V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series To Be Adapted By John Wick’s Derek Kolstad

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BY October 4, 2019

A Shades of Magic movie is on the way. V.E. Schwab’s acclaimed trilogy is coming to the big screen, and now writer Derek Kolstad has joined the project. Kolstad is best known as the scribe behind the popular John Wick franchise, and is also a writer for Falcon and the Winter Soldier set to premiere on Disney+ in November. Neal Moritz will produce the adaptation, and Sony Pictures will release the movie(s).

Author V.E. Schwab posted on Twitter today, sharing the exciting news.

A Shades of Magic Movie Has Been In The Works For Awhile

Gerard Butler’s production company acquired the rights in 2016 after a fierce bidding war. Originally intended to be a limited television series, Schwab herself was onboard to write the pilot episode. However, things changed in 2017 when the potential television show turned into a potential film franchise. Schwab is still onboard as a producer, but it seems as though she will entrust the scriptwriting to Kolstad.

The first book in the trilogy – A Darker Shade of Magic came out in 2015. The second book – A Gathering of Shadows – came out in 2016, the year that the rights were acquired. The series was actually optioned well before the release of the third book – A Conjuring of Light – which came in 2017.

Did the completion of the trilogy affect the direction of the adaptation? The books are certainly written with vivid descriptive detail. When I read them, I remember thinking that they felt as if they were ready to transition from page to screen right away. Apparently I was more right than I knew.

Shades of Magic Movie - Four Londons The Four Londons | Image via Tor

Enter The Four Londons In Schwab’s Trilogy

The Shades of Magic trilogy centers around the characters of Kell, a magic-user who can travel through dimensions. And Delilah Bard (Lila) who is a cunning thief with secrets unknown even to herself. The series takes place in London, but it is not quite the London we know. In this universe there are parallel worlds that only certain individuals can travel to. These rare magic-users are the Antari, and Kell is one of them.

Shades of Magic takes place across four parallel versions of London, and they are defined by specific color tones. Grey London is where magic no longer exists (this is the London of our world). Lila comes from Grey London, but soon discovers that there are more worlds beyond the one she knows. Kell’s home is Red London, where magic thrives and the river Thames glows crimson with the power of it. White London is a fascist state, where the rulers hoard the fading magic. Black London was corrupted by powerful dark magic, and seemingly lost to history.

Shades of Magic Movie - Author V.E. Schwab V.E. Schwab | Image via Tor

What Can We Expect From A Shades Of Magic Movie?

The specific color-coding of parallel Londons should make for a visually compelling film. The red glow of the river. The bleached stone of a world whose magic is fading. And of course, the rainy grey of our London where magic has faded and the color with it.

The choice of writer and producer for the Shades of Magic movie is… interesting. At the very least, we can be sure that the action sequences will be executed well. And there is action galore in these books. There are magical duels and piracy, chase scenes and torture. I’m certain that the writer of John Wick, and the producer of The Fast and the Furious will do these elements justice.

But what will the magic look like? Who will play Lila and Kell? There are plenty of supporting characters that are just as important, and their casting will have to be carefully handled. Will we get to see Keanu Reeves to play a role, given his extensive history with Kolstad? He would be excellent casting for Holland – the Antari from White London.

Who would you like to see cast in the Shades of Magic movie? Comment below and start a conversation. And for more adaptation news, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter.

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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