Following on from the surprising success enjoyed by his last TV adaptation, 12 Monkeys (now in its fourth season), Terry Gilliam will next see his beloved 1981 fantasy Time Bandits turned into a series courtesy of Paramount Television. Interestingly, this new version will be available through Apple, who are in the early stages of developing their own streaming service to rival Netflix. If this is the kind of content they’re eyeing to develop, then we have much to look forward to, as their early attempts – Carpool Karaoke, Planet of the Apps – hardly filled many with much confidence.
For those unfamiliar with Gilliam’s Time Bandits, it tells the tale of history-obsessed young boy, Kevin (Craig Warnock), who crosses paths with six adventuring dwarves after they fall out of his wardrobe one night (it housed a portal; they weren’t in there doing anything odd…). Tagging along with the gang, stolen magical map in tow, their travels take them to various points in time, meeting historical figures such as Robin Hood (here played by fellow Python, John Cleese). Not only is it better than it sounds (promise!), but the concept very much owes itself to serialisation, so TV will make for a natural home for this new retelling.
Gilliam is on board as an executive producer, but it doesn’t appear he’ll actually be participating in the writing and/or directing, nor will co-writer Michael Palin sadly. It will be interesting to see whether the new creative team will build on the original film, perhaps even borrowing from the aborted Time Bandits II that was written in 1996, or whether this will simply be a complete reboot ignoring the original. We’re hoping for the former, but with the deal very much in the earliest of early stages, there’s scant details to be had. But as always, we’ll keep you in the loop as and when Time Bandits begins to take shape…