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SYFY WIRE Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda explains why The Kingkiller Chronicle is a 'code that's waiting to be cracked'

By Matthew Jackson

Back in 2017, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda signed on to an ambitious, multi-platform adaptation of Patrick Rothfuss' bestselling fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicle that quickly became one of the most-anticipated genre projects in development. The initial plan was to craft a kind of prequel TV series at Showtime, along with feature films from Lionsgate and perhaps even a video game, with Miranda serving as an executive producer on the endeavor and even composing music. Then Showtime backed away, Miranda got busy with other things, and the project seemed to fade just a bit from public attention. 

So, what happened? In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of his return for the second season of His Dark Materials, Miranda confirmed that Kingkiller Chronicle is still on his mind, but the adaptation is "a code that's waiting to be cracked." To explain why he feels that way, he used the His Dark Materials adaptation -- itself based on Philip Pullman's bestselling fantasy series of the same name -- as an example. 

"I've gained new perspective on it, having been able to be a part of this other fantasy franchise and seeing how, 'Oh man, we did eight hours of story and we still didn't get all of the first book in there. What hope does a movie have?!' The answer is none," Miranda said. "The real answer is a director and a script with a vision, that is a different thing [than the book] because you can't get all of Pat's incredible book into one movie, and I don't know if you can get it into one series. But it is an incredible world worth exploring, but it hasn't been cracked yet."

The Kingkiller Chronicle, which launched with Rothfuss' novel The Name of the Wind in 2007, tells the story of Kvothe, the orphaned child of traveling performers who becomes first a street thief, then an aspiring magician and bard, then a legendary figure known for his prodigious skill as both a musician and a wizard. Like most epic fantasy, the series involves a complex mythology, magic system, and invented world, but adapting the story is made even more complicated due to its structure. The Kingkiller Chronicle is so named because Kvothe is recounting much of the story to a Chronicler who's writing it all down. That means a frame story, plus occasional time jumps and sidetracks, are all incorporated into the narrative, which helps explain why the original plan was for this to be a multi-platform adaptation rather than a single film, film trilogy, or even TV series. 

Miranda's also still quite busy with other projects. In addition to His Dark Materials, he's also at work on two movie musicals, including a project at Sony and a new adaptation of The Little Mermaid at Disney, so it may be a little while before Kingkiller Chronicle moves back into a more active phase. At least we know it's still developing.