Ever since The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter began their respective massive box-office runs in 2001, producers have been on the lookout for popular fantasy novels with potential for both big- and small-screen adaptation. Among the most successful to join that group has been TV juggernaut Game of Thrones, but the group also includes The Chronicles of Narnia, Shannara, The Sword of Truth, His Dark Materials and more, all with varying degrees of success.
As many as we've already seen, though, there are still plenty more fantasy sagas to adapt, and now we can add one more to the list of franchises in development: Xanth.
Variety reports that the series of more than three dozen novels by author Piers Anthony is now in development at SP Entertainment Group, where producer Steven Paul (Ghost in the Shell) hopes to turn it into both a film and a television series. There are no major details about the project yet other than an announcement, but apparently we can expect to hear more on the creative team soon.
Xanth refers to the fictional fantasy realm in which all of the often loosely connected novels in the series take place. It is populated by all manner of classic fantasy creatures, but also by humans, all imbued (if not, they get exiled) with a unique magical ability called a "talent." Some of these talents grow so powerful that their holders become full-fledged magicians, creating some of the most important characters in Xanth. Like the Discworld novels of the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett, the Xanth books are known for merging many fantasy conceits with comedy, though Xanth is not as critically revered, as recent re-evaluations of the series have shown.
Still, Xanth is enduringly popular, and with the 41st book in the series out later this month (with two more already announced) it's clear that Anthony's readers have not lost their appetite his world. What remains to be seen, however, is how far that appetite extends beyond loyal Xanth readers.
What do you think? Will the Xanth series make the leap from beloved fantasy books to genre franchise powerhouse?