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At Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020, the company’s Lucasfilm arm rattled off Star Wars projects — including 10 TV series — that were in the works, and Indiana Jones 5 received an expected shoutout, too.
Also revealed to be in the mix: an adaptation of Children of Blood and Bone, a young adult fantasy novel by Tomi Adeyemi. It was positioned to be Lucasfilm’s big IP and story universe outside of Star Wars. But after several years of development, the planned book trilogy has found itself a new home — at Paramount.
The story behind the move underscores how Lucasfilm has honed its focus.
Adeyemi’s book was initially picked up by Fox 2000 in 2017, the literary-minded label of 20th Century Fox Studios, with Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen and Sunswept Entertainment’s Karen Rosenfelt attached to produce. But when the parent studio was acquired by Disney, Fox 2000 was shuttered and its executives let go, and it looked as if the project might be lost in the shuffle.
But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, that’s when Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy took an interest in it. For those involved with the project, the acquisition made sense, especially when Rick Famuyiwa, a director on The Mandalorian, was attached to the film.
But the project stalled. Sources contend that Lucasfilm brass let development languish as the studio turned its focus to its rapidly growing Star Wars series slate, which includes not only more Mandalorian seasons but The Book of Boba Fett and numerous others.
Things began to sour just months after the 2020 Disney Investor Day presentation. Adeyemi, according to sources, grew disenchanted with the pace of the project and began pushing for a stronger voice at the table for the adaptation of her book. The author made the case that she should be the one writing the script, a request Lucasfilm was unwilling to accommodate, sources say.
The sides remained at loggerheads until the project was quietly put into turnaround in the fall of 2021. The bidding and winning of Blood and Bone took a couple of months, and when it landed at Paramount in early January with its original producers, Adeyemi now had what she had asked for: creative influence and the right to pen the screenplay.
In the meantime, Lucasfilm, according to sources, has decidedly shifted away from developing projects that are new and is leaning even more toward those already under its umbrella. Those include a series based on the 1988 fantasy Willow, Indiana Jones 5 and, yes, many, many Star Wars movies and shows.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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