Paramount Scoops up Major Title After Disney Drops the Ball

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Paramount Pictures will now be the home for a film adaptation of Children of Blood and Bone. The acclaimed fantasy novel by Tomi Adeyemi was optioned by Disney and Lucasfilm years ago, but the company let those rights lapse in 2021. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount now has big plans for the franchise.

Children of Blood and Bone was published in 2018, and was originally optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures. That studio was then acquired by Disney, which handed the project over to Lucasfilm in the hopes of diversifying its slate of sci-fi and fantasy adaptations aside from Star Wars and other familiar franchises. Sources close to the project now say that those plans changed when The Mandalorian became a smash hit, and executives decided to let the rights lapse while putting more resources into shows like The Book of Boba Fett and the new Indiana Jones movie. The same insiders say that Paramount is eager to pick up the slack — and Adeyemi is excited for the new working arrangement.

Children of Blood and Bone was published in 2018, and was the first in a planned trilogy that still has one more installment on the way. It describes a rich fantasy setting inspired by West African mythology, and Lucasfilm reportedly intended to build out this “universe” into a grand franchise. Now, in addition to working on the third novel, Adeyemi is writing the script for the film adaptation herself. She will also be an executive producer.  

It reportedly took a couple of months for other studios to bid on this project, and Paramount finally won in early January. The adaptation will keep its original producers from the work that was done at Lucasfilm, but now Adeyemi will write the screenplay herself and will have greater creative influence in general.

Children of Blood and Bone was an unfortunate victim of the merger between 20th Century Studios and Disney. Fox reportedly acquired the rights to the adaptation in 2017, but when Disney took over it was apparently lost in the shuffle for a while. Insiders said that Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy took a personal interest in the project, which helped keep it afloat for a while.

Under Kennedy, director Rick Famuyiwa was attached to Children of Blood and Bone, which was intended to be a feature film at the time. Famuyiwa had directed episodes of The Mandalorian, but as that show picked up steam the attention of Lucasfilm executives reportedly turned to all things Star Wars. This, along with the merger, is why Children of Blood and Bone went stagnant.

The insiders also said that Adeyemi became vocal at this point, demanding the creative control that Paramount ultimately gave her. It is not clear if Famuyiwa is still attached to the project, but original producers Wyck Godrey, Marty Bowen and Karen Rosenfelt reportedly are.

Children of Blood and Bone and its sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance are both available now in print, digital and audiobook formats. According to Adeyemi, the third installment will be published in 2023. There is no word yet on when we might see an adaptation on screen.