〉Fox won the rights to the dystopian teen series in a bidding war in 2014
20th Century Fox is moving forward with its next YA sci-fi adventure, enlisting hot scribe Darren Lemke to pen ENDGAME: THE CALLING. Temple Hill Entertainment is producing the adaptation of the James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton novel, which hit shelves last October via HarperCollins.
Fox nabbed the rights to the novel in a $2 million deal amidst a studio bidding war last year, anticipating that the intended trilogy would pay off as their next Maze Runner. Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who have found great success in the YA genre, are spearheading the project, while Frey and Todd Cohen are executive producing. Mark Roybal and Sarah Schweitzman will oversee for Fox.
Sources tell me that the studio is now actively looking for a director to come aboard, with sights on an up-and-comer with a VFX background, like a Gareth Edwards, Tim Miller, or Robert Stromberg type.
Endgame: The Calling, which sounds like a natural marriage of The Hunger Games and Maze Runner, is set on another world where twelve races are trained for an impending battle, foretold throughout the ages. Keeping in classic YA form, the champions of war are between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, and once they become eighteen they then vacate their duty to the warrior behind them.
What became a tradition carried out for hundreds of years, with the reason of its inception long faded into memory, soon becomes a terrible reality when the soldiers of each bloodline are finally called upon to do battle, with the losing bloodlines to be exterminated. It’s then a race against time as the teen combatants fight to be the last race standing and ensure the survival of their clan/culture.
Fox and Temple Hill had impressive results with their Maze Runner series, the second installment of which will drop this September. With Endgame, the studio is trying to interject the proven Hunger Games/Divergent/Maze Runner formula, clearly looking to cash in on the massive success those franchises.
Thought not an outright cultural phenomenon like Hunger Games, the dystopian Endgame become a NY Times bestseller and multimedia hit, incorporating a virtual puzzle game to coincide with the novels and offering incredible prizes to players/readers. The second entry in the series, titled Sky Key, will debut this fall.
Lemke, who was primarily known for his work on the DreamWorks animated comedies Shrek Forever After and Turbo, has since branched out into live-action studio genre flicks, starting with Bryan Singer’s Jack The Giant Slayer for Warner Bros. Lemke’s a highly-sought after writer, having been tapped to script Dwayne Johnson’s superhero epic Shazam! at Warner Bros. and Dark Horse Entertainment’s animated supernatural adventure Beasts of Burden.
Lemke most recently penned the family horror/comedy Goosebumps, which stars Jack Black and bows this October, as well as the Aaron Paul-led drama The Parts You Lose.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor