Disney may be mad for Merlin, as it is being reported today that the studio could potentially tap Ridley Scott to direct a film adaptation of T.A. Barron's The Merlin Saga.
According to Variety, Scott's production company, Scott Free, is in negotiations to produce the film as well. The deal isn't set in stone yet, but if it goes through, it will be the second film on the Disney slate that would feature the most famous wizard of all time -- the other being a live-action adaptation of Disney's animated classic The Sword in the Stone.
Barron's book series is immense, and could easily spawn multiple films, though only the one is being reported about at the moment. There are over 11 books in the story (and one encyclopedia of its lore), which were published between 1996 and 2011. Most of the series follows Merlin in the years before he becomes intertwined with King Arthur and company.
Interestingly, the script for this adaptation would be written by none other than Philippa Boyens -- one of the most important masterminds behind the adaptations of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as the co-writer of Peter Jackson's King Kong. Boyens brings an immense wealth of fantasy experience with her, so her involvement suggests great things if the deal goes through.
Even though Merlin is the most famous wizard in the literary canon (Harry Potter characters continually refer to him), he has yet to receive a live-action film that is truly worthy of him. The animated Disney character is fantastic, and Sam Neill did a great job in the NBC television movie many years ago, but Merlin is too often caught up in big-screen Arthurian politics to get much development of his own. Perhaps this adaptation will be the right opportunity to showcase a big-screen Merlin for the ages.