Years ago, Disney secured the rights to adapt various kids book series for television, such as Percy Jackson and Eragon. Also included in that mix was The Spiderwick Chronicles, a series of mid-2000s kids books created by Holly Black (who would later go on to create the Curse Workers books) and Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spider and the Fly).
That series was announced back in 2021, but two years later, Disney has gone and pulled the plug on the Spiderwick adaptation. According to Deadline, the move was made as part of a strategy to cut costs where possible. The outlet notes that the show’s culling was part of the write-off plans that Disney originally announced in May and saw over 100 shows and films get pulled from Disney+ and Hulu. While Disney was quiet about the show and its production over the years, its cast included Willow’s Christian Slater, Jack Dylan Grazer (Shazam), Lyon Daniels, and Joy Bryant (For Life).
Spiderwick Chronicles was co-developed by Paramount TV, and it’s said that Paramount’s looking to shop the six-episode show around to other buyers. (No potentially interested parties were specifically named.) Its cancellation is part of a plan to change Disney+’s live-action strategy for its Branded Television department (which includes Marvel and Star Wars). Going forward, the streamer is said to be “leaning more heavily into Disney-owned IP,” which includes the likes of Percy (Disney’s Hyperion Books publishes the books that show’s based on). That said, exceptions are said to be made, such as the upcoming Goosebumps series from Sony and BBC’s Doctor Who.
The original Spiderwick Chronicles book released in 2003 and focused on twins Jared and Simon Grace and their older sister Mallory, who move with their mother to their family estate in Michigan. As they get adjusted to their new living situation with their mother, trio discover a world of fairies and other magical creatures, all of which has been chronicled in a field guide published by a researcher named Arthur Spiderwick. Back in 2008, the books were adapted for film starring Freddie Highmore and received generally solid reviews.
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