As fantasy nerds, we’re eternally grateful that a team with a deep love for The Lord of the Rings brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic to screen, but we also can’t help but wonder why so few other renowned series have yet to get their proper adaptation. Luckily, Netflix announced on Wednesday that it’s enlisted Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall) to do us a solid, and translate the Redwall books for screen.
As sprawling and detailed as A Song of Fire and Ice, Brian Jacques’ Redwall series follows the anthropomorphic animals of Redwall Abbey — mostly mice, hares, and badgers — as they battle the rats and weasels who plague the surrounding Mossflower Wood, and go about their adventures. One book may follow the exploits of the Arthurian hero Martin the Warrior, and in a later installment jumping forward in time, Martin may simply be regarded as one of the heroes of legend. Jacques carved out a deep history for his Redwall, giving McHale plenty to dig into.
Redwall was previously adapted as a Canadian animated series in the early 2000s. McHale’s version will be a feature film adapting Redwall, Jacques’ first book in the series accompanied by what Netflix describes as “an event series based on the character of Martin the Warrior.” Though it’s unclear what style McHale will employ in bringing the story to life, whether he’ll render the adventure in 2D animation similar to Over the Garden Wall, embrace the more en vogue 3D CG style of the moment, or mirror Jacques’ down-to-Earth style with a more photoreal approach, a news release announcing the project emphasizes that both the film and the event series are part of Netflix’s growing slate of animation projects.
“Brian often travelled the globe to tell his Redwall stories to young audiences, more often than not at their schools,” says Alan Ingram, representative of The Redwall Abbey Company, in a statement. “Brian would have been very happy to see that Netflix shares his joy and desire to bring his stories to life as a new universe of films, series and potentially much more for audiences of all ages to enjoy. We are very excited to embark on this new endeavour with Netflix and Penguin Random House UK.”
There’s no set release date for Redwall, but the image above is early concept art for the in-development project. In the wake of Over the Garden Wall’s critical success, McHale has remained mostly under the radar. In 2015 he directed an 11-minute short based on Double Fine’s Costume Quest, and in 2018, collaborated with Guillermo del Toro on Netflix’s upcoming stop-motion-animated Pinocchio. With the cast recently announced, that film is expected later this year.