini-series, both of which, uh, left something to be desired, to say the least.
“Both the American and the Japanese film-makers treated these books as mines for names and a few concepts, taking bits and pieces out of context, and replacing the story/ies with an entirely different plot, lacking in coherence and consistency,” Le Guin wrote on her blog. “I wonder at the disrespect shown not only to the books but to their readers.”
The author criticized both adaptations for white-washing the books (Earthsea famously features a POC cast), adding that the anime was “preachy” and morally confused, and the mini-series “a generic McMagic movie with a meaningless plot based on sex and violence.”
This seems unlikely to happen with A24, a studio that has consistently put out original, groundbreaking, and critically acclaimed content made by diverse creators. And rest assured, the late author’s son Theo thinks so as well.
“Ursula long hoped to see an adaptation of Earthsea that represented a collaboration between her ideas and words and the visual storytelling of others,” Downes-Le Guin told Deadline. “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.”
It’s too early for news of casting, production, or a release date, but we’ll update this page when those details come out.