TV & Movies

Chaos Walking Is Based On A Book Series With Plenty More Story Left To Tell

But the Covid box office means chances of a franchise are likely slim.

Nick Jonas in 'Chaos Walking,' via Lionsgate.

More than three and a half years after it began filming, Chaos Walking has finally been released. Whether it was worth the wait is up for you to decide, but with a cast that includes Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, and David Oyelowo, and direction from Doug Liman, it's at least worth a gander. Chaos Walking is based on a book called The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness; it’s the first book in the author's Chaos Walking series. The main trilogy of the novels tells a compelling and complex science-fiction story, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's one that will be told on film — at least not in full.

The odds of Chaos Walking getting a sequel are likely slim. Given that the movie more or less sat on the shelf for three years and had to go through extensive reshoots didn’t bode well for its success, and now that it's been theatrically released in the time of COVID-19, it's lost money at the box office. Movies that suffer from a lack of studio enthusiasm and generate financial losses generally don't end up spawning a franchise, and that's unfortunate, because the Chaos Walking book series could have taken the films — and the blockbuster cast — on a seriously fun and interesting sci-fi journey.

The Knife of Never Letting Go and its two sequels, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, tell the saga of New World, a colonial planet where women are supposedly extinct and men are inflicted with something called "The Noise" that causes their thoughts to be heard out loud. Teenaged Todd (Holland in the film) is the sheltered protagonist whose worldview is shattered when a teen girl, Viola (Ridley), crash-lands on his planet. As the series progresses, sadistic forces conspire against Todd and Viola as they try and discover the truth about New World and what happened to the planet's women, while a world war also brews around them between the human settlers and the planet's brutalized native species, the Spackle.

There is a ton going on in the Chaos Walking book series, with a lot of high-concept sci-fi themes that would benefit from a thorough film treatment. But given the initial movie's troubled production and the unfortunate timing of its release, it doesn't look like the entire story of the books is going to be told on the big screen anytime soon.