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Netflix's Redwall Adaptation: 5 Elements From Brian Jacques' Books That We Hope to See

"Travel with me to Redwall in Mossflower country..."

Redwall TV series

For those who didn’t grow up reading them, British author Brian Jacques’ Redwall series is a massive, 22-book saga of anthropomorphic animals fighting epic battles of good-and-evil.

The books, which were published from 1986 to 2011, the last one seeing posthumous release just months after its author’s passing, were aimed mostly at elementary and middle-grade readers, though they have an undeniable appeal for adults as well, and often explore dark and serious elements. 

Despite the popularity of the series, however, the Redwall books have only ever made it to the screen once before, in a three-season animated series that aired on public television in the United States beginning in 1999. 

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Recently, Netflix announced that they have acquired the rights to the entire library of Redwall books. The streaming giant has plans for an animated original movie adaptation of the first book in the series, Redwall, as well as an animated TV series adapting the adventures of the books’ legendary Martin the Warrior, whose exploits begin in Mossflower, the second book in the series. Patrick McHale, creator of the beloved Over the Garden Wall, is overseeing the projects.

Details of the new animated movie and TV series are sparse, and we don’t yet know which of the books Netflix intends to pursue, what storylines they might involve, or even what form of animation the proceedings will take – many are anticipating CGI but hoping for hand-drawn, to fit the storybook tone of the book series. 

That being said, here are five elements from Brian Jacques' books that we know we'd like to see in the Redwall series/film. Without further ado...Redwall! Eulalia! Give 'em blood and vinegar!

Warriors That Are Tiny in Stature, Big in Heroism

Martin of Redwall
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  • Martin of Redwall. 

While there are plenty of heroic animals in the books – from hares and badgers to hedgehogs and moles – mice tend to hold center stage for much of the series.

Those of us who grew up on the adventures of brave mouse heroes like Martin, Matthias, and others can’t wait to see some of our favorites take up those tiny swords against (often much) larger foes in swashbuckling action sequences!

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Interlocking Storylines

The books were not published in chronological order. The first in the series tells of the adventures of the brave mouse Matthias, who helps to defend the eponymous Redwall Abbey against the army of a one-eyed rat named Cluny the Scourge. 

Yet the exploits of an earlier mouse hero, the legendary Martin the Warrior, founder of the abbey, cast a heavy shadow over the events of Redwall. The second book in the series is a prequel, showing Martin’s arrival in Mossflower Woods, and subsequent books jump around in time in similar ways, with minor characters in one book becoming major characters in later ones, and vice versa. 

While it would be easy for an animated series to become too bogged down in such minutia, we hope that Netflix’s Redwall keeps this rich internal history, and exploits it to good effect.

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Epic Battles With Personal Stakes

Redwall Battle
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  • Martin the Warrior book cover. 

Like many fantasy series, Redwall is no stranger to epic battles. Redwall Abbey comes under siege more than once, and there are as many daring battle scenes in the Redwall series as there are in Lord of the Rings, even if the combatants here are mice and hares and rats and birds. While some of these battles are for the fate of whole groups, others have much more personal stakes – and some combine the two. 

For instance, in Mattimeo, the third book in the series and a direct sequel to Redwall, Matthias strives to rescue his son Mattimeo from slavers who have captured him and numerous other children.

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Not all the memorable conflicts occur across such a grand scale as a pitched battle to save the abbey or overthrow an underground kingdom, however. 

The first book alone features memorable duels between Matthias and the king of the sparrows who live on the abbey’s roof, as well as an unforgettable confrontation between Matthias and the deadly serpent, Asmodeus Poisontongue, who has stolen the sword of Martin the Warrior. 

These conflicts, both large and small, could leap from the printed page into vividly-realized adventures on the screen that would hold audiences of all ages captivated, whether they grew up with the Redwall books, or are growing up now with the Netflix series.

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A Few Haunting Images

Redwall Doomwyte
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  • Book cover of Doomwyte

Sure, Redwall is a series aimed primarily at kids, but as anyone who has ever been a kid can attest, things aimed at children are often the spookiest, eeriest, and most haunting things around, and Redwall is occasionally no exception. Later books introduce assassin characters, slavery, and more, and even the first book has horrifying figures like Asmodeus around to give us nightmares.

With the creator of the often-eerie Over the Garden Wall at the helm, we’re looking forward to seeing the Redwall series recreate some of the poignant and atmospheric moments from the books that still haunt us today, such as the genuinely distressing end of the villainous Tsarmina Greeneyes at the end of the second book.

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Redwall cookbook cover
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  • Photo Credit: Image from Redwall Cookbook cover

Ask anyone what they remember most about Redwall, and the answer has a good chance of being, “the food.” 

As is the case with a great many fantasy series, Redwall spends a lot of time describing sumptuous – and often delicious – feasts that the series’ various animals engage in; from simple things like vegetable soup and carrot cake, to more complex fare like vegetable casserole à la foremole and Great Hall Gooseberry Fool.

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In fact, the feasts of Redwall are so central to the books, and so beloved by their readers, that they inspired a couple of books of their own. 

In 1996, Jacques and illustrator Christopher Denise published the first Redwall picture book, a ballad called The Great Redwall Feast, while 2005 saw the publication of The Redwall Cookbook, which followed a year in the life of kitchen mouse Sister Pansy as she becomes head cook, and featured a number of recipes for creating some of the series’ signature dishes. 

A Redwall animation just wouldn’t be the same without plenty of focus on all that delectable food…