Will The Godfather prequel happen?
Now this is how you resolve a dispute over publishing rights, let the work get released, put the profits aside, and in the meantime argue about the ownership with the eventual winner collecting the spoils, that ensures that there actually are spoils to be had and that the work doesn't just fail and build a barrier for future works.
That's what's happening with the prequel book called The Family Corleone which was on hold over a rights battle, a book which through the deal was allowed to be published last week and could perhaps pave the way for a future film.
Oh come on, you might be scoffing and wondering how they could possibly consider it, but not long ago you wouldn't have considered the reboots, re-imaginings, sequels and prequels of films that we're seeing today, we're even hearing about Hitchcock films being looked at for remakes, is it so implausible that there would be a film version of the prequel novel?
The novel The Family Corleone (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) is written by Ed Falco based on a screenplay from Mario Puzo, which is interesting to consider that there could be a screenplay for a prequel already. There don't seem to be any plans to make a prequel for the trilogy and one of the reasons that the studio raised the court case in February order to stop the novel from damaging the legacy of the studio's films, so the article in Deadline claims.
Paramount sued the Puzo estate to stop the book being published because they believed they also had rights to the Godfather franchise and any related material whereas the Puzo estate, who countersued because that's what you do in America, said that the deals they had specifically excluded any books. I would guess that's complicated because the book states that it is based on a screenplay from Puzo.
The two sides are mediating at the moment, but it seems a sensible deal to allow the book to be published and not die in a publisher's warehouse until the case is resolved in years to come, after all if it is successful couldn't a deal be done with Paramount to make the film from it?
Back in November of 2006 we did hear a rumour that there were a couple of prequels to the Godfather series in development at Paramount, these would be based on the two novels by Mark Winegardner (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) however nothing came of those films, but it does show you that even six years ago there was a potential attempt at new films in the Godfather series, and that they were prequels. Is it any more absurd that a new prequel could happen with a book and a script that comes with the Mario Puzo name on it?
The first question is if people want to see a prequel to The Godfather series, considering all the actors would be recast and would have to have some resemblance to their characters in the first Godfather film it wouldn't be the easiest film to get into production, but then if they did, and they got the team right to produce a film somewhere near the quality of the originals, the studio could be onto a winner.