Elizabeth Banks to Direct “Red Queen” TV Adaptation

Hunger Games alum Elizabeth Banks will produce, direct and appear in the TV adaptation of Victoria Aveyard’s best selling series Red Queen.  

Credit: Screen Crush

Elizabeth Banks is returning to the director’s chair after 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2, to adapt the book series Red Queen for TV. Banks has been attached to the project as early as 2015 and had originally planned a film adaptation. The Emmy nominee will serve as producer alongside her husband Max Handelman.

Although Banks has yet to direct for television, she has served as executive producer on a number of shows including The Trustee, Project 13 and Shrill. She will co-produce and direct, as well as take on an important supporting role. Author Victoria Aveyard will write the scripts alongside Beth Schwartz, former Arrow showrunner. The role Banks will take on in the seires is yet to be disclosed, but many fans have guessed Elara Merandus the Queen of Norta. 

The inclusion of Beth Schwartz was a great decision as she has proved that she is able to write for television while staying true to original content. Joining the Arrow team in season 1, she worked her way up to executive story editor. And from there, she was promoted to co-producer, eventually taking over as showrunner for seasons 7 & 8. She has also worked on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Hart of Dixie and What About Brian. Most recently she co-created Netflix’s new series Sweet Tooth, where she served as executive producer and co-showrunner.

Victoria Aveyard

Credit: Variety

Red Queen is the first book in Victoria Aveyard’s best selling YA series of the same name. It was Aveyard’s first novel which she followed up with sequels Glass Sword, King’s Cage and War Storm. Red Queen won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Debut Goodreads Author and was nominated for the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction. 

The book was generally well-received, with The Guardian giving it four stars. Common Sense Media commented, “with its courageous protagonist, action-packed plot, and romantic possibilities, Red Queen is a winning series start for fantasy and dystopian lovers.”

An article by Publishing Perspectives highlights Aveyard’s win at prestigious German literary awards Buxtehuer Bulle in 2016. This is an award for youth literature and is regarded as Germany’s most renowned prize for young people’s literature. Victoria, 26 at the time, took first place out of 90 titles with one of the jurors calling it a “captivating phantasy novel with a compelling love story and very surprising ending”. 

Her books also include four number-one New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling novels. Two New York Times bestselling novellas, and a New York Times bestselling short story collection.

Red Queen

Credit: Goodreads

Although no official description has been announced, Red Queen takes place in an alternate historical timeline where democracy is dead. The Kingdom of Norta is governed by an all-powerful royal family. Norta is divided by blood colour, ordinary people have red blood while the elite with supernatural abilities have silver. 

The story follows protagonist Mare Barrow a 17-year-old girl born into poverty. She finds herself working for the silvers at the palace, surrounded by the people she hates. A twist of fate reveals to the world that despite her red blood she too possessed powers of her own. In an attempt to control her powers, the King engages her to one of his silver princes. 

Hidden in plain sight, Mare works silently with the Red Guard, a militant resistance group to overthrow Silver’s power. Mare weaving her way through a dangerous world, unintentionally becomes the face of a revolution for the oppressed.

The Rise of YA

Credit T.L. Branson

Peacock was very smart in retaining the rights for Red Queen, with the critical and commercial success of series such as Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, a combined adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s series Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Young Adult series are becoming increasingly in-demand. 

Hulu has also jumped on the YA Fantasy ship with the upcoming adaptation of Sarah J. Maas’s extremely popular series A Court of Thorns and Roses, courtesy of Outlander showrunner Ronald D. Moore. Announced earlier this year in March the adaptation already has so much buzz surrounding it. 

Both A Court of Thorns and Roses and Red Queen have gained massive followings. Fans of the books are eager to know how creators will adapt their favourite series for TV series and more importantly who they will cast.

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