Fantasy Books You Didn't Realize Were Being Adapted For TV

Some of the largest and most beloved film and TV franchises of the last decade are in the fantasy genre, as magical world-building and adventurous storytelling attract fans from all walks of life. With streaming services at peak popularity, more and more series are getting ordered from networks to help retain and create new subscribers. At this point, pretty much every popular streamer has their own TV adaptation of a popular fantasy novel — and if they don't already, they soon will.

With series like George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" and J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" recently getting their own prequel series ordered by two of the biggest streaming platforms and Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" premiering on Peacock, the fantasy genre shows no signs of slowing down or dying off. In fact, there are a number of fantasy novels that have been graced with a series order at many different streaming services. Here are some fantasy series that you may not know are being developed for TV in the near future.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is one of the most popular fantasy romance authors in action right now, and her "A Court of Thorns and Roses" series has helped introduce a number of new readers into the genre. The first book in the series, centered on a human huntress who is taken to the neighboring faerie realm, has sold millions of copies worldwide.

"Outlander" fans should be stoked because series creator Ronald D. Moore is heading the project (via The Bookseller). While there probably won't be any time travel, "A Court of Thorns and Roses" is similarly steamy and even more magical than the long-running Showtime series based on the novels of Diana Gabaldon. We don't yet know much more about the TV adaptation, which may be due to the fact that the series order leaked long before it was supposed to have been. In fact, Sarah J. Maas' husband may have been the first source to leak the news in an Instagram post about a sandwich, which then led to the author herself "spilling the beans" fully on her own Instagram page.

No matter how the news came about, though, fans have certainly hit the ground running after hearing about the TV adaptation, making fan casts and theorizing who will play their favorite character. Though it seems the series is still a ways off, fans can expect it to stream on Hulu once it does drop.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

"Red Queen" gives readers an interesting twist on classism with the premise that a person's blood color determines where they stand in the social structure of Victoria Aveyard's fantasy world. Those with red blood are typical commoners, while those born with silver blood pumping in their veins have god-like powers and are seen as royalty. Fans of "Game of Thrones" will be familiar with the power struggle seen in this novel, and the planned TV adaptation should bring in viewers of similar taste.

According to Variety, "Red Queen" has been granted a series order at Peacock and is being headed by "The Hunger Games" supporting actress Elizabeth Banks. The star is set to direct, produce, and have a supporting role in the series as well. Banks has had an interest in the novel for some time, as Variety notes that she originally tried wanted to adapt "Red Queen" into a film back in 2015. However, since the novel now has a number of follow-up books, a series may be a better fit for Victoria Aveyard's creation.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo has already seen massive success with her books, as parts of her Grishaverse novels have already been turned into a streaming series with Netflix. However, "Ninth House" is completely separate from Bardugo's "Shadow and Bone" universe and even falls under a different subgenre of fantasy novels.

Leigh Bardugo's 2019 novel is a paranormal fantasy book that also acts as a kind of murder mystery novel. "Ninth House" takes place at Yale and dives into the world of nine secret societies within the university and explores the magic behind each. The first novel in the ongoing series centers around Galaxy "Alex" Stern — a member of the ninth house that monitors the mysterious workings of the other eight houses — who is investigating a murder that occurred on campus.

When "Ninth House" was first set for release, the massive amount of pre-orders for the book resulted in a bidding war for the rights to adapt the piece for TV, which Amazon Studios eventually won. According to Deadline, Leigh Bardugo is acting as executive producer for the adaptation. Pouya Shahbazian, who adapted the "Divergent" series and Bardugo's own "Shadow and Bone" series, will also act as a producer on the project.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The TV adaptation of Naomi Alderman's feminist sci-fi fantasy novel "The Power" first began the casting process in 2019 and started production a year later, although production was halted due to scheduling and the pandemic. The series is back in development, but, according to Deadline, recasts have been necessary due to stars Leslie Mann and Tim Robbins dropping out. Reshoots will need to happen for scenes that have already been filmed and contain the actors.

The film takes place in an alternate universe where women develop the ability to send an electrical current through their fingers, which leads them to move into positions of power over their male counterparts. It has been compared to "The Handmaid's Tale" by The Washington Post and has also gotten author Margaret Atwood's stamp of approval — The Guardian explains that Atwood was a vital mentor for Naomi Alderman.

The first season of "The Power" has, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, an all-female writer's room, which makes sense considering the feminist nature of the novel. Fans are patiently waiting for a look at the upcoming series, which will premiere on Amazon Prime in the future.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

"Westworld" and MCU star Tessa Thompson is moving into the production game by founding her own development company and already has three book-to-TV adaptations in the works to kick things off. According to Deadline, Thompson is acting as an executive producer alongside "Game of Thrones" author George R. R. Martin in developing an HBO series based on Nnedi Okorafor's "Who Fears Death." Okorafor will also act as a co-executive producer on the series, so it can be expected to stay true to her novel in the best ways.

"Who Fears Death" is a unique coming-of-age story about a girl whose name means the titular query. The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic North Africa full of hard-to-control magic and even harder-to-beat villains. The novel was awarded the World Fantasy Award in 2011 for best novel, along with a slew of other awards. Okorafor's "Who Fears Death" is a heavy read, and the series is likely to be just as hard-hitting and moving — especially considering the massive talent it has behind it.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan has found great success in the young adult fantasy genre, and his Greek mythology-based "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" series was already turned into a two film series with 2010's "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." The book series, though, is composed of five books, with additional two books taking place in the same universe, so it makes sense that a TV series would be in order to tell the entire story Riordan laid out with its intense worldbuilding, mythology, and complex characters.

The upcoming reimagining of "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" will land on Disney+ and author Rick Riordan seems more on board with the series than he was with the previous films. Deadline notes that both Riordan and his wife are acting as executive producers on the series and, in an interview with The Guardian, the author said he felt he owed it to his fans to give them a new on-screen version of his beloved series. Riordan told The Guardian that he feels optimistic that Disney can do a much better job than the films did in bringing his work to life — something fans should be excited to hear the famously honest author express.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Stories based deeply on Greek Mythology seem to be a favorite, and "Circe" by Madeline Miller is no different. The book is a retelling of various Greek myths that contains elements of the classic story "The Odyssey," and it reads like a legendary epic centered on a female protagonist. The novel centers on the minor Greek goddess and enchantress Circe as she deals with the moral ramifications of creating a monster responsible for many deaths. The stand-alone novel topped The New York Times bestseller list, won the 2019 Indie Choice audiobook of the year award, and appeared on many best-of lists (via author Madeline Miller's website).

According to a 2020 announcement from Deadline, "Circe" is getting the TV series treatment with an eight-episode series order from HBO Max. Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who have previously collaborated on high-profile projects such as "Jurassic World" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," are again teaming up to both write and produce the screenplay for the adaptation. Originally announced back in 2019, there is no set release date yet for "Circe," but we could potentially see the series hit HBO in 2023.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Another fantasy book with a competitive bidding war for the on-screen adaptation rights is Rebecca Roanhorse's "Black Sun," which is set to premiere on AMC as a new series in the near future. The Hollywood Reporter announces that Angela Kang will head up the project as executive producer. Kang has worked on the iconic AMC series "The Walking Dead" for over a decade and was promoted to showrunner during Season 9. Roanhorse will also have a heavy hand in the TV adaptation, as she has also been named as an executive producer. Roanhorse is the author of multiple fantasy novels and has also worked with Marvel writing on the "Phoenix Song: Echo" comics. 

"Black Sun" is the first novel in the "Between Earth and Sky" series and it takes place in a world where celestial events are a source of magic and power. The story centers on four main characters whose paths and missions converge to dramatic and sometimes violent effects. With roots in both history and politics, "Black Sun" manages to be a fun read while also an impactful and sometimes heavy one. This alone makes Angela Kang seemingly a great choice to head the project, as she has successfully helped portray this sort of atmosphere in "The Walking Dead" across multiple seasons.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is one of the top names in the fantasy genre, and a number of his novels have already been turned into either films or TV series. "Lucifer" is a popular Netflix series with the lead character based on one of his characters from "The Sandman" comics — which itself recently received its own adaptation on the same streaming platform. "Coraline," "Good Omens," and "American Gods" are all popular adaptations of his novels as well. In 2021, Variety announced that a limited series order of six episodes for Gaiman's "Anansi Boys" would be produced by Amazon Studios.

Set in the same universe as "American Gods," Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys" centers around the twin sons of Mr. Nancy. However, Mr. Nancy turns out to be Anansi, a deity first introduced in "American Gods." When Mr. Nancy dies, his son Charlie discovers that his father's true identity is a trickster God and that he has a twin brother with whom he soon reunites.

Unlike a lot of the streaming platform's other ongoing fantasy adaptations, Amazon is moving quickly on "Anansi Boys." Variety's announcement also notes that the series is already fully cast, with Malachi Kirby playing the dual role of Mr. Nancy's twin sons. The series seems to have already finished filming and is in post-production, although there is currently no set date for when it will drop to Amazon Prime.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

R. F. Kuang's "The Poppy War" is the first book in a trilogy that combines the legends and myths of ancient China with a fantasy world full of shamanism and monsters. The novel centers around Rin, an orphaned girl who, against all odds, passes the test for acceptance into an elite military academy and is mentored by a mysterious master who unlocks her hidden magical abilities. The story that follows is one of honor, civic responsibility, and sacrifice.

According to Deadline, Peter Luo's Starlight Media has optioned the rights to "The Poppy War." In addition, Starlight Media has acquired the rights to both the second and third book in the trilogy, setting in motion plans to develop the award-winning novels into an expansive TV series. The company has previously backed projects like the critically acclaimed film "Crazy Rich Asians." It's unclear where or when the series will be available and if it is already in development, as further details remain under wraps.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

BookTok -– a section of the social media platform TikTok that indulgences in all thing literature -– has helped sell and spread the word about a number of self-published books that may have never taken off quite as well without it. Olivie Blake's "The Atlas Six" is one such book. After going viral on the video sharing and live feed platform, Deadline reports that the book became the subject of an intense bidding battle between networks looking to buy the rights.

Amazon emerged as the victor, and fans of "The Atlas Six" can look forward to a streamable series in the future. Tanya Seghatchian, producer of the first four "Harry Potter" films and the Netflix series "The Crown," alongside John Woodward, who acted as producer for the Oscar winning film "The Power of the Dog," are serving as executive producers for the project through their company Brightstar.

"The Atlas Six" centers around six chosen magicians whose power is immense, even in a world full of magic and sorcerers. They are competing against each other for a place among the most powerful secret society in the world for magic wielders. In the cutthroat competition, the six balance growing closer to each other against the inevitable betrayal the competition will bring.

Hopeful possibility: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is another huge name in the fantasy genre of literature, and he was recently able to raise over $41 million from fans on Kickstarter to crowdfund four new books. This immense success has pretty much solidified confidence in Sanderson and his novels' sellability, which should put him in a prime position to sell the rights to his books to get an adaptation made.

Sanderson has talked about bringing his immensely popular "Mistborn" to the screen for a while now. In a recent TikTok interview, Sanderson outlines the very real probability of an adaptation to his arguably most popular series going into production. Sanderson explains that studios have approached him with confident offers to buy the rights to "Mistborn" and that he has discussed plans to begin production of a "Mistborn" series or film in as little as six months. 

With Sanderson already acting as a producer for Amazon's "Wheel of Time" series — a position he secured as the author who finished the series of novels begun by Robert Jordan — it is reasonable to believe that he would want his books adapted into a series as well. If fans are lucky, an announcement might be just around the corner.