Last year, Netflix announced that Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale would be helming the first feature film adaptation of Brian Jacques's Redwall novels. The film was going to give Netflix another player in the fantasy streaming wars, a chance to give House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power a run for their money with a massive fantasy world, though one aimed at slightly younger audiences and centered around anthropomorphic animals.
Patrick McHale seemed like the perfect choice for the project, having already made one of the best works of animation of the past decade, especially one that struck a balance between kid-friendly antics and a gloomy atmosphere full of dangers — not unlike Jacques's work.
Sadly, it appears the promise of the first feature-length adaptation of Jacques's novels was too good to be true. The Redwall movie is now stuck in limbo, and McHale tells Inverse he is currently off the project.
“Currently, I'm not on Redwall.”
During an interview with Inverse about his work on Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, McHale gave us an update on his movie adaptation of Redwall. (Stay tuned for our full interview all about Pinocchio, later this week.)
"I wrote a script for the movie and did a lot of beautiful development art with different artists,” he says. “And then I think with all the changes at Netflix that happened, there's uncertainty about what's going on with it. Currently, I'm not on Redwall."
“I think they're still planning on making something, but it might be on the TV side.”
There's no other way around it, this sucks. The Redwall novels are ripe with possibility, Jacques created a massive world with a rich mythology comparable to Tolkien or George R. R. Martin. His stories don’t always follow a linear path, instead creating a tapestry of the world. Stories jump forward in time, introduce a whole new generation of heroes, or even change scopes like it's no big deal. You never know what to expect from this tale of woodland species fighting against rats, weasels, and foxes.
Still, not all hope is lost. According to McHale, there may still be a Redwall adaptation, just not the one we expected.
"I think they're still planning on making something,” he says, “but it might be on the TV side. And I don't know what my involvement will be at this point — if the script or the design work will be used in any way. I'm still hoping that it gets made into something. As a fan, I can't wait to see it. Maybe I can be involved too, but it's uncertain right now."