Future Adaptations of Narnia

The Blind Eternities forum

Posted on Nov. 19, 2020, 5:04 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

Back in the early 2000’s, Walden Media produced a trilogy of films adapted from the first three books of The Chronicles of Narnia, but no films were ever made of the remaining four books, so I am wondering if there ever shall be such films.

Given how much time has passed since the film trilogy was released, any new adaptations would likely be a fresh start, rather than following the existing films, but I wonder if such an adaptation would be a theatrical production or a television series, since A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted as a television series, and both His Dark Materials and A Series of Unfortunate Events were adopted into television series after having been previously adapted as films, and, as a side note, I would like to say that I am glad that the latter two series used the name of the overall book series, rather than the name of merely the first book, which made no sense, at all.

What does everyone else say about this? Do you imagine that there shall eventually be future film adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia?

Caerwyn says... #2

Netflix purchased the rights to Narnia a couple years ago and are in the early stages of adapting the series for their platform. What is notable about the Netflix adaptation is, for the first tome, a single entity has acquired the rights to all of the books at once. That was the big flaw with the prior movie adaptation - they had the rights to three books, and never were able to acquire additional rights, so the film series puttered out (well, that’s the problem with legal issues - their unspeakably inept adaptation of Dawn Treader was 100% on their poor writing).

News has been a bit scant, and it’s likely COVID has delayed production considerably. Initially their plan was to go in chronological order, starting with The Magician’s Nephew since that would allow them to start off with a book that has not been adapted yet, so they would not be launching directly into one we’ve already seen in live action.

November 19, 2020 5:46 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #3

Caerwyn, That is good to know; I presume that each book would be adapted into a single season? Does that format have advantages over traditional movies?

November 19, 2020 6:28 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #4

I do not think those details are public yet. The big advantage of doing a show as a television series is you are not limited to a 2-3 hour film, so you can more accurately capture all of the source material. This is particularly true of somewhere like Netflix which is not even beholden to making a television-length, 45 minute episode--they could make each episode exactly as long as it needs to be (for example, Disney+'s The Mandalorian has episodes that are between 36-55 minutes, so they do not need to add filler to the episodes).

The problem, of course, is if your source material does not have enough content for an entire TV series. Then you can end up with a bunch of extra content that really does not need to be there. I think that is a serious risk for Narnia--the books are excellent, but they also are relatively short.

Netflix did a good job avoiding this problem in their Series of Unfortunate Events show by adapting a few short books per season, rather than try to blast us with a bunch of filler. So, that gives some hope that Netflix can competently make a solid Narnia adaptation that is true to the source material, avoiding some of the pitfalls television adaptations often run into.

November 19, 2020 6:46 p.m.

MagicMarc says... #5

It also depends on who the showrunners are. They certainly got quite a few seasons out of Game of Thrones.

Given good enough world-building they can add plenty of novel or new content without wandering off-story that much.

I would really like to see a Netflix produced run at the Narnia series.

November 19, 2020 8:45 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #6

Caerwyn, I wonder what that means for any potential future adaptations of The Chronicles of Prydain, which is another excellent series.

November 19, 2020 9:04 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #7

MagicMarc - Considering Weiss and Benioff are talentless hacks who managed to royally mess up every single instance they deviated from the A Song of Ice and Fire books (either intentional deviations or forced deviations due to lack of content to adapt), maybe Game of Thrones is not the greatest example of adding new content without wandering off-story!

A better example is the first Narnia movie. The battle scene at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is rather excellent.... and also not in the book. In the novel, Lewis follows Susan and Lucy's trip to the Stone Table--most of the battle occurs simultaneously with these events, so it is skipped to focus on Aslan's role in the story. The book only rejoins the battle at the end, when Aslan, Susan, and Lucy arrive.

November 19, 2020 11:48 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #8

Caerwyn, that is also what happened in The Hobbit; the battle occurred largely offscreen, as well, but the film adaption showed it in full detail.

November 20, 2020 7:17 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #9

DemonDragonJ - More than full detail, I would say. The Hobbit Trilogy makes for an excellent example of how dangerous adding filler can be if done incompetently. The decision to make the Hobbit films three, rather than two, films was that adaptation’s undoing, and we the audience suffered greatly as a result.

It does, however, make for a nice foil to Narnia’s battle scene. The Hobbit’s was a bloated mass of bad CGI, adding random, unnecessary elements (Legolas, Dune’s sandworms, etc.), and a general dearth of any worthwhile content. Every second was cringeworthy, and indifference toward the source material was palatable.

Narnia’s battle was fairly grounded in the franchise. For example, Lewis spends some time talking about the battle prowess of centaurs, and the film battle showcases that prowess without going overboard. Overall, it managed to walk the fine line of creating content, without feeling excessive and while maintaining a healthy respect for the source material.

November 20, 2020 10:18 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #10

Caerwyn, yes I fully agree that the majority of the material that Peter Jackson added to his adaptation of The Hobbit worsened the film, and is a clear example of how not to expand a film adaptation of a book.

By contrast, the first Jumanji film was an excellent example of how to expand a film adaptation of a novel (as the original book was very short), so I wish that more filmmakers would follow that example.

November 20, 2020 10:30 p.m.

Cardholder says... #11

I doubt there will be another adaptation for awhile (if ever) :(

However, there were other adaptations made of the Chronicles of Narnia.

~~ There is an animated feature from the late 70s. You can watch it on youtube. It is the most accurate adaptation of the first book.
- The only nitpicks I have about it is that the main protagonists are a bit flat personality-wise, and Mr. Tumnus has bright red skin, (which doesn't go well with his goat look, if you know what I mean).

~~ There was also a BBC TV series adaption of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", "Prince Caspian", "The Dawn Treader", and "The Silver Chair" in the late 80s. It's like you're watching a play with some touchup effects added for television.

Since CGI was novel and expensive in the 80s, almost everything is done practically (meaning the talking animals and such are people in costumes, makeup, and prosthetics, or sometimes they're puppets).
- In "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", there are a few instances of animated drawings of fantastical animals in the background.
-Centaurs also appear a couple times throughout the whole series. They were made with footage of people put over footage of horses. I think it looks pretty great all things considered.
- There are also a few flying scenes where a green screen was used.
- The BBC versions are more accurate to the stories than the Disney versions, but the "dated" movie effects may turn some away from enjoying them. However, I enjoyed them, and I think they did a phenomenal job for the budget and resources available. (Although, I'm not a fan of that one scene filmed with a fisheye lens.) I also love the intro to each episode. Even though it is a smidge over a minute, I think I watched it all the way through each time. I would recommend borrowing them from the library and giving them a shot.

The actor who played Queen Jadis in both adaptations really nailed the role, in my opinion.

December 2, 2020 5:14 p.m.

Please login to comment