It used to be that if a play or musical on Broadway or the West End were deemed exceptionally good by critics, the rights would be sold to a studio, and soon enough, that stage production would become a fantasy movie or just something more general.
Now, it seems as though it’s the other way around as movies are being turned into musical productions for the stage left and right—Back To The Future The Musical, Spirited Away The Musical, Beatlejuice The Musical, Shrek The Musical, and soon enough, there will be The Warriors the musical. All of these adaptations got us thinking, what if some of our favorite fantasy movies became musicals?
Here are just a few ideas of some of the most iconic fantasy movies that would make excellent musicals:
7. Stardust (2007)
Starring a young Charlie Cox (way before he became known for playing Matt Murdock in Daredevil), Stardust is the coming-of-age fantasy movie about a teenage boy from a small English village becoming a man as he finds love, magic, and adventure.
Written by Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, and Neil Gaiman and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Stardust is fantastically whimsical and filled with magical elements that could make mind-blowing special effects if the film were adapted to the stage.
The film could become a visually stunning musical that enchants audiences with the magic and adventure the movie is known for. We can already hear the ethereal musical theme that would play every time Yvaine, the evening star, enters the stage.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia series (2005-2010)
Originally written by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted into fantasy movies several times, most notably by Disney, starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in 2005. The story follows a group of siblings during World War II who are sent to live with an old man in the countryside for their protection.
While playing in the old man’s manor, the children discover a magical wardrobe that transports them away from London and into a magical land called Narnia, where magic exists, and lions talk.
Each book in the Narnia series offers its own unique adventures that could be adapted into individual musicals, each highlighting the themes of bravery, friendship, and magic.
In fact, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has already been adapted into a musical called Narnia: The Musical, which has played in over 1,000 theaters worldwide but has yet to make it to Broadway or the West End.
5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Pan’s Labyrinth, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, is a visually stunning fantasy movie about the daughter of a sadistic army officer in 1944. Played by Ivana Baquero, Ofelia manages to escape her world of terror as she discovers a new world filled with magical (but also terrifying) fae creatures.
Pan’s Labyrinth is filled with weird and fantastical special effects depicting the creatures Ofelia meets on her adventures that would translate beautifully to the stage in a musical. If adapted into a musical, the movie would be accompanied by haunting and atmospheric music that explores the themes of imagination and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.
4. Willow (1988)
Willow is a fantasy movie from the late 80s directed by Ron Howard and created by George Lucas. It stars Warwick Davis as the titular character, a young farmer who is chosen to bring a lost baby back to her home and protect her from an evil queen.
It’s a story about a hero’s journey and could be adapted to become a stage musical much in the way that Shrek: The Musical was adapted to the stage (but in a much less silly way).
Rather than embodying the absurdity that is part of the Shrek brand, a Willow musical could be reimagined as a sweeping and epic musical journey that captures the thrilling tale of a reluctant hero and the adventures he encounters on his quest to do good.
3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
While Edward Scissorhands stands on the border between science-fiction and fantasy, we believe that this Tim Burton classic could be adapted into a dark and poignant fairytale musical.
Like the Beetlejuice musical adaptation, this fantasy movie could become a Broadway sensation, complete with extravagant sets that juxtapose between the dark gothic designs and pastels of the original movie design.
While Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder will have to rescind their roles and pass the parts on to younger actors, we can already hear the heartbreaking ballads sung by Edward and Kim and picture the extravagant and fun ensemble songs and dance numbers in the Edward Scissorhands musical—a story about identity, acceptance, and love.
2. Labyrinth (1986)
Labyrinth is a cult classic brought into this world by none other than the iconic Jim Henson. This fantasy movie is already halfway to being a musical because Henson made sure that the role of the Goblin King Jareth was played by one of the biggest rockstars of the 80s—David Bowie.
The film features several musical numbers that could be adapted for the stage (“Magic Dance,” “Chilly Down,” “As The World Falls Down,” etc.). And although David Bowie has sadly passed away, it’s possible that the movie’s co-composer Trevor Jones could team up with someone incredible to write a few more songs for the musical version.
1. The Princess Bride (1987)
Like Stardust, The Princess Bride is a whimsical fantasy adventure that could easily be reimagined as a stage musical. This beloved fantasy movie is about friendship, loyalty, and most importantly, true love. It follows Buttercup and Wesley, two lovers who are torn apart by piracy and an evil prince.
A stage musical for The Princess Bride could feature a ballad from Buttercup, a villain song from Prince Humperdink, entertaining ensemble pieces from the town villages, and a romantic duet between Buttercup and Wesley. Of course, Inigo and Fezzik would have their solo numbers, too.
It’s all too easy to imagine what this iconic fantasy movie would look like as a whimsical, comedic musical that captures the humor and romance of the original story.