As a fan of classic literature and costume dramas, I am highly excited for the June 22 premiere of The Musketeers on BBC America.
This version is not a direct adaptation of the 1844 Alexandre Dumas serialized novel The Three Musketeers, but instead features the characters going on adventures inspired by the familiar story. The 10-part season stars Luke Pasqualino as D’Artagnan, Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis and Howard Charles as Porthos. The series also stars Peter Capaldi, who will appear as villainous Cardinal Richelieu for only one season, after being cast as the 12th Doctor in BBC science-fiction drama Doctor Who.
To get into the mood for Sunday’s first episode, let’s take a look back at other adaptations of the adventures of Athos, Aramis, Porthos and D’Artagnan (as judged by The Man in the Iron Mask‘s King Louis XIV/Philippe, played by Leonardo DiCaprio).
While there are earlier adaptations of Musketeers in film, including the 1921 version starring Douglas Fairbanks, one of my favorites is the 1993 live-action version from Disney, The Three Musketeers. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt as the titular trio, the movie also features Chris O’Donnell and Tim Curry. Fun fact: This Musketeer adaptation also featured a Doctor — Paul McGann, who played the eighth incarnation of the Doctor Who character.
2001 brought us The Musketeer starring Justin Chambers and Tim Roth. I had mostly forgotten about this version, and after rewatching the trailer, I see why. This was conceived during that magical time when everyone was trying to cash in on the martial arts trend, which did not transfer well to the classic story.
In 2011, The Three Musketeers, a 3-D version directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, arrived with a cast jam-packed with stars, including Matthew MacFadyen, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Logan Lerman, Mads Mikkelsen and Ray Stevenson. While my initial reasons for watching this one were purely selfish — Mr. Darcy vs. Legolas! — I really enjoyed this version.
Apparently everyone does a take on this story, including Barbie, who stars in gender-swapped version Barbie and the Three Musketeers (2009), which features a talking kitten.
Finally, there is The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), which I’ve found that people either loved or hated. Using Dumas’ characters and very loosely based on his novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, the film has many historical inaccuracies. The movie did very well, however, thanks to post-Titanic Leo love and stars including John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Gérard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne.
The BBC America version looks like it takes the familiar adventure tale, adds a new spin and gives it a burst of fresh air.
All for one, one for all!
The Musketeers premieres on Sunday, June 22, at 9/8 C on BBC America.