• Stephen King’s fantasy novel, “The Eyes of the Dragon,” has been stuck in development hell for decades, despite its potential as a family-friendly adaptation with a medieval setting.
  • The novel deviates from King’s usual horror genre and instead offers a look into a quasi-medieval world, making it a unique addition to King’s macroverse.
  • While the rights to adapt the novel have been optioned twice, both attempts – a film and a TV series – have fallen through, leaving fans hopeful for a future adaptation.

Various Stephen King horror and suspense novels have been adapted to other media, sometimes more than once, but there’s one fantasy novel by King that needs an adaptation but has been stuck in development hell for decades. Since the publishing of Carrie in 1974, Stephen King has allowed generations of readers to explore a variety of fears by meeting different characters and monsters, though not all of them have been supernatural. King has rightfully earned the title of King of Horror with his horror novels and short stories, but his works are not limited to this genre.

Stephen King’s horror stories have been so successful that many of them have been adapted to TV and film, making some of King’s characters part of pop culture, as has happened with villains like Randall Flagg, Jack Torrance, and Annie Wilkes. Others have been adapted to other media more than once, as happened with Carrie and It, but there are many others that are still waiting for a chance. Among them is one, non-horror, full-on fantasy novel that should be adapted to either TV or film, but that has, unfortunately, been stuck in development hell for decades: The Eyes of the Dragon.

Stephen King’s The Eyes Of The Dragon Has Been Stuck In Development Hell For Years

The Eyes of the Dragon Stephen King cover

The Eyes of the Dragon was published in 1984, and unlike most of King’s previous works, it left horror aside in order to bring an epic fantasy set in a quasi-medieval world. The Eyes of the Dragon tells the story of the Kingdom of Delain, where Prince Peter will be the successor of his father, King Roland. However, Peter’s existence puts Randall Flagg’s (the King’s magician) plans and life in danger, so he frames the Prince for the King’s murder after poisoning him. Unbeknownst to Flagg, the youngest Prince, Thomas, witnesses his father’s murder through the glass eyes of the mounted head of Niner the dragon, yet he’s crowned King at the young age of 12, thus allowing Flagg great power due to his inexperience.

So far, the rights to The Eye of the Dragon have been optioned twice – once for a film and once for a TV series, but both haven’t gone beyond a development phase. First, The Eyes of the Dragon was expected to become an animated movie produced by the French company WAMC Entertainment (via Screen Daily), with a projected release date of late 2001 or early 2002. The project never made it into active production, and the rights lapsed in 2000. Years later, in 2012, Syfy announced the development of The Eyes of the Dragon as either a TV movie or a miniseries, and in 2019, Hulu announced it was adapting it into a TV series. Unfortunately, in September 2020, producer Seth Grahame-Smith told The Kingcast podcast that Hulu canceled the project due to budget concerns and changes in Hulu’s executive team.

Why Stephen King’s The Eyes Of The Dragon Still Needs A Movie Or TV Show

Stephen King sitting in front of his novels

Although The Eyes of the Dragon isn’t a horror movie, it’s still part of King’s macroverse thanks to Randall Flagg and the Kingdom of Delain being located within In-World from The Dark Tower series. The Eyes of the Dragon, then, offers a completely different look at King’s universe, and a medieval world from the imagination of Stephen King is definitely worth exploring in a movie or TV show. The Eyes of the Dragon is also a more family-friendly King story, and between its non-horror story, medieval setting, fantasy elements, and links to King’s other works, it can reach an audience that King’s horror stories can’t. An adaptation of Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon isn’t lined up for the near future for now, but hopefully, it will finally make it out of development hell soon.

Source: Screen Daily, The Kingcast

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