Radar Pictures has secured the television rights from the Valdemar literary universe, the best-selling novels that established Mercedes Lackey as a fantasy tour-de-force and her Kingdom of Valdemar as a place millions of readers rush to return to again and again. The drama series will be developed as the first adaptation of Lackey’s Valdemar Universe, spanning 58 books over more than three decades. The first season will be adapted from the “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy, comprised of “Magic’s Pawn”, “Magic’s Price” and “Magic’s Promise”.
As the first adaptation of her work gets underway, Lackey beamed: “I have hoped for decades that “The Last Herald-Mage” would be adapted for television. Now that Radar has optioned the trilogy, I am nearly breathless with excitement! I could not have chosen a better organization to take my work in hand, and Kit and Bri, the producers, absolutely know both their stuff and the material. I love the fact that this is going to be a longform series: episodic TV gives the story all the room it needs. I hope our fans will be as thrilled to see their favorite characters come to life as I am.”
The project is a collaboration between Radar Pictures and writers Kit Williamson (Emmy-nominated creator of Netflix’s LGBTQ comedy series “EastSiders”) and New York Times best-selling author Brittany Cavallaro (the “Charlotte Holmes” series). Williamson and Cavallaro, who bonded in school over the Valdemar books, will write and produce the series. Anthony Tringali, Maria Frisk and Michael Napoliello will produce for Radar.
Lackey is one of the top fantasy science fiction writers of today. She is the #1 New York Times best-selling American fantasy author behind the “Heralds of Valdemar” series, the “Elemental Masters” series, the “500 Kingdoms” series and many more. She has published more than 130 novels in less than 30 years.
Additionally, Lackey is known for being a trailblazer in exploring gender and sexuality in her fantasy novels. She is recognized for unabashedly introducing themes of gender politics into fantasy. The groundbreaking, Lambda Award-winning “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy centers around Vanyel, the first openly gay heroic protagonist in the fantasy genre.
Vanyel, the persecuted and abused son of a Valdemaran noble, finds acceptance at Haven when he is Chosen by the Companion Yfandes. Companions like Yfandes are magical horse-like beings with the power to bond with their Chosen and trigger the potential for psychic abilities—and magic.
But Vanyel discovers other things about himself at Haven as well…. He discovers love in an unexpected place, and loses it, and nearly his own life. With Yfandes and his aunt, Herald Savil, he will travel to the home of the mysterious Hawkbrothers in search of healing and training and will grow from a troubled and heartbroken Trainee to become the most powerful Herald-Mage in the history of Valdemar—and the one hope for Valdemar against an implacable foe bent on eradicating magic from the Kingdom entirely.
“Vanyel in “The Last Herald Mage” series was one of the first gay characters I encountered, and as a recently out 16-year-old I can’t stress enough the impact that these books had on me. The “Valdemar” series was far ahead of its time in the portrayal of LGBTQ characters, and Lackey’s writing afforded them a level of depth and complexity that is still very rare, especially in genre storytelling,” Williamson said in a statement.
Of their longtime friendship and love of Lackey’s universe, Cavallaro shared, ““It’s an absolute dream to be adapting the Valdemar books alongside Radar Pictures and Kit Williamson. Twenty years ago, Kit and I became friends at boarding school, and bonded over our love for Mercedes Lackey’s work, and we’re so excited to begin the process of bringing it to the screen.”
The series will be executive produced by Radar’s Ted Field, whose 30 years in the film industry have led to worldwide box office grosses topping $8 billion. He has produced more than 60 films, including the Jumanji franchise, the Riddick franchise,
Amityville Horror (2005), The Last Samurai (2003) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). He is an executive producer on “The Wheel of Time”, the upcoming Amazon Prime Video fantasy series based on Robert Jordan’s novels.
Speaking of the upcoming collaboration, Radar partner Michael Napoliello shared, “Radar is honored to bring this series to life for its many fans.”