One Of The Most Anticipated Fantasy Series Adaptations Was Just Canceled

A Lionsgate deal to adapt the YA fantasy classic The Song of the Lioness has been canceled.

By Britta DeVore | Published

It’s been a great year for fans of the fantasy genre, with Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings prequel series The Rings of Power and HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, taking a big bite out of viewership records. Unfortunately, the dream has ended for one up-and-coming YA novel-turned-on-screen adaptation as Tamora Pierce’s Tortall Universe has been given the ax by Lionsgate. The Song of the Lioness author herself took to her own Facebook account to let anxious fans in on the news.

song of the lioness

In her post, the woman behind titles including The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and many more in the book series that spanned across two different universes, shared her warning for those who may have seen old news being spread online. The initial report of Lionsgate’s takeover of the Tortall Universe was announced by Deadline in the post-COVID world of 2019. In her Facebook message, the author informed her followers that the news was “a couple of years old” adding that the “deal fell through.” Since the news was first shared three years ago, mum’s been the word, but as they say no news is good news, so for many fans, the possibility of the production moving forward was still very much a reality. 

At the beginning of it all, Pierce’s giant collection of titles was picked up in a deal between Lionsgate and Playground Entertainment – the production team behind such blockbusters as Little Women and King Lear. The on-screen series was going to be a first for Playground, who outside of film, have attached their names to the Broadway stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. From the initial sounds of it, things would have kicked off with the series’ first book, The Song of the Lioness, and would have continued all the way through.

If the series planned to follow Pierce’s books, the first installment, which would have followed the book The Song of the Lioness, would introduce audiences to a fantasy world not completely unlike that of Middle Earth or Westeros where lords, ladies, and knights walked amongst sorcerers and several others who held magical abilities. The stories centered around the heroes of the series who were predominately girls as they took on military threats, pirates, and countless other evil forces threatening the safety of their kingdom. With such an extensive catalog of tales, the sky really was the limit for Lionsgate.

As we mentioned at the top, the series’ cancellation is especially confusing when you look at binge-able and fan-favorite medieval fantasy shows that have been drawing in audiences by the droves over the last few years. Even outside the fantasy genre, female-focused YA tales including Nancy Springer’s book-turned-movie, Enola Holmes have gained incredible traction, proving that viewers enjoy seeing a younger generation of women taking the lead. Sadly, at this point, it looks as though we’ll never be given the on-screen introduction to the characters from the books including The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, and all the others stemming from the colorful and creative universes created by Tamora Pierce.