Dragonchoice does Dragonflight
We’re living in strange, unsettling, challenging times and, like many people, I’ve been looking for ways to process, manage and distract from it – and to help others to do the same.
So this is my small contribution: Dragonflight – A Pilot Screenplay.
A few months ago I decided to take a crack at adapting Pern as a TV show. Full disclaimer: I don’t have the option or the rights; I’m not entirely sure if the option’s lapsed again or if WB or someone else has it or if it’s reverted to the McCaffreys. This is 100% completely unofficial and not-for-profit. It’s still just fanfiction, in screenplay format.
I’ve only written the pilot and I’m unlikely to write any more than that, adapting the first part of Dragonflight plus a few elements of Masterharper of Pern, but I’ve thought in considerable detail about how I would shape a Dragonriders TV show. It includes alterations to characters, names and storylines. It changes certain things that quite simply wouldn’t fly in 2020. It even adds a few bits and bobs. It’s an adaptation, not a slavish transcription of action and dialogue from the text.
Some of you are going to hate it. I mean really hate it.
And that’s OK. I hated a lot of the changes made when A Song Of Ice And Fire was adapted into Game Of Thrones. Plenty of them still aren’t defensible in my view. But what GOT got right was that it reached a mainstream audience who’d never heard of the books. GRRM’s existing fans were going to watch the show whatever, but it lived and died on its ability to sell the world to new viewers. And it did, and it became arguably the biggest cultural phenomenon of the Noughties.
So that’s what I’ve aimed at with my adaptation of Pern. I’m not writing for the hardcore fans who’ll nitpick line by line every departure from the text (though you’re certainly welcome to do so; there are plenty of them). I’m writing to invite in a wider audience.
We may never see a Dragonriders of Pern TV show or movie. But if you enjoyed Dragonchoice, then I hope you might also enjoy my take on how a show might go, and in these difficult days of self-isolation and lockdown, if reading a screenplay can distract you for half an hour or an hour, then I’ll consider it a small bit of public service.
Ever-magnificent Dragonchoice artist Melanie Reynolds has illustrated the iconic scene from Dragonflight when Lessa visits the Ruathan watch-wher in the aftermath of her premonition of danger from the east.