Mortal Engines is a 4-novel series, written by prolific British author Philip Reeve. The stories fall into the steampunk/fantasy genre and focus on a dystopian future in which London is ruled over by Nikola Quercus – a man who installs wheels and engines on the city in order to enable it to roam the earth in search of resources. Earth has been turned into a wasteland of sorts, in which some cities are like London and others fight to prevent such metropolises from traveling around, stealing resources. As of this writing there’s no confirmation on whether Jackson and Universal are planning to adapt the entire series, but as with all franchises, their fate depends almost entirely on box office revenues of the first installment.
While Mortal Engines does sound interesting, some Peter Jackson fans might be wishing that the Oscar-winning director was instead investing more of his time in the follow up to 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Both Steven Spielberg and Jackson have repeatedly assured fans that The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun is on its way, though the specifics of the animated film and its arrival remain very much a mystery. Tintin likely has a much broader fanbase than that of Mortal Engines, but for whatever reason, right now the latter seems to be more of a priority.
With the storytelling abilities of Jackson, Boyens and Walsh together again, there’s a very good chance that Universal will have a new franchise on their hands with Mortal Engines. There have been concerns that tasking a first-time director with a project as potentially huge as this one is quite risky, but Jackson has plenty of experience creating and organizing a franchise. It might be a while before we see him behind the camera once more, but for now Mortal Engines looks like a great opportunity for the talented filmmaker to wow us all yet again.
Mortal Engines opens in theaters on December 14, 2018