New ‘Neverending Story’ Movies in the Works

New ‘Neverending Story’ Movies in the Works

One of the most cherished fantasy novels written by late German author Michael Ende that was adapted into the cult 1984 film, The Neverending Story will be brought back to cinemas over multiple live-action films, courtesy of a joint-venture partnership between Michael Ende Productions and See-Saw Films. 

The news ends the race for a chance to access one of today’s hottest fantasy properties. Variety reports Ende’s estate has been receiving interest from around the world, including from studios and streaming services.

The Neverending Story was published in 1979, becoming a bestseller in Germany and being translated into 45 languages. Millions of copies were sold across the globe as a result. In the novel, Bastian Balthasar Bux, an awkward but imaginative child, finds the mysterious book “The Neverending Story” after fleeing bullies. 

In the story, Atréyu is tasked with saving Fantastica, a magical kingdom filled with dragons, giants, vast kingdoms, and deadly swamps, and its ruler, the Childlike Empress, from destruction by the force “The Nothing.” As Bastian reads, he realizes that he is no mere spectator and soon finds himself atop the Luckdragon Falkor, flying through Fantastica.

“The story is both timely and timeless, and really has an opportunity to be told in a fresh way,” See-Saw producer Iain Canning told Variety from the Munich offices of “The Neverending Story” literary agent AVA. “And part of the specialness of the book is that you can go back to it at different ages in your life and find different levels of meaning. So how wonderful that we have this opportunity to do a fresh perspective that will have new layers and meanings. We just believe that every generation deserves their own journey into Fantastica.”

“We’ve been completely overwhelmed with interest from the television and film industry in recent years,” added Ralph Gassmann, the AVA executive who works with Michael Ende Productions. “But it was only about four to five years ago when we felt it was right to go back to Fantastica with new, fresher attention. So then we looked at hundreds and hundreds of requests and just thought, let’s see if we find a potential partner amongst them that is so compelling that they make us jump into the boat with them and go on this crazy adventure. But we knew we had to do it right and find the right partner, and luckily See-Saw was amongst them.”

See-Saw, founded in 2008 and made famous by 2011’s Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, takes on The Neverending Story as its next big challenge. To bring the novel to life, See-Saw and Michael Ende Productions must first find the right creative team before packaging and seeking distribution partners for the project, Variety says.

“The journey, in many ways, starts now,” Canning said. “There’s been a lot of anticipation from people who love this story about what the next steps would be. For us, we now need to speak to writers and directors and hear their passion for the material.”

Creatives will determine many details about the production, including how many films will be produced. Despite this, Canning pointed out that Ende described in The Neverending Story a variety of colorful locations such as the so-called ivory tower, Goab, the Desert of Colors, the Silver Mountains, Spook City, Silver Lake, and the Swamps of Sadness, which made the shooting seem global in scale. Furthermore, he said they plan to create some scenes in Germany to maintain a connection to the book’s heritage (the 1984 film was mostly shot at Bavaria Studios in Munich).

In the early 1980s, Ende’s longtime editor and estate curator Hocke began working with Ende, and he worked closely with him for more than two decades until he died in 1995. He said this new adaptation of “The Neverending Story” not only commemorates the author’s legacy, but also celebrates the importance and art of storytelling.

“We need stories like we need the air to breathe and water to survive. They give our inner worlds quality and with this quality we make decisions of quality. Stories make the world better,” he said. “And ‘The Neverending Story’ is the story of all stories.”


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