Michael Matthews has been hired to direct Disney’s Merlin, an adaptation of T.A. Barron‘s series of novels revolving around King Arthur’s wizardry mentor. The film will be live-action and is currently being made for a theatrical release, although things could quickly change as the project is only in early development at this time.
The latest draft has been penned by Chris Weitz, who has previously worked with Disney on Cinderella and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Gill Netter is producing.
Barron’s book series follow the origin story of a young Merlin who would go on to become the mentor of the classic literary character King Arthur. While Arthur has been the subject of several films, Merlin has been relegated to the smaller screen, with the NBC miniseries starring Sam Neill his most notable outing.
So this is an opportunity for Disney to develop a potential franchise focusing on a character with a lot of lore surrounding him, who himself hasn’t been the subject of many big projects. It’s easy to see why this is an attractive project for them.
Matthews previously directed Love And Monsters, last year’s well-liked adventure film starring Dylan O’Brien, and that film’s YA appeal surely helped him get the gig here. He also previously helmed Five Fingers For Marseille, a neo-western thriller that won a number of awards at the 14th Africa Movie Academy Awards.
We’ll wait and see how Merlin develops. Projects like this at big studios with a lot on their plate can often gestate for a while if they’re not the highest priority. Matthews would know about this well, as Love And Monsters had lingered in development since 2012 before finally picking up steam in the last few years and arriving in 2020.