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Lionsgate Had Big Ambitions For The Kingkiller Chronicle When It Acquired The Rights In 2015

Nowadays, every Hollywood studio is interested in acquiring its own adaptation of a beloved, pre-existing fantasy series. HBO's success with "Game of Thrones" not only proved that fantasy stories could be satisfyingly brought to life on the smaller screen, but that there was also a potentially huge audience interested in seeing more fantasy shows like it. Ever since then, streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon have gone out of their way to release their own high-profile fantasy adaptations, including "The Witcher," "The Wheel of Time," and "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

Even HBO, notably, tried to replicate the success of "Game of Thrones" in 2022 when it released the debut season of its first "Thrones" spin-off, "House of the Dragon." It doesn't look like Hollywood's renewed interest in beloved fantasy properties will diminish anytime soon, either. There are, in fact, a number of fantasy books that are being adapted for TV right now, including Sarah J. Maas' "A Court of Thorns and Roses," Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series, and many, many others.

However, one popular fantasy book series that doesn't seem like it'll be adapted for anyone's screens anytime soon is "The Kingkiller Chronicle," written by Patrick Rothfuss. That's not due to a lack of trying, though. As a matter of fact, Lionsgate actually made a commendable attempt at trying to capitalize on the success of "The Kingkiller Chronicle" series back in 2015.

The Kingkiller Chronicle was supposed to launch a multimedia franchise for Lionsgate

"The Kingkiller Chronicle" follows Kvothe, a man readers are told spent his younger years traveling through the fictional world of Temerant as an entertainer and musician, only to eventually become an infamously dangerous wizard. The series' first two installments, 2007's "The Name of the Wind" and 2011's "The Wise Man's Fear," received acclaim and attention upon their respective releases. "Game of Thrones" author George R. R. Martin even wrote in 2012 that "The Wise Man's Fear" was "the best epic fantasy I read last year."

Taking all of this into account, it didn't come as much of a surprise when it was revealed in 2013 that 20th Century Fox had optioned the rights to "The Kingkiller Chronicle." When that studio lost the rights to Rothfuss' books two years later, it was even less of a surprise to learn that Lionsgate had quickly scooped them up for itself. At the time, the studio had plans to adapt "The Kingkiller Chronicle" as a multi-platform franchise comprised of — at the very least — a feature film, a live-action TV series, and a video game.

In 2016, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda signed on to produce the multi-platform "Kingkiller Chronicle" adaptation and write original music for it. A year later, Showtime was already in the midst of developing Lionsgate's "Kingkiller Chronicle" TV series, and it was additionally announced in 2018 that "Spider-Man" filmmaker Sam Raimi had signed on to direct a film based on Rothfuss' books.

However, five years later, fans have not seen any of Lionsgate's proposed "Kingkiller Chronicle" projects.

What happened to Lionsgate's Kingkiller Chronicle adaptation?

After 2018, the momentum behind Lionsgate's TV and film adaptations of "The Kingkiller Chronicle" began to grind to a halt. In 2019, Showtime dropped the studio's "Kingkiller Chronicle" TV series, which has since been stuck in a kind of developmental limbo. A year later, Lin-Manuel Miranda told Entertainment Weekly that his experiences working on "His Dark Materials" had reshaped his ideas about adapting "The Kingkiller Chronicle."

"I've gained new perspective on it, having been able to be a part of this other fantasy franchise and seeing how, 'Oh man, we did eight hours of story and we still didn't get all of the first book in there. What hope does a movie have?!'" Miranda explained. The "Hamilton" creator added, "I don't know if you can get ['The Kingkiller Chronicle'] into one series. But it is an incredible world worth exploring, but it hasn't been cracked yet."

Unfortunately, it looks like Miranda never figured out the right approach for "The Kingkiller Chronicle." In 2022, the multi-hyphenate talent told Variety that he was no longer involved in Lionsgate's adaptation of the series. No updates about the multi-platform project have since been announced, and based on Miranda's previous comments about the adaptation, it doesn't sound like anyone has yet figured out how to properly or satisfyingly adapt Rothfuss' "Kingkiller" novels.

That said, it is also worth noting that Rothfuss himself has yet to finish his proposed "Kingkiller Chronicle" trilogy.

Will Patrick Rothfuss ever finish The Kingkiller Chronicle?

"The Wise Man's Fear," the second installment in "The Kingkiller Chronicle," was originally released in 2011. In the 12 years that have followed, some fans have begun to doubt whether Patrick Rothfuss will ever finish his long-awaited follow-up book, "The Doors of Stone." Over the years, Rothfuss has, notably, made some unfulfilled promises about the third installment in "The Kingkiller Chronicle." Even his editor made some discouraging comments in 2020 about how long it has taken the author to write "The Doors of Stone."

To be fair, Rothfuss isn't the only high-profile fantasy author who has received criticisms online for his speed. However, in the wake of the divisive "Game of Thrones" series finale, it seems highly unlikely that there are any Hollywood producers or writers working right now who would want to actually commit to adapting a high-profile fantasy series that hasn't yet concluded. The later seasons of "Game of Thrones" not only infamously moved past their source material, but they also received heavy criticism for failing to live up to the quality of author George R. R. Martin's original books.

The likelihood of "The Kingkiller Chronicle" ever being adapted for the big or small screen may, therefore, be contingent upon whether or not Rothfuss ever actually finishes writing his beloved book series. If he does, the series' chances of rejoining Hollywood's list of future fantasy adaptions should grow exponentially. Of course, even if that happens, the question of how to actually adapt "The Kingkiller Chronicle" would still need to be solved.

That's a problem that, as Lin-Manuel Miranda has already proven, isn't nearly as easy to figure out as one may initially think.