11:50 am EDT, April 10, 2017

Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘The Raven Cycle’ to be adapted for TV

Best-selling author Maggie Stiefvater has confirmed that her series The Raven Cycle will be a television show, with Catherine Hardwicke attached to direct and produce.

Maggie Stiefvater just revealed on Twitter that her beloved four-book series, which was completed last April with the publication of The Raven King, will be adapted for television. Stiefvater re-tweeted and confirmed the legitimacy of a screencap of the Publishers Marketplace announcement posted by a literary agent. The series will have Andrew Miller, who wrote on The Secret Circle, as its showrunner, and has attached Catherine Hardwicke, veteran director of the teen experience from Thirteen to Twilight, to direct the pilot. No casting has been announced.

We picked The Raven Cycle back in 2015 as one of our top choices to go from the page to the small screen. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

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If we had to pitch a Raven Cycle TV series with one line, it would probably look something like this: “Charmed meets Dead Poets Society meets The Fast and the Furious.

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, apart from being a visually spectacular place, is the home of Aglionby Academy, an all-boys prep school attended by our Raven Boys — Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah. When we meet them, their quest (searching for the sleeping body of an ancient Welsh king) is already underway and we learn the history of it as they progress. However, things don’t really kick off until they meet Blue, a local girl who comes from a family of psychics. Once she joins their circle, magic literally starts flowing and things begin to get very interesting.

Incredible visuals aside, the mythology and horror set against the beautiful rural location of the Virginia mountains deserves the kind of artistic cinematography seen in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal — the real strength of these books is the relationships in them: friendship, family, romance queer and straight, and the consequences of fate, loneliness, pride and power. The series may be cloaked in a supernatural shell and reduced to ‘genre’ television, but it’s genuinely so much more. Every character is absolutely real, and a TV adaptation would be an opportunity to showcase both some amazing adult actors as well as a new generation of talented teens. If the casting was done well, a legion of fans would be set up right from the start.

The Raven Boys has actually already been optioned for a movie, but these novels are a cut above your normal YA fantasy series. They don’t pull punches, they upend tropes, and their complexity and carefully crafted vision deserve more screen-time than a condensed 90 minutes per book. There’s plenty to write for — Stiefvater is a wizard at making her world seem both huge and intimate, and there are already dozens of scenes that canonically happened, but that we only know about in passing. Each of the four books could cover two short or one full season easily.

Most of Stiefvater’s works have been optioned by production companies — her standalone novel The Scorpio Races has been adapted into a screenplay by Jack Thorne, writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but fiercely protective fans are already delighted to hear that The Raven Cycle will be a TV series and not a movie.

The tale is a complex and introspective one — you could shove the basic story into a series of movies, one for each book, but you wouldn’t begin to touch on the heart. A season per book is more like it, so this is fantastic news. Stiefvater is also currently working on a sequel trilogy to the Raven Cycle, focusing on the character of Ronan Lynch, so there’s plenty of canon for a successful series to keep growing into.

Universal Cable Productions will be taking charge. Given their lineup, we’d hazard a guess at the series airing on Syfy, though USA or an online platform are both possibilities.

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