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Get Ready for a ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Movie Sequel

Harper Lee and Gregory Peck
Photo by Bettman/Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
February 15, 2022

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s 1960 story of an Alabama attorney defending a Black man charged with rape, is undoubtedly one of the most famous American literary creations. The novel also became a 1962 movie starring Gregory Peck that earned a best picture Oscar. So why is Lee’s estate now relinquishing its lucrative movie rights to the novel?  

Remarkably, the late author’s estate says it has granted rights in To Kill a Mockingbird to the descendants of producer Alan Pakula, director Robert Mulligan and Peck, who now jointly control the copyright to the story of Atticus Finch, and can authorize a filmed sequel or any derivative (prequel, remake, N.F.T., metaverse version, et cetera). That’s according to bombshell court documents that were quietly filed last Wednesday in an Alabama federal court. Tonja Carter, the attorney, spokesperson and trustee of the Lee estate, filed papers to confirm the outcome of a secret arbitration that commenced upon one of the most notorious literary episodes of this century.