The Neverending Story Gets Multiple Movies

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

There are some beloved movies from childhood Gen Xers are reluctant to see remade. It’s just too difficult to imagine how new actors could fill those same roles or how a new script could possibly be better than the original. Another cherished film from the 80s hard to imagine rebooted is The Neverending Story, a true cult classic. Yet there is now a deal on the table to produce multiple Neverending Story films in the coming years. 

The Neverending Story Was First A Best-Selling Novel

The film was originally released in 1984 to great acclaim. What many fans of the movie may not realize is that The Neverending Story was first a book, written by Michael Ende and published in Germany in 1979. The book was then translated into 45 languages and sold millions of copies around the world. It is Ende’s estate, Michael Ende Productions that will produce the film alongside See-Saw Films, a production company known for making great movies from literature. 

The Various Adaptations

After the success of The Neverending Story movie, two more movies were made, a sequel, The Neverending Story II, which completed the story told in the book, and The Neverending Story III, which departed entirely from the literature. A television series was also created, though many fans only saw the first film. The sequels and the series had nowhere near the same success. 

The Author Hated The Movie

One of the big bones of contention back in the 1980s around The Neverending Story was that the author of the book was unhappy with how the film turned out. Indeed, Ende filed a lawsuit to have the parts of the movie changed, and he announced that he wanted nothing to do with the end result. He considered the movie overly commercial and breaking with important themes of the book. 

A Beloved ’80s Fantasy

Still, those of us who loved movies like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal also loved The Neverending Story film. We followed Bastian, a young boy living in a big city who has just lost his mother, as he runs from bullies, ducking into a bookstore to hide. The shopkeeper warns Bastian that he won’t want to read this particular book, The Neverending Story. Of course, this makes Bastian all the more interested in the book, and he steals it, racing to his school and hiding out in the attic to read it. 

At this point, we go with Bastian into the story of a world, called Fantasia in the movie, that is being destroyed by The Nothing, an energy that completely devours everything in its path. The only way to defeat The Nothing, we are told, is for a young warrior boy, Atreyu, to find the cure for the ill empress, the ruler of Fantasia. Atreyu sets out on his noble steed, Artax, and adventure ensues. 

The New Movies Need To Honor Both The Book And The Original Film

In the book, Bastian must enter Fantasia, called Fantastica in the book, and rebuild the world with his own imagination. He is doomed to remain in the book until he realizes and completes his mission, living the story over and over — hence the name, The Neverending Story. There are a few other differences between the movie and the book, and many more complexities.

Hopefully, for Gen Xers who loved the movie and the book, and for all the generations who have fallen in love with one or both since, the producers, screenwriters, and directors of the upcoming films will find a way to honor both the original film and the book — allowing us all to once again enter The Neverending Story

Source: Deadline