Netflix is set to visit Redwall Abbey. The streaming service has announced that it’s struck a deal with Penguin Random House to adapt Brian Jacques’ long-running children’s fantasy Redwall series, about the adventures of generations of anthropomorphic animals as they fight against evil to protect their home.
Jacques began publishing the series in 1986, and wrote 22 novels in all, beginning with Redwall, and ending with The Rogue Crew, which was published posthumously in 2011.
The sprawling series is largely set around Redwall Abbey and Mossflower Woods, a world where animals such as badgers, hares, mice, moles, and otters live in a pastoral existence, and strike out on any number of adventures to save or protect their homes, often fighting against wild cats, rats, snakes, and other predators who try and enact a variety of evil plans. The books are also well-known for their extensive descriptions of feasts.
Each installment of the series is widely spaced out, taking place across the world’s history—it’s not uncommon for one character to appear in a book, only to be mentioned as a historical figure in another. Three of the novels, Lord Brocktree, Martin the Warrior, and Mossflower feature a central hero, Martin, a mouse warrior who helps build Redwall Abbey early in the world’s history.
Big news! The creator of Over The Garden Wall is working on a Redwall adaptation for Netflix! I'm already preparing myself for the feast scenes. pic.twitter.com/6bie3CwpqI
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) February 10, 2021
According to Deadline, Netflix will begin with an animated film, which is currently underway with Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall/Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio) writing the screenplay. After that, the streaming service will work on a television series based on the character Martin the Warrior.
This isn’t the first time that Jacques’ books have been adapted: An international team produced a series based on Redwall, Mattimeo, and Martin the Warrior in 1999, which aired in Canada, and later in the US. That series ran for 39 episodes, and while a fourth season was in the works at one point, it never materialized.
Netflix has been picking up a number of well-known properties in the last couple of years as it builds out its catalog of original content—something that gives viewers an incentive to subscribe. Properties like The Witcher, The Sandman, Shadow and Bone, and others, have the potential not only for Netflix to stand up against big, prestige shows, but open the door to multiple offerings. Redwall, with 22 novels told over a long period of time, is a ripe opportunity for that sort of franchise-building, and would appeal to a younger demographic, giving the streaming service a property for a huge swath of viewers.
Netflix hasn’t announced a release date or cast for the project.