Live-action adaptations of Sir Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld books have always been a mixed bag, but we might have finally found a winner. Penguin Random House has announced that it has commissioned new audiobook recordings of all 40 Discworld novels, using a variety of British stars to bring them to life.
What’s cool is that each of Discworld’s “subseries” of books — i.e., the novels starring Rincewind, the Witches, the Wizards, the City Guard, Death, or other characters — will have their own distinct narrator. So, for instance, Game of Thrones’ Indira Varma (who played Ellaria Sand) will record Equal Rites, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum, all starring the Lancre coven of witches. Other announced narrators include Fleabag’s Sian Clifford, Merlin’s Colin Morgan, and Lords of the Rings’ Andy Serkis, who will handle the Death books, the Wizard books, and the standalone title Small Gods, respectively.
However, they won’t be alone. Peter Serafinowicz, who provided the voice for Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and was the star of Amazon’s recent Tick series, has been cast as Pratchett’s iconic version of Death for the entirety of the project. Moreover, Bill Nighy will read all of Pratchett’s many, many footnotes that he scattered through the Discworld books. The actor said, “I’m honoured to voice the footnotes and bring to life one of the funniest, quirkiest, and best-loved aspects of Terry Pratchett’s world. He added footnotes to the pages of all of his Discworld novels. They are his personal commentary on the action, little snippets of information or funny asides. They feel very much like the voice of the great man himself commenting on the action. I’ve enjoyed it enormously.”
All told, the “ambitious project narrators will read nearly four million words, with nearly 150 days in the studio and resulting in over 400 hours of finished audio.” But obviously, there’s still plenty we don’t know — like who’ll be narrating the Rincewind, City Watch, Tiffany Aching, and Moist Van Ludwig series, or if other major characters like Death will have their own unique voices.