While Disney’s 1985 animated feature The Black Cauldron may not be peak of the Mouse House at their powers, I still maintain that it’s an underrated gem in their back catalog. Whether or not anyone else agrees with me on this particular iteration of the story, that’s apparently not going to stop Disney from reaching into the archives and bringing more stories from Black Cauldron author Lloyd Alexander to life, as they’re working to adapt his fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain for the big screen.
A high fantasy series published between 1964 and 1968—a run that includes the novel The Black Cauldron—Lloyd Alexander’s five The Chronicles of Prydain books are based on Welsh mythology. According to Variety, Disney has locked up the rights to the saga and is in the process of developing them into a series of movies. While this is all in the very early goings, this is exciting new for fans of cinematic fantasy.
The five books in The Chronicles of Prydain—a saga made up of The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Lyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King, in that order—follow the protagonist, Taran. The narrative traces his life from youth to maturity, and his humble beginnings as an assistant pig farmer to his destiny as he follows his path to becoming a grand hero.
The first two of Lloyd Alexander’s novels form the basis for Disney’s The Black Cauldron. Like I said, I adore it, but the movie generally regarded as a failure, or at least one of Disney’s lesser movies. It’s primarily remembered for being both their first animated film to receive a PG rating, as well as for breaking new technical ground and being their first feature to employ computer generated images. As it was a financial failure, only scraping together a $21 million domestic haul during its initial theatrical run, against a $44 million budget, The Black Cauldron took more than ten years before it was finally released on home vide.
As The Chronicles of Prydain movie is the extremely early stages, there are no producers, writers, or directors currently attached to the project. In fact, there’s one big question that we have that is not answered by this report, and that is whether or not this will be animated or live-action.
Given that Disney is in the process of reimagining many of their most popular animated tales as live-action films, it seems likely that’s the way they’re leaning, but at this stage, who knows? Either way, there are five books, which is a hell of a potential franchise for Disney. With the chronological nature of the books, the studio could take a similar route as the Harry Potter saga, hiring a young actor to front the films and allowing fans to watch him grow up over the course of the movie as the character does.