As we enter 2022 we have a brand new and substantial slate of literary adaptations coming to big and small screens near you. Here are the titles we’re looking forward to (not counting continuations of shows like Shadow and Bone, coming back to Netflix for a second season later this year). Some are films, some miniseries, some may be streaming over multiple seasons. Some aren’t direct adaptations of specific books, but take place within the same fictional realm. From romance to horror to war stories (lots of war stories), set in worlds both familiar and fantastic (or even both), there’s bound to be something here to appeal to every kind of fan. Let us know if there are any you’re particularly looking forward to this year.
February 4 | trailer
Starring Alan Ritchson, Willa Fitzgerald, and Malcolm Goodwin
Based on the series by Lee Childs, the TV show dropping on Amazon Prime replaces the 2021 film’s poorly cast Tom Cruise with more-appropriately-sized-for-the-character Ritchson. The mix of action and comedy should keep fans of the book entertained.
Death on the Nile
February 11 | trailer
Starring Kenneth Branagh and half of Hollywood
The directorial “sequel” to Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express. If you liked his previous Agatha Christie adaptation, you will probably enjoy version 2.0.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
March 4 | official site
Starring Lucas Bravo, Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, and Jason Isaacs
Based on Paul Gallico’s novella, it’s a tale of a widowed cleaning lady in the 1950s who falls in love with a couture Dior dress and her determination to purchase it.
The Unbreakable Boy
March 18 | official site
Starring Zachary Levi, Amy Acker, and Peter Facinelli
One of the few based on real-life stories on this list, the film is an adaptation of Scott Michael LeRette’s memoir about his son with a rare brittle-bone disease.
Conversations with Friends
Starring Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, and Jemima Kirke
After finding success with Normal People in 2020, Hulu is back in the Sally Rooney business once again with another adaptation of her work. This 12-episode co-production with the BBC started production in spring of 2021, but we’re still waiting on an official release date. Expect more pretty young adults dealing with messy relationships, as Rooney fans already know.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
April 15 | trailer
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Mads Mikkelsen
Yup, Johnny Depp was fired and replaced with Mikkelsen in the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. After what has been a disappointing prequel series to the Harry Potter films, this single casting change has given me hope that the final film can deliver. It remains to be seen whether the public’s souring opinion of author J.K. Rowling will have any effect on the success of the latest adaptation of her work.
April 22 | trailer
Starring Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, and Kelly Macdonald
The release date is for U.K. viewers. In America, it may be later in the year before this adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book about the true story of British intelligent officers’ ridiculous scheme to trick the Nazis drops on Netflix. This is just the first of three WWII films on this list.
The Black Phone
June 24 | trailer
Starring Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, and Madeleine McGraw
This film is an adaptation of a short story by Joe Hill. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare infused with a paranormal twist and the creepiest Ethan Hawke performance to date set against a bleak 1970s suburbia backdrop. If I didn’t value my sleep, I’d definitely check it out.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, David Strathairn, and Harris Dickinson
The Delia Owens novel of the same title was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club in 2018, so it is no surprise she snatched up the title to produce. It’s Southern, mysterious, dramatic, and a massive best-seller; everything Witherspoon looks for in an adaptation.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
September 2 | teaser
Starring Morfydd Clark, Joseph Mawle, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and Robert Aramayo
Set a thousand years before Peter Jackson’s adaptations, the Amazon Prime TV series focuses on the “Second Age of Middle-earth.” If you are a Tolkien nerd, you know what that means. For everyone else, think Lord of the Rings but in smaller chunks.
Starring Cade Woodward, Spencer Treat Clark, Alfre Woodard, and William Sadler
From producer Gary Dauberman, who was a writer on the recent two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It, comes another adaptation of a King novel. For those who missed any of the previous incarnations of this story (it’s been made for both TV and film before), it’s about a town being taken over by vampires. It arrives in theaters just in time for Halloween.
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Starring Bryce Gheisar, Ariella Glaser, Hellen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson
The only film based on a graphic novel on the list, it tells the story of the grandmother of the bully in R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder, during Nazi-occupied France.
Starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, and Andre Braugher
Based on the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, written by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. It’s based on the true story of Kantor and Twohey’s investigation of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and the birth of the #metoo era.
Starring Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning
Not to be confused with the 2019 thriller of the same name, this one is based on Kristin Hannah’s historical-fiction novel about two sisters struggling to survive German occupation in France during WWII. Originally scheduled for release in 2021, it was pushed back a year due to a Covid-19 production shutdown. It feels like we have been waiting forever for this real-life sister duo to appear together on screen in this; here’s hoping the wait is over.
No Official Release Date Announced
All Quiet on the Western Front
Published in 1929, the classic novel was written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German infantryman, about his experiences during The Great War (now more commonly known as WWI). The film stars Daniel Brühl, Albrecht Schuch, and Sebastin Hülk. It has been supposedly bought by Netflix and is being heralded as one of the biggest-budget films from Germany yet.
This psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas is based on the 1957 novel by Patricia Highsmith. The film was scheduled for a January 2022 release, but fans are still waiting. If you enjoy watching loveless couples hide their affairs, secrets, and dead bodies, you’ll want to join those wondering when it will drop too.
Both Robert Zemeckis and Guillermo del Toro are separately tackling this classic tale by Carlo Collodi. For Disney+, Zemeckis is doing the computer-animated thing he loves with the actor he loves, Tom Hanks. Guillermo del Toro is adding his twisted spin to the tale in a stop-motion animation starring Ewan McGregor and Cate Blanchett.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s latest film starring Jesse Plemons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Brendan Fraser, and Robert De Niro is set to drop on AppleTV+ sometime this year. It’s a Western crime drama based on the book by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. The film’s title was shortened for obvious reasons.