{TB EXCLUSIVE} Universal Is Developing An “Animorphs” Movie Based On The Bestselling Book Series



  〉The popular book series was previously adapted into a show on Nickelodeon

Fresh off our report that Sony is developing a Goosebumps sequel, it’s now been confirmed to us here at The Tracking Board that Universal is intending to reboot another beloved ’90s book series. That’s right, is currently in , with producing via her shingle. is overseeing the project for the .

Animorphs marks the latest in ’90s titles to see a big screen adaptation, with Paramount even planning a Nicktoons crossover movie. The bestselling sci-fi book series, written by and published by Scholastic, follows a group of teens who come across a crashed spaceship with a dying alien being inside.

The teens are then individually granted an extraordinary gift, the ability to shape-shift into any animal that they touch. Codenaming themselves Animorphs (combo of “animal morphers”), they use their powers to combat a secret alien invasion of creatures that possess the bodies of humans.

The , which became instantly recognizable due to covers featuring a person transforming into an animal, was a success, leading to companion novels and spanning an impressive 54 entries in the series. Animorphs also gained notoriety from the 1998 series that aired on Nickelodeon, which actually starred X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore and Royal Pains‘ Paulo Costanzo.


Forte is the perfect person to shepherd the adaptation, as Silvertongue was specifically formed to adapt Scholastic’s vast library of titles under a three-year deal with Universal.

Forte also served as an executive on the original Anirmorphs series, as well as on Goosebumps, Clifford, and The Magic School Bus. Forte is currently producing Sony’s Goosebumps film, which bows on October 16th, as well as a Clifford the Big Red Dog adaptation for Universal.

Our sources confirm that the is now looking for a writer to their take on the film, which is said to put a heavy focus on the sci-fi nature of the . We’re also told that the is also interested in finding a capable writer/director with a knack for sci-fi, with Attack The Block scribe/director Joe Cornish and Ender’s Game writer/director Gavin Hood described as a template.

It’ll be interesting to see how Animorphs fares in a contemporary landscape, but with careful updating, the franchise has the potential to stand out in a crowded market of dull, conventional dystopian YA properties.


 | Associate Editor


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  2. Collin Pulmano on

    Don’t mess it up. Don’t make it corny. These are kids sacrificing their innocence to save the human race. Jake is hard, Rachel is crazy, Cassie is disillusioned, Ax is obsessive, Marco is shrewd, and Tobias is a human stuck as a hawk. This ain’t a candyland funfest. This is serious, psychologically damaging experiences that are loved and obsessed over by thousands. Look at serious directors. Grant Heslov, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, and Alphonso Cuaron are good examples. Grant, because he can grasp the political and social nature of the situation (Men Who Stare at Goats), Guillermo cuz he’s awesome (Pacific Rim, very underrated), Robert, well, do I really need to explain, and Alphonso because he both saved Harry Potter and made Gravity. I understand they are expensive, but if you can at least get one, even if it is just as a consult. I’m sure they know some great, inexpensive directors that can get the job done. Mostly, talk to K.A. and talk to the fans.

    • Agreed! It is dark and never should have been marketed to kids. Helped me through my fathers death though.

      Also start with the Hork-Bajir Chronicles. Or, for God’s sake, at least the Andalite Chronicles.

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  4. I beg Universal to go to the source material. This isn’t some story you can write off as a “rowdy sci-fi romp” or a “secret war filled with teenage drama”. Animorphs is nothing less than a character-driven sci-fi interpretation of Apocalypse Now, and it needs to be treated with the respect that the source material (not the publisher’s marketing team) is entitled.

    There are iconic moments of violence that need to be included for the sake of character development. The worst possible thing they can do for this story is to turn it into a teenage drama tale just because of the characters’ ages. The point of the entire story is that these kids DON’T get to grow up normally. You CAN’T relate to them on any level. They go to war and collectively kill thousands of people, and they make a huge deal about the innocent getting caught in the crossfire with every death. It’s not the kind of plot point you can tip-toe around.

    I’m weary of this movie’s success, given that it’s the same EP as the TV show where they did exactly that.

  5. Try to cast an actually multiracial kid as Ax’s human morph this time, okay? No more of this nonsense 90s whitewashing, lol.
    That said I’m tentatively optimistic! The series had its serious points but it also definitely had its sillier moments. No one wants a 100% grimdark srs srs srs reboot, that’s just boring.

    • Normally I roll my eyes at this whining about whitewashing SJW tumblr shit, but there is literally a DNA reason Ax should be, he took his morph from all the other Animorphs, except Tobias, of course, so he really should be. I liked Paulo Costanzo as Ax though, he was pretty good.

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  7. Instead of busting out cgi, make them transform off camera so as to add to the fact that THIER abilities are something kept secret.

    Easy first scene, mom and kid enjoying nature, mom looks away, kid sees animal, mom looks back kid is animal but she can’t tell and thinks he disappeared. And there you have the single mom who knows all along then later reviews to older kid that she knew all along and great fear the kid has for his secret is levied and he has found knew courage to accomplish the plot. Yay
    Overused cgi will fuck this movie up and leave no suspense.

  8. This is insanity. This…what…this? My dreams are finally coming true but I’m scared they’re gonna suck. And I mean SUCK. Suck like ‘The Last Airbender’ kind of suck. I’m excited, but now I’m cautiously excited what with Gavin Hood’s name attached. (He didn’t do the X-Men franchise any favors, okay?). I agree with other posters, go to the source material and make it serious. Don’t water it down, don’t white wash, don’t change names. Make the source material your movie Bible and try not to change too much. A few changes I can deal with, but too many is an injustice to the fans childhoods. The fans that have waited, literally, decades for this. I started reading Animorphs when I was eleven. I am now thirty and have become a fan again, being just as passionate about it as I was as a kid. I want it done right.

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  10. Oh dear… given what happened with the live-action Nickelodeon series which most fans love to pretend doesn’t exist, I can only pray they don’t screw this up. No disrespect meant to anyone involved in the making of that series, but yeesh… oh well, at least it helped launch Shawn Ashmore’s career, so there’s that.
    Ironically, I had also written my own thoughts about this a while back… http://stellarstylus.blogspot.com/2015/02/animorphs-animated-series.html
    One big question from me: Will it take place in the 1990s like the books themselves or the present day? (Seriously, it would be harder for the kids to get away with morphing and sneaking around with cameras and cell phones everywhere.)

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  22. Oh please. OH PLEASE…DON’T mess this up. Me and my brother have been saying for years that an Animorphs movie would be amazing. (I’ve always dreamed of playing Cassie but that would be really selfish of me. I’m tall and thin and I have long hair. Complete opposite of her…bummer.) But this can either go very well or horribly wrong. This story is loved by millions and we all know how it should look. One degree too hot or too cold and there will be a lot of disappointed 20-somethings all over the world. Just please do it right. There is depth and emotion and struggle and triumph inside the Animorphs universe. Don’t make this some candypop movie that spawns more Zac Efrons and Taylor Lautners.

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