In the era of reboots, the 1984 cult classic The Neverending Story could be the next to be revived for modern audiences as studios bid for the rights.
The never-ending story can get the reboot treatment when studios bid for the rights. The German English-language film directed by Wolfgang Petersen follows Bastian, a bullied young boy who finds a mysterious book that transports him to a magical place called Fantasia. Lost in the pages, Bastian must stop a dark force called The Nothing from conquering the mystical land. The never-ending story was released in 1984 to general acclaim, earning $100 million worldwide. Based on a 1979 novel by late author Michael Ende of the same name, The never-ending story became cult and remains relevant in pop culture today.
Despite a mixed critical response at the time of its release which often focused on the film’s perceived lack of humor despite being a children’s film, the franchise spawned two sequels in the 90s: The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter and The Neverending Story III: Escape From Fantasia. However, sequels could not match the success or acclaim of the first, and the franchise was put to rest. Although there have been a few attempts over the decades to reboot the classic fantasy story, nothing has come of it due to rights issues. Now, it is possible that the time has come to The never-ending story go back.
Deadline reports that several streamers and studios are making multimillion-dollar bids to buy the property originally created by Ende. According to reports, the author’s estate is open to negotiations, which will hopefully allow the complex saga of the rights to the fantasy property to go smoothly. Studios in the US and Europe have put offers on the table, but talks are still in their early stages and not much else is known at this time.
The never-ending story has enjoyed impressive staying power in pop culture due to the ’80s nostalgia it inspires and its status as a cult classic. Its title track from Limahl even enjoyed a top hits revival when it was performed by Dustin and Suzie in stranger things season 3. So far, rumors of a remake seemed unsubstantiated and unlikely due to the complicated property rights history. However, recent news of a bidding war by studios and streamers means that a Unending Story renewal may be on the table. After the recent success of major fantasy franchises including the Lord of the Rings and game of thrones, it makes sense that studios would seek out the next story to captivate audiences.
Whether The never-ending story was to be rebooted, it remains to be seen whether the new story would focus on reimagining the original with modern technology or creating a more accurate and nuanced adaptation of the book. Not a fan of the film, Ende actually sued the production company of the original film (which only covered the first half of the book), citing it as kitschy melodrama. Although he lost the costume, it would be appropriate to consider the author’s original intentions with the work if a remake were to gain traction. Balancing novel content with cinephile nostalgia will be a challenge for any filmmaker tasked with reinventing The never-ending story, but it is an effort that will hopefully bear fruit. Until more is announced about a Never ending Story reboot, the original film remains a dark, enchanting, and joyous escape in the classic fantasy story.