For those disappointed that Disney (collaborating with Walden Media) whiffed The Chronicles of Narnia live-action movies so hard that the franchise never took off or was ever finished (yes that would be the Chronic [what!] cles of Narnia), Netflix has comes to the rescue. The streaming giant announced today that they will be developing series and films based on C.S. Lewis‘ classic novels. While The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe — the most popular of the Lewis’ books — has seen a few other incarnations (including an animated version from 1979 that I’m particularly partial to), there are 7 books within the Narnia chronicles that would be fantastic for new adaptations.
Two of the more relatively obscure ones, which do not feature the Pevensie family but are essential to the lore of Narnia are The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy, both of which might make great standalone movies that are part of the larger Narnia universe, while the adventures of the Pevensie siblings and Prince Caspian are likely better suited for full series. And yet, with Netflix and its endless stores of cash, anything is possible!
We don’t yet know who might be helming these adaptations or how they might play out in terms of the films vs series, but Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said of the news that: “C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world. Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.” (It also helps the CG is much better than it was when this was first attempted).
Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis, added: “It is wonderful to know that folks from all over are looking forward to seeing more of Narnia, and that the advances in production and distribution technology have made it possible for us to make Narnian adventures come to life all over the world. Netflix seems to be the very best medium with which to achieve this aim, and I am looking forward to working with them towards this goal.”
The Narnia novels always have deserved a truly great adaptation on par with Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy, because while the stories are written to be appreciated by a younger audience, the themes are universal (as is the joy of re-reading them, which I just recently did). Of course, J.R.R. Tolkien‘s work is also getting a new adaptation on Amazon, so some may see this as Netflix’s rival move — that’s something both Tolkien and Lewis (who were great friends) I’m sure would be bemused by.
As for the details of the deal, per Netflix:
“All series and films produced through the deal will be Netflix productions, with Mark Gordon of Entertainment One (eOne) alongside Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers for series and as producers for features. In total the Narnia books have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated in more than 47 languages worldwide. The deal marks the first time that rights to the entire seven books of the Narnia universe have been held by the same company.”