Neil Gaiman will adapt the Gormenghast novels for TV with Akiva Goldsman

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Apr 3, 2018

Sandman creator Neil Gaiman is joining forces with veteran screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (I, Robot; I Am Legend) to bring Mervyn Peake's three Gormenghast novels to television, reports Deadline.

However, the news that Gaiman was interested in adapting Peake's works goes back as far as 2015. The book trilogy, published between 1946 and 1959, consists of Titus GroanGormenghast, and Titus Alone. While his writing has often been compared to that of J.R.R. Tolkien, Peake (who passed away in 1968 at the age of 57) drew more of an inspiration from classic English authors like Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Gormenghast fantasy series revolves around the inhabitants of Gormenghast Castle — ancient and in desperate need of repair. Out of touch with a changing world, the castle's Groan dynasty — the saga's royals — spends its time performing antiquated rituals as a scheming kitchen boy named Steerpike kicks off plans to overthrow them. By the sound of things, this show could become the next Game of Thrones

“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels,” said Gaiman, per Deadline. “They were crafted by a master, who was also an artist, and they take us to an ancient castle as big as a city, with heroes and villains and people larger than life that are impossible to forget. There is a reason why there were two trilogies that lovers of the fantasy genre embraced in the Sixties: Lord of the Rings, and the Gormenghast books.”

Gaiman's involvement with the upcoming show marks his second collaboration with production company FremantleMedia, which currently produces Starz's adaptation of the author's own book, American Gods. Gaiman will next see his Good Omens (which he wrote with Terry Pratchett) come to Amazon next year as a six-part miniseries.

As for Goldsman, it will mark his third recent involvement with a high-profile adaptation. In the last few months alone, Goldsman has become attached to overseeing writers' rooms for an Ology cinematic universe at Paramount as well as one for Rob Liefeld's Extreme Universe at Netflix

This is the fifth media adaptation of the books, but only the second one for television; the first three were done via radio productions. The first TV version came in 2000 when the BBC and PBS co-produced a miniseries based on the first two books, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee. Another take on the first two novels also found a way to the stage more recently in 2014 at the Chrysalis Theatre in Milton Keynes.

Barry Spikings (The Deer Hunter) and David Stern (Howards End) are confirmed as executive producers while a search for a showrunner is still underway.