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How Children of Blood & Bone Went from Lucasfilm to Paramount

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The cover to the novel Children of Virtue & Vengeance, showing the main character Zélie Adebola.

Image: Henry Holt Books

Recently, news broke that the adaptation of the YA series Children of Blood & Bone from Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi would be developed at Paramount. What was notable about it was how it was originally in development at Disney and Lucasfilm, and something they openly touted as in development back in 2020 during Disney’s incredibly packed investor call. And if that didn’t already make it a big deal, the fact that it was expected to be Lucasfilm’s big non-Star Wars IP certainly would. So what happened?

According to a recent report from the Hollywood Reporter, Star Wars happened. In speaking to their sources, they learned how Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy took interest an in Children when it was in danger of being lost in the fallout of the Disney-Fox merger. But despite Kennedy’s interest, there was a clear focus on building out the Star Wars universe, which we’re currently seeing happen in real time. As a result, Children didn’t get very far in production.

Exacerbating matters further was how Adeyemi allegedly began to be displeased with the glacial progress of her adaptation following the Investor Day call. When she started pushing to be the one to pen the theatrical film’s script, Lucasfilm was allegedly unwilling to meet her request. When the property was allowed to be bid on in fall 2021, Paramount not only picked up the rights, they allowed Adeyemi to have her creative influence and to pen the screenplay. She’ll executive produce alongside Temple Hill Entertainment’s (Maze Runner, Twilight) Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen and Sunswept Entertainment’s (Percy Jackson) Karen Rosenfelt.

Children of Blood & Bone tells the story of the orphan Zélie and her efforts to bring back magic to bring down her country’s evil king. The two currently released books of the Legacy of Orisha trilogy—Blood & Bone and Virtue & Vengeance—debuted to the top spot in New York Times’ bestseller list during their respective releases of 2018 and 2019. Currently untitled, the third installment to the trilogy is expected to release in 2023.

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