The Neverending Story: Beloved Tale That Spawned a Cult Classic Is Getting a Live-Action Reboot

The Neverending Story — a beloved children’s classic written by the late author Michael Ende — is once again headed for the big screen. The internationally popular book is best known today as the basis for the 1984 cult classic film that spawned two sequels, animated and live action TV shows and even a documentary.

Now, four decades after the novel first appeared in theaters, Michael Ende Productions and See-Saw Films team up to give the story a more contemporary spin with a series of live-action features.

What We Know So Far

German author Ende’s The Neverending Story, or Die Unendliche Geschichte, was published in 1979. The now-classic took off, stealing the top spot on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list for 113 weeks, with 332 total weeks on the list. Since then, translations of Ende’s novel span 45 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide. Numerous films, television programs, games, and stage plays have drawn inspiration from Ende’s magnum opus.

The most notable of the fantasy novel’s adaptations is the 1984 film of the nearly the same name, The NeverEnding Story, which remains a cult favorite. Co-written and directed by Wolfgang Peterson, the film also had two sequels. Ende disavowed the adaptation, frustrated that it only explored the first half of his book, and filmmakers transported Falkor into the real world instead of Bastian deeper into Fantastica/Fantasia.

Now, in partnership with Michael Ende Productions, See-Saw Films is set to develop and produce a series of live-action films. Dr. Wolf-Dieter von Granau, Ende’s editor and estate executor, permitted the partnership after many years of Hollywood luminaries, including Stephen Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, seeking film rights.

See-Saw Films is no stranger to quality book-to-screen transitions. The production company is known for its silver screen adaptations of The Power of the Dog and Lion, as well as television programs Slow Horses and Heartstopper.

While reports indicate the upcoming release is a contemporary interpretation set in the modern world, the team behind the translation has yet to reveal how many films will comprise the remake. As kitschy reimaginings of 80s media continue to fare well among audiences, Gen Xers and fans of 80s aesthetics will relish the upcoming release. Popular programs, like Stranger Things — the science fiction program responsible for much of the 80s renaissance — made The NeverEnding Story ’s iconic mid-80s theme song go viral after it played on the show.

The First Film Adaptation of the Neverending Story

Wolfgang Petersen’s 1984 fantasy film, produced by Dieter Giessler and Bernd Eichinger, was his first English-language release. The film stars Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Patricia Hayes, Sydney Bromley, Tami Stronach, Moses Gunn, and Gerald McRaney. Alan Oppenheimer gave voices to Gmork and Falkor, among others.

The film’s story follows 10-year-old Bastian Balthasar Bux. A friendless outcast, Bastian escapes into a bookshop to hide from bullies. There, he meets the eccentric and annoyed Mr. Coreander, who is reading the fantasy bookThe Neverending Story.

Avid reader Bastian is immediately taken by the novel despite the bookseller’s warnings. Bastian steals the book and hides in his school’s attic to read. He encounters the land of Fantasia, a boundless world made of people’s imagination, and the Childlike Empress who rules it.

He discovers that the Empress is ill, and the mysterious, dark forces called the Nothing are consuming all of the land. Thus, Atreyu, a young warrior, sets out to find a cure, hoping that curing the Empress would solve all of Fantasia’s woes. Atreyu goes through a series of adventures and battles great obstacles from then on. He has Falkor, the Luck Dragon, on his side. They go to the Southern Oracle, who reveals that the only way to save the Empress is to have a human child give her a name.

Soon after, Atreyu battles the wolf Gmork and the beast reveals to Atreyu that the Nothing represents the loss of hopes and dreams in the human world. Finally, Atreyu returns to the Ivory Tower, where the Empress lives. By then, only a few fragments of Fantasia remain. When Atreyu apologizes for not finding the cure, the Empress reveals that he has brought the savior. This is when Bastian realizes they are talking about him.

The Empress begs him to give her a name, and he settles on Moon Child. Bastian then awakens beside the Empress, who gives him a single grain of sand — the only remnant of Fantasia. With the help of his imagination, he recreates the land from scratch.

Bastian also brings Falkor to the real world to terrify and chase away his bullies. However, that is only the fantastic tale ’s beginning; the film ends with the promise that the young boy has many more adventures to come before he returns to his own world.

Now we may finally see those adventures. After all, it IS the Neverending Story.

Ananyaa Bhowmik | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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