Taika Waititi heading to Apple for Time Bandits series
The pilot of the series, which was announced July 2018 when Anonymous Content, Paramount Television, Media Rights Capital and Apple acquired the rights to a series adaptation, will be co-written and directed by Waititi and executive produced by Gilliam, Waititi and Dan Halsted.
Co-written by Gilliam and his fellow Monty Python-er Michael Palin, the original film focused on an imaginative and clever young boy named Kevin who crosses paths with a group of time-traveling dwarves. He joins up with them in their quest to use a map of the universe to travel through loopholes in time and rob rich historical figures including Napoleon (Ian Holm), Robin Hood (John Cleese) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery). The film was a surprise smash hit, grossing $42 million dollars on a $5 million dollar budget and becoming one of the top-ten grossers of 1981, outpacing other fantasy epics like Clash of the Titans and Excalibur. Despite this success the film never received a followup, although it influenced such properties as Harry Potter and Bill & Ted.
In 1996 Gilliam and frequent co-writer Charles McKeown penned two drafts of a script for a direct sequel titled Time Bandits II, which involved female bandits and a little girl protagonist at the turn of the millennium meeting up with the likes of Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc and a group of pirates. In 2001 Gilliam and McKeown collaborated on a two-part TV miniseries sequel for Hallmark Entertainment, which scrapped their first sequel idea and picked up with the original film’s protagonist Kevin (originally played by Craig Warnock) now in his mid-thirties. Neither the theatrical sequel nor the TV miniseries ever went past early planning stages. Time Bandits is technically the first in Gilliam’s loose Dreamers trilogy, dealing with a fantasist as young boy, followed by a grown man in Brazil and an old man in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
This will mark the second time a Gilliam film has been translated to TV after his 1995 hit 12 Monkeys was made into a hit TV series on Syfy, which lasted four seasons.