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Over the last decade, young adult fiction has been experiencing a boost in popularity thanks to movie adaptations. From Twilight and The Hunger Games to Divergent and The Maze Runner, these book series have enjoyed enormous success on the big screen. The latest series that moviegoers will get to see in live action soon is the Magic Tree House series, which has been around a lot longer than those previously mentioned books.
Having signed a rights deal with author Mary Pope Osborne, Lionsgate will release its Magic Tree House movies under its Summit Entertainment division. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Osborne will executive produce, while the script for the first movie has been written by Osborne’s husband, Will Osborne, and Jenny Laird. Based on Christmas in Camelot, the 29th book in the series, the first movie will follow protagonists Jack and Annie as they rediscover the tree house that let them travel throughout history years after outgrowing it. They will then be “summoned to Camelot to be its saviors.” This will be the second time the Magic Tree House series has been adapted as a movie. A 2011 anime drama version was released in Japan in 2012, but it has yet to be dubbed in English.
Continuously published since 1992, the Magic Tree House books followed Jack and Annie as they had different adventures in that mystical tree house. Think of it the TARDIS from Doctor Who, only it’s not bigger on the inside. While most of the time they would visit different periods in the past and present, sometimes they would just go to exotic and unusual locations around Earth, like the North Pole or the Congo rain forest. From books 1-28, Jack and Annie were tasked by Morgan Le Fay to help free her from a spell, become “Master Librarians”, and save four ancient stories from being forever lost. Starting with Christmas in Camelot, their new missions were assigned by Merlin. The most recent book published was Balto of the Blue Dawn, where they met the famous Siberian husky in 1925.
With so much King Arthur mythology playing a role in the Magic Tree House series, it’s no wonder that the first movie will be set in Camelot, so the audience will be seeing plenty of knights, royalty, and magic. It’s also interesting that the series will start with Jack and Annie already having had adventures in the tree house rather than discovering it for the first time. It’s similar to superhero movies that eschew the origin story in favor of having the hero’s crimefighting career already established. Delving past the general audience and current young fans, no doubt the first movie will pique the interest of ‘90s kids who read the first books and want a trip down Nostalgia Lane.
We’ll keep you updated on any developments surrounding the Magic Tree House movie series, but if we’re being optimistic, we can probably expect the first entry to be released in the next two to three years.