Fans of Roald Dahl are about to see a host of new projects across numerous media platforms thanks to a new deal that has seen Netflix acquire the Roald Dahl Story Company, which will extend their current deal to cover the entire Dahl catalogue of novels, short stories and more. The two companied original made an agreement in 2018 that saw Netflix being given the option of adapting 16 titles as animations. In recent months, this has been extended to include a series set in the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a movie version of Matilda: The Musical.
There have already been adaptations of pretty much every major Dahl story over the years, from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, through The Witches and its remake, to both animated and live action versions of The BFG, but when he was alive, it is well documented that Dahl himself didn't always approve of the results. He famously refused to acknowledge Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, one of the most loves adaptations of any Dahl work, in a very similar way to how Stephen King viewed Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining. How he would feel about some of the more modern adaptations is something we will never know, but for fans of his work, it is a sign that his stories will continue to be loved by another generation. That surely is all any author would really want for their legacy.
Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said in a blog post, "There is a moment in James and the Giant Peach when the Ladybird says: "We are now about to visit the most marvellous places and see the most wonderful things!". The Centipede replies, "there is no knowing what we shall see!". Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company share a deep love of storytelling and a growing, global fan base. Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come."
The new deal will see Netflix branching out across multiple media types, with plans including both live action and animated features, games, virtual reality and immersive experiences, theatrical productions and tie in merchandise. The new universe of projects will bring Dahl's work all under one banner, but that doesn't include the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Wonka, the prequel movie looking at the eccentric chocolatier's younger years.
Roald Dahl's books have sold over 300 million copies, been translated into 63 languages and been adapted into over a dozen movies. Dahl himself was also responsible for the Tales of The Unexpected TV series, and also wrote the screenplays for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In taking over Dahl's adaptations, Netflix have acquired a treasure trove of stories to take in new directions. As long as they keep the heart of Dahl's work intact, then there should be an exciting bunch of projects heading to screens and more in the next few years. This story originated at Deadline.