Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Knights of Eden


In the wake of the huge success of Star Wars, Disney released the big budget sci-fi film The Black Hole in 1979. The movie had a modest box office and mixed reviews, but it appears Disney was looking at another big budget sci-fi film in the early 80’s The Knights of Eden.

The first mention comes in Starlog Issue 32 (March 1980):

“The Knights of Eden, an SF adventure set in 40th-century Earth, is budgeted at $12 million.”

Next it is mentioned in Starlog Issue 36 (July 1980):

“Another Disney release, Knights of Eden, will not go into production until next year. The story is reportedly Disney's most ambitious special-effects picture since Black Hole. In this science-fantasy epic, the hero is summoned by an alien wizard to help battle a powerful and sinister alien king. Based on the book by Westbrook Claridge, the screenplay was written by Robert Malcolm Young and will be directed by Jerry Courthand. “

The final mention in Starlog is in Issue 44 (March 1981):

“Status: Pre-production. Still some preliminary work to be done on the script. No other information available.”

There is also a mention of this film in Ares Magazine Issue 4 (September 1980):

“Knights of Eden will begin work in 1981. Directed by Jerry Courthand with the screenplay by Robert Malcolm Young, the film is based on Westbrook Claridge's book about a hero summoned by an alien wizard to battle an evil alien king. The special effects will be given heavy priority.”

The book that Westbrook (Wes) Claridge wrote was not something that was ever published but there was a copyright registration in 1969 according to the Copyright Encyclopedia. He did not have any writing credits at this point, but did go on to write for Airwolf and TekWar.

Robert Malcolm Young was primarily a TV writer but he did write the screenplay for another Disney Sci-Fi file, Escape from Witch Mountain as well as the made for TV sequel Beyond Witch Mountain.

The director on the project is referred to as Jerry Courthand in the articles, but I believe the correct name is actually Jerome Courtland who directed a lot of TV episodes around that time including some episodes of Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

I cannot find any mention of this movie after the March 1981 issues of Starlog so it appears that it died in development.

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