For me, Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The film is inspired by Ransom Riggs's New York Times best seller; at first read, you know the novel is perfectly suited to the quirky, whimsical style of Tim Burton. But what many moviegoers may not have realized is that Miss Peregrine's is the beginning of a series of novels that span history. Will we get the whole series?
Is 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 2' Necessary?
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children introduces starring character Jacob Portman (played by Asa Butterfield in the film). In the style of Harry Potter, Jacob uncovers a hidden world that exists beneath the surface of our own; where Harry learned of wizards, Jacob discovers the 'Peculiars'. Here's the catch, though; Miss Peregrine's is only ever an introduction. In fact, the first book ends in a place where it's clearly setting up the sequels, Hollow City and Library of Souls. The story is simply incomplete without those sequels.
This always faces film directors with a real challenge. They can gamble on the film's success, leaving the story incomplete and hoping the movie will be popular enough to merit a sequel. Or, they can risk angering fans of the book by adapting it heavily, ensuring the film stands on its own two feet and gives moviegoers a complete experience. I don't yet know which approach Tim Burton has chosen to take, although the trailers alone suggest some scenes and dialogue have been heavily adapted. Meanwhile, several of the core characters have had their abilities switched up pretty dramatically.
Here's the catch, though; anyone who picks up Ransom Riggs's book will be struck by the fact that Miss Peregrine's introduces us to a fascinating world with unlimited potential. Where the Harry Potter books only really explored Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic (at least until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Riggs wastes no time in broadening his magical world. The sequel, Hollow City, immediately takes us on a trek across the planet; soon we're traversing the Welsh countryside, meeting ancient giants, and discovering that peculiardom isn't limited to human beings.
Miss Peregrine's was only ever intended to be the first chapter, introducing us to Riggs's peculiar ideas, and leaving us begging for more. Even if the script of Miss Peregrine's has been dramatically rewritten, this can never be more than an introduction. I can't help but consider a sequel to be necessary, even if the script is radically rewritten.
Will A 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' Sequel Happen?
The second book in the series, Hollow City, is very different to the first.
Where the first centers in on the island-based school of Miss Peregrine, the sequel spins out across the rest of the UK - and even transports the Peculiar children into the past. It takes the format of a traditional quest, with Jacob leading the Peculiars into the heart of Riggs's creative world as they seek to help Miss Peregrine — as the first book ends with her trapped in her bird-form!
It's certain that one film won't do justice to the tremendous range of characters introduced in the novel. These include:
- Emma, played by Ella Purnell. In the books, Emma is a pyrokinetic; in the film, she's able to manipulate air, control the weather, and create liquid bubbles.
- Olive, whose powers have been switched with Emma's; in the film, Lauren McCrostie will play Olive as a pyrokinetic.
- Millard, played by Cameron King, an invisible boy.
- Bronwyn, a super-strong child who's played by Pixie Davies.
- Hugh, a fascinating character who carries bees in his stomach, played by Milo Parker.
All these characters are thoroughly fleshed out in the sequel, with Hugh playing a major role. It's impossible to know whether or not a second film can follow this plot — it all depends how closely Burton cleaves to the plot of the first book. What's more, although interviews with Burton have consistently demonstrated his love for the project, he's given no indication that he'd even be interested in continuing the story.
The greatest question, of course, is whether the studio — 20th Century Fox — would sign up to a sequel. That will depend entirely on box office takings, and September has proved to be a tricky month to predict. Miss Peregrine's is expected to dominate this weekend, with predictions it will open at roughly $30 million in the domestic market. Given its reported $110 million costs (not including marketing), the film will need a strong second weekend in order to make a sequel likely.
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Due out on September 30th, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has the potential to be a Tim Burton classic. It's jam-packed with Burton's characteristic sense of the macabre, and is filled with that strange sense of wonder you associate with the man who reinvented Gotham in 1989's Batman. I truly hope the film is a success — I want to see more of this peculiar world!
Are you excited for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? Let me know in the comments!