Some unexpected news hit my Instagram feed today – one of my favorite book series in the world (check the molnija tattoo) is coming to the screen once again. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead has been picked up by the streaming service Peacock, thanks to Vampire Diaries alums, Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre aka Sheriff Forbes herself. This comes on the heels of the successful adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series on Netflix (can we announce season two already?), leading this nerd girl to believe we’ll start to get more of these announcements soon, just like the good ol’ Twilight days.
Vampire Academy has been adapted once before, with my girl Zoey Deutch at the helm, playing one of my absolute favorite female fictional characters, Rose Hathaway. It also featured other notable actors such as Cameron Monaghan, Lucy Fry, Sarah Hyland and Dominic Sherwood. I remember it vividly, even though it was all the way back in 2014. I went to a meet and greet with the cast at the Grove in LA, then an after party that featured a performance by Iggy Azalea in Hollywood AND I went to the red carpet premiere event, too.
I know a lot of people didn’t LOVE the movie and I totally understood that. There were things I really liked about it and there were things that just didn’t work. I think this series was trying to ride the coattails of Twilight’s success but it was too late – vampires were basically dead by 2014. Plus it just failed to capture what is so great about this series, and what makes it stand out beyond all the vampire novels at the time. I didn’t read this series for AGES because I hated the title but my friend, Jade, made me read them and within six months, I’d devoured the series plus the spin off series AND got a tattoo. These books are more than just your typical teen vampire world – they are dark and funny and heartbreaking and wonderful and the movie just didn’t capture that.
I do absolutely love Zoey Deutch’s casting as Rose, however – she was fantastic and I’m sad, knowing that she won’t be Rose this time around.
Vampire Academy didn’t work in 2014 for so many reasons. I think that the vampire craze had died down a lot and I think the wrong people were in charge of this movie. There was potential but it just felt like the wrong time.
It feels weird that these two women who are so well known for Vampire Diaries and its various spin offs are going to take another dive into a vampire world. It worries me because what if its done wrong? But also it feels like they could really potentially take these wonderful books and make them into something great. Apparently Julie Plec has been wanting to adapt the VA series for a long time so she certainly has the enthusiasm and passion for it and honestly, that’s really what we need to make it successful this time around. The tv show has the same producers as the movie had so let’s hope that the mix of new and old blood will turn out a good product.
I also think that vampires are coming back in style in a big way and so that if there ever was a good time to give it a try, it IS now. Midnight Sun – aka Twilight from Edward’s POV – came out last year and has enjoyed immense success. Tracy Wolff’s Crave series, with many supernatural creatures, including vampires, has been a chart topper AND Jennifer L Armentrout’s From Blood and Ash series features vampires and is HUGELY popular. Vampires have come back in a big way, at least in my book community, and this could bode well for a VA tv show.
I also think the success of Shadow and Bone definitely helps play into this. Prior to this, both YA fantasy and YA science fiction was NOT doing so great in adaptations. They weren’t being reviewed well or selling well and they were falling flat – YA contemporaries, however, were dominating. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great example of that and, if you’ve noticed, there have been a lot of adaptations of contemporary novels. I think the success of Shadow and Bone shows that there is an audience for YA speculative fiction and that it just needs to be done WELL and people will watch it, both fans and non fans. I’m hoping that with the success of the show, it’ll bring success to shows like Vampire Academy AND encourage film and TV makers to really put effort in when bringing these books to life.
As always, I’m super afraid to get my hopes up. This series means a lot to me and I’m always afraid to see the stories and characters I love so much get just mutilated on screen. It’s SO disappointing and it makes you think, man, I wish they just would have left it well enough alone.
That being said, there are so much about the books that I love so much and that I can’t wait to see come alive. I want to see the elemental magic that the Moroi vampires are capable of. I want them to explore the Spirit magic more and I want to see more of Rose and Lissa’s connection because I feel like that’s so integral to the story. I have high hopes for castings for Sydney and the absolutely love of my life, Adrian Ivashkov. I am hoping for some dark moments, great action scenes and brooding romances with Rose and Dimitri, Lissa and Christian and so on. There is SO much material to use and the fact that Julie Plec has been dying to make this happen means, hopefully, that she is a fan too and she knows the scenes and the characters and the things that make this series so good and she can help bring it to life in a way that will make fans happy but also bring more fans in as well.
Either way, I’m way stoked about this news. I did NOT see it coming AT all. It was a pleasant surprise and it makes me hopeful that I’ll be able to see it come to life very soon.