Spiderwick Chronicles Season 1 Won't Adapt Just the First Book, Reveals Star (WonderCon 2024)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
The Spiderwick Chronicles, WonderCon

It was just confirmed at WonderCon 2024 which two books the upcoming Roku Channel television series The Spiderwick Chronicles will be bringing to life in its new adaptation.

The TV show's plot follows three children who discover a field guide to fairies and other magical creatures shortly after moving into the old Spiderwick Estate, which originally belonged to one of their late relatives, Arthur Spideriwick. After finding the field guide remains, the main characters learn that they need to find all the missing pages, or else both their world and the fairies’ could be in grave danger.

Previously, there was one live-action adaptation of this story in the form of a 2008 film starring Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, and Martin Short.

[ First Look at Disney+ Spiderwick Chronicles' Gorgeous Set (Photos) ]

The Spiderwick Chronicles Will Adapt These Two Stories

Christian Slater in The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Direct was in attendance at Wonder Con, where, during a panel for Roku Channel’s The Spiderwick Chronicles, actor Christian Slater (who plays the big bad Mulgarath) confirmed will adapt the fantasy franchise beyond just the first book.

While talking about how "thrilled" the actor was to join the new series, he confirmed that the first season will be "based on books one and five."

For those unfamiliar with the book series, the first entry is mostly the setup for the franchise, introducing readers to the unique world of Spiderwick and its colorful characters. The fifth book, titled The Wrath of Mulgarath, focuses on the villainous ogre Mulgarath and marks the final book in the main storyline.

It’s certainly an interesting choice by the creatives to pull from the first and last entry in the Spiderwick storyline while seemingly skipping over the stories that books two, three, and four have to offer.

As for whether audiences will need to be familiar with the original book series to enjoy the new show, Holly Black, one of the original authors of the book series and executive producer for the Roku show, confirmed audiences can go in blind:

"No, you absolutely do not need to know the books. They did a great job grounding you in what you need to know."

Black then shared how they were excited for the involvement of Aron Eli Coleite, who is the creator of the Roku series, due to familiarity with both the Spiderwick series and, out of all things, the many monsters in the Dungeon and Dragons franchise:

"And so his familiarity with that, I think, gave us a lot of confidence that we were all coming from the same place, and that he was going to respect the folklore and he's going to understand the heart of the story."

Original co-author and executive producer Tony DiTerlizzi added how it "was big for [them] that the folklore be maintained" in this new adaptation:

"That was big for us that the folklore be maintained. It wasn't a matter of like, on page 37, Jared Grace holds the scoop with his right hand, and you have him holding it in his left hand. It wasn't that kind of stuff for us. But we wanted that spirit of the books, and we really wanted the folklore that stretches back centuries to be consistent with what they were going to be creating for the show."

One of the biggest aspects of the series is how it tackles mental health, which makes up some of the key struggles of Lyon Daniels’ Jared Grace throughout the show.

DiTerlizzi admitted that while "a lot has changed in 20 years," the topic of mental health was "certainly on everyone’s mind" and was "absolutely worth exploring in these stories:"

"The books came out 20 years ago. A lot has changed in 20 years, some for the better, some not so much... But when we were having initial conversations about how to adapt these stories, and bring them forward, and make them present, mental health was certainly on everyone's mind and is very important. And Holly and I both felt that it was a theme that was absolutely worth exploring in these stories."

The author went on to explain how it was exciting to "return [the story] to a lump of clay and then reform it" for this new adaptation:

"So, it was incredibly important. And I think it's exciting to take a story and kind of, you know, return it to a lump of clay and then reform it and see if we can take another form and still be just as successful and, and carry the spirit of what, Holly and I tried to create all those years ago."

While the new show will be an adaptation of the original book series, there are new elements to the series that are completely original, such as Alyvia Alyn Lind’s Calliope, who is a portent of death itself and an ally to the evil ogre Mulgarath.

The actress behind the character teased that Calliope is "really interesting" and "has a lot of twists and turns throughout the series:"

"She's really interesting. And I don't want to give away too much about her because she has a lot of twists and turns throughout the series that you might not expect. That's all I can tease. But yeah, if you thought she was weird [in the first episode], just wait, because she gets ten times weirder."

Lind also admitted that the role was "very intimidating because [she was] the only one that didn’t have a character" who was "already set from the books:"

"And it was really fun to jump into her. Very intimidating because I was the only one that didn't have a character that was already set from the books. So, I kind of had to build her up from the ground and try to figure out exactly who she is and her arc in the show. And it was such an honor that they wanted me to be a part of this amazing book series."

Executive producer Tony DiTerlizzi admitted how he was particularly "excited about [Calliope]" because she was a completely original character. Whereas they had "live[d] with the rest of it for 20 years," Calliope was a completely new territory.

All eight episodes of The Spiderwick Chronicles drop on Friday, April 19, only on the Roku Channel app.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.