Disney Plus is giving this box office bomb another chance

Poster for Eragon, featuring Eragon and dragon
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Epic fantasy is flavor of the month on streaming services right now, and Disney Plus is hoping to cash in on the popularity of the genre with another live-action TV series. 

As first reported by Variety, a new show based on Christopher Paolini’s popular novel series, The Inheritance Cycle, is in early development at the streamer. Eragon, which was previously adapted into a 2006 feature film of the same name, counts among the four books set to form the basis of the Disney Plus production. 

The Inheritance Cycle tells the tale of a young farm boy who, after discovering a mysterious dragon egg, learns to become the fabled Dragon Rider, a powerful warrior destined to save the land of Alagaësia from its evil king.

Eragon, the first novel in Paolini’s series, was published in 2002 and swiftly followed by Eldest in 2005, Brisingr in 2008 and Inheritance in 2011. To date, the four books have garnered combined worldwide sales in excess of 40 million copies.

Despite the series’ literary popularity, though, 20th Century Studios’ big screen adaptation of Eragon was a critical and box office bomb on release in 2006, earning just $250 million from a reported budget of $100 million and sporting a dreadful a 16% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie did have a mightily impressive cast – Jeremy Irons, Rachel Weisz, Robert Carlyle and John Malkovich were among the names on its expensive call sheet – but audiences and reviewers alike were left unimpressed by Eragon’s lackluster writing, messy effects and generally uninspired take on an otherwise intriguing story.

In 2021, fans of Paolini’s novels voiced their support for a new adaptation of Eragon and its sequels using the hashtag #EragonRemake – and, evidently, Disney heeded the interest. The author himself recently thanked these campaigners by quoting a Variety tweet (below) confirming the new series’ development. 

There’s been no word yet on when Disney’s The Inheritance Cycle show will come to Disney Plus, nor any details on its length or cast. Given that it’s still in the “early development” stage, though, we’ve probably got a few years to wait until we see Eragon ride again on the big screen. But hey, perhaps a Disney Plus free trial might have returned by then.

Is this just fantasy?

Eragon (or The Inheritance Cycle) isn’t the only fantasy novel series getting the adaptation treatment at Disney Plus right now. A serialized take on Rick Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson franchise – which has already formed the basis of two 20th Century Studios movies – is also in the works at the fast-growing streaming service. 

Nor is Eragon the only dragon-inspired TV show in the headlines this month. HBO’s Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, is preparing for its hotly-anticipated release on August 21, while Amazon’s super expensive Prime Video series, The Rings of Power, begins streaming shortly after in September. 

As mentioned, Disney’s latest project is certainly not going to fight these upcoming shows for streaming real estate – it’s even possible that both House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power get second seasons before Eragon’s arrival – but Disney Plus bosses are clearly buying into the idea that fantasy fiction sells (even if only on TV...).

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.