First, it was the ’80s reboots. Now, young adult and teen re-adaptations are having their moment of resurgence because we’re all saps for nostalgia. And perhaps rightly so, since some of the more impactful franchise adaptations were not exactly hits among fans. Examples that come into mind right now are the Percy Jackson movies which starred Logan Lerman and “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower as leads. In the now immortal words of Toni Collete on “Hereditary,” “And what a waste…” of star power.
Most of us are hoping that Hollywood executives are now more discerning when it comes to making remakes. They probably realized by now (a few years after the fall of the YA movie boom) that it isn’t enough to hire good-looking actors. At the very least, the script has to be good if it doesn’t plan on being faithful to the original. It’s an affront to young adults (and to anyone who enjoys the genre) to assume that they’re not critical viewers who would very much mind getting served haphazardly chopped up versions of their favorite stories. Maybe Hollywood will get it right this time around.
Similarly, there are creators who have been expanding franchises with prequels and sequels with varying degrees of success. Interestingly, some use this opportunity to add diversity to their narratives. (Meanwhile, Potterheads are begging J.K. Rowling to let her magical world rest. She has been making comments regarding the series that she doesn’t include in her books but claim are canonical. This includes Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s intense sexual relationship.) The move is as big of a gamble as a remake.
Here are our most awaited young adult and teen adaptations that are set to be released in the near future. Because let’s face it, we’ll be watching these whether or not they’ll end up meeting our expectations.
Logan Lerman was a cultural reset all on his own but we all have to admit that he just wasn’t right for the role of 12-year-old demigod Percy Jackson. After a lot of campaigning from the fandom, author Rick Riordan and his wife Becky are now involved in every aspect of adapting the original five-book Percy Jackson series for Disney+. Riordan has been very open about how much he despises the 20th Century Fox film series. In an open letter for teachers posted on his website, he wrote “Now a plea: Please, for the love of multiple intelligences, DON’T show those ‘Percy Jackson’ movies (ironic quotes intentional) in your classroom.” Who could blame the guy after Fox added ridiculous sexual innuendos in a movie with a young fanbase?
The couple didn’t reveal much but they promised a fantastic and exciting ride in their Twitter announcement. Lerman even tweeted his support and said that he hopes “it gets the adaptation the books deserve.” The actor has been fancasted as Poseidon by a number of Twitter users. Will the Riordans give us the “Harry Potter” experience? Will a generation of new fans grow alongside Percy, Annabeth and the rest of the gang? We’re guessing that’s what the Riordans have in mind. In the meantime, we’ll be retaking a quiz to find out which Greek god we’re descended from.
Like the original television series, HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” reboot is going to be based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s novels. It’s logline reads, “Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media—and the landscape of New York itself—has changed in the intervening years.” It’s an interesting concept that could potentially go up against “Euphoria.”
While Blair and Serena aren’t the It Girls of the story anymore, the showrunners are keeping the door open for any original cast members to reprise their roles. With Kristen Bell still narrating, it’s still going to send you to a nostalgia trip.
Another promise we got from writer and producer Joshua Safran is more diversity. According to Deadline, the new cast consists of Tavi Gevinson, Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat, Zión Moreno and Emily Alyn Lind. We’re still on the fence about this diversity claim since the main appears similar to the original (predominantly white). Guess we’ll have to see once it comes out this year.
This is what dreams are made of. Another Disney+ offering is a Lizzie McGuire revival. Yes, Hillary Duff and Adam Lamberg, who are now in their 30s, are returning as Lizzie and Gordo. The pilot script is said to acknowledge the “the existence of sex with cheating as a central plot point.” So it looks like the show will be catering to its original fans than a new generation of young adults.
Duff previously took to Instagram to challenge Disney to allow the show to explore more mature themes. With a different creative direction, it probably won’t be anything like the show that some of us grew up with but we’re liking how gutsy it is for getting Lizzie her dream job and for wanting to reintroduce her as a woman of her own.
This one isn’t a movie or TV series adaptation but we’re hoping it will end up having one. Who wasn’t a Twihard a few years ago? If you weren’t, I’m sure the “Twilight” phenomenon or its cast at least intrigued you. Expect to catch a bit of that “Twilight” mania back because Stephenie Meyer is planning to bring us back to where it all began. The author revealed in a letter to her fans that “Midnight Sun,” a companion novel to “The Twilight Saga” in Edward’s POV, is finally getting released in August.
Perhaps to the dismay of Robert Pattinson (who has joked about how he hated portraying Edward in interviews), we’re getting more of the brooding telepathic vampire who fell in love with a girl who literally smells delicious to him. It would be great to get more details about his life before he met Bella so we could have more depth to his lovesick character. It would also be interesting for the new book to address how Edward’s stalker behavior is a red flag.
Young adult stories are being brought back in multiple ways. Does this mean the genre is being taken more seriously? Maybe we’ll find out the answer once we get to see these adaptations.