Home Fantasy The German Harry Potter? We explain the fantasy hype surrounding Woodwalkers and the upcoming film trilogy

The German Harry Potter? We explain the fantasy hype surrounding Woodwalkers and the upcoming film trilogy

by Han

The fantasy film Woodwalkers could become the German Harry Potter this year. We explain the similarities between the two franchises and the success of the original book.
Of all the fantasy films in 2024, Woodwalkers is probably the most exciting project from Germany. As a film adaptation of the bestselling series by Katja Brandis, the announced trilogy is set to bring the phenomenon of the original to the big screen, which has the domestic children’s book scene firmly in its grip. We take a closer look at the fantasy hit Woodwalkers, which can easily be read as the German equivalent of Harry Potter – both in terms of plot parallels and literary success.

Great German fantasy: Woodwalkers launches a trilogy in cinemas

The fantasy adventure Woodwalkers will be released in German cinemas on October 24, 2024 and has already released its first short teaser trailer.

The main character of the film is the young Carag (Emile Chérif), who is a “shifter”. This means that he has two forms: that of a human boy and that of a cougar. In order to get a better handle on his abilities, he is invited to the school of principal Clearwater (Martina Gedeck) in the American Rocky Mountains: Clearwater High.

(Woodwalkers: Bison Walker Brandon)

(Woodwalkers: Bison Walker Brandon)

At the boarding school, Carag meets other shapeshifters who can transform into bears, wolves, red squirrels, bison, waipitis and more. Here he makes friends with Holly (Lilli Falk) and Brandon (Johan von Ehrlich), but also finds enemies such as classmate Jeffrey (Emil Bloch). A mysterious mentor, the wealthy Andrew Milling (Oliver Masucci), also appears on the scene.

With Woodwalkers 2 (for 2025) and Woodwalkers 3 (for 2026), two sequels are already being planned before the first theatrical release, which shows how much confidence the production company blue eyes Fiction and distributor Studiocanal have in the success of the fantasy series

The German Harry Potter? The phenomenon of Woodwalkers explained

If you could easily explain a success, everyone would copy it. However, Katja Brandis obviously hit a nerve with her children’s books and her series now comprises almost 20 books, which regularly occupy top positions on the Spiegel bestseller lists. The instantly recognizable covers can be found in every bookshop and immediately arouse curiosity: they always show a child’s face – half human, half animal – and thus summarize the series at a glance.

(Woodwalkers Carag & Lou)

(Woodwalkers Carag & Lou)

The similarities with Harry Potter are numerous in Woodwalkers: we have a fantasy story with a good dose of (transforming) magic, a magical school and a trio of friends at the center. With Jeffrey, Carag even has his own Malfoy and there are also favorites and hate figures among the teaching staff. There is also a major villain in the background.

Despite these parallels, the Woodwalkers novels were also able to convince their audience in their own right. With her mixture of animals and magic, the author uses exactly the themes that have been appealing to children for generations (as in the series The School of Magical Animals, for example). That’s why the author has already revealed on her website that the film adaptation will be shot with real animals.

Brandi’s stories are exciting without being too demanding or complicated for younger readers. And although the author is German, she has set her story in a far more exotic setting than her home country, namely the American wilderness of the Rocky Mountains: the US state of Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park.

The novel overview: The Woodwalkers universe began with the books

Before the three films, Woodwalkers had already been adapted into radio plays and plays. In addition, the franchise continues to grow with merchandise such as board games, puzzles and calendars.

However, the fantasy story has its origins in the books by author Katja Brandis, which we would like to give you an overview of here. The almost 20 volumes have so far been translated into 22 languages and, according to Blickpunkt:Film, have sold 2.4 million copies in Germany alone. The end of the literary Woodwalkers world is far from in sight.

(Woodwalkers Book 1-3)

(Woodwalkers Book 1-3)

The Woodwalkers books are made up of several seasons, i.e. self-contained story cycles. The first season, which is now being adapted with the film trilogy, focuses on the cougar shifter Carag and his friends. It comprises 6 volumes:

1. Carag’s transformation (2016)
2. dangerous friendship (2017)
3. holly’s secret (2017)
4th Strange Wilderness (2018)
5th Enemy Tracks (2018)
6. day of revenge (2019)

In addition, the 2nd season called Woodwalkers – The Return, which currently comprises four volumes, has been in production since 2022. In addition to the three additional books Woodwalkers and Friends, Katja Brandis also wrote the six volumes of Seawalkers from 2019 to 2022 as a Woodwalkers spin-off to focus on the shape-shifters on land and the transformable sea creatures.

The Woodwalkers trilogy will of course make some changes to the film version, such as omitting the student exchange to Costa Rica in volume 4 (for cost reasons). But with the three feature films, the German fantasy phenomenon is sure to grow even further

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