How Did ‘Cursed’ Change From Book to Screen? Tom Wheeler Previews His Netflix Series
Netflix’s upcoming fantasy quest Cursed is spinning Arthurian legend in a new direction.
The drama — great for Game of Thrones or The Witcher fans — dives into the tale of Nimue (pronounced “Nim-way”), the future Lady of the Lake. Nimue, a powerful and rejected young woman, “[has an] extraordinary destiny that will see her rise from witch to warrior to sorceress to queen,” according to series co-creator and author Tom Wheeler (who worked alongside illustrator Frank Miller to create the 2019 YA book which serves as the series’ inspiration).
13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford is playing the strong heroine, who embarks on an adventure in the 10-episode season — with handsome knight Arthur (Devon Terrell) in tow — to deliver an ancient, mystical sword to the magician Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård).
“Nimue is a restless, rebellious, strong-willed young woman,” Wheeler explains. Born into a Fey race called the Sky Folk, Nimue has a special connection to the power of her ancestors, making her unique among her clan. The co-creator describes her abilities as “an elemental power — a command over the trees and the fire and the wind that is shocking and often beyond her control.”
“This has made her a source of fear and suspicion among her own people,” Wheeler adds. “They say she is cursed.”
At the start of the series, Nimue is ready to ditch her judgmental clan and a controlling mother. But after her village is destroyed by Red Paladins, a group of brutal religious extremists, her mother entrusts her with a mission to get a magical sword to Merlin. From there, the journey gets really wild.
Adapting the part-illustrated novel was particularly unusual, according to Wheeler. “Frank and I were able to continue the storytelling process, and the discovery process, uninterrupted, directly into the 10-episode series,” he notes. “As we began to break down the book chapters and images and shape them into episodes, some events shifted back or were moved forward. Plus, we found avenues and opportunities to expand on the world and our characters’ backstories. This will be most noticeable as it relates to Arthur, Morgana [Shalom Brune-Franklin] and Sister Iris [Emily Coates]. We were conscious not to contradict the novel, but we did try to fill in areas the book had not fully explored.”
Also good news for book fans, Wheeler teases: “One character’s life was spared through the passionate lobbying of the writers!” Can you guess who?
Cursed, Series Premiere, Friday, July 17, Netflix