C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books are being retold on Netflix with new movies and TV series. Disney originally tried their hand at bringing The Chronicles of Narnia to life over a decade ago. They produced and co-financed two big screen adventures in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. The first film was a massive hit with close to a $750 million worldwide gross, but the sequel dropped significantly to $419M. Fox then acquired the distribution rights for the third installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which only made $415M worldwide. Since then, Fox has been redeveloping the IP with Joe Johnston set to direct The Silver Chair.
The project has never gained much traction, but Johnston was committed enough to say that it would be the last movie he directed. There was even a rumor that Millie Bobby Brown was offered the lead role in the movie. However, those plans may be scrapped now as Netflix has acquired the rights.
Netflix announced today that the streaming service is developing new TV shows and movies based on Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books. This is the first time that one company has held the rights to all seven of Lewis’ novels, so there is no limit to what Netflix will be able to do with the property. There is no word on when any of these new projects will start production, much less debut on Netflix.
The Narnia series is a beloved property for many and one that is still waiting to be completely told in a live-action setting. With seven books encompassing Lewis’ story, there are still plenty of old stories to tell for the first time on the screen. Any story should require a pretty substantial budget from Netflix to bring the various species to life properly, especially Aslan. Since there’s no details on how Netflix plans to handle the property, how they decide which books should become series vs movies should be fascinating to watch develop.
Whatever they decide to do, there will be inevitable comparisons to the previous three movies, especially when rebooting the books on which they’re based. What they could decide to do from the start may be to focus on some of Lewis’ later installment that have yet to be adapted. The Magician’s Nephew, for instance, is a prequel to the entire series that shows the origin of Narnia. This could be the smart way to go for Netflix so they can set up their version of Narnia and how it may be different from past versions. Then, once they’ve established the world and tone, they can bring the Pevensies children into the magical land once more. We’ll have to wait and see what Netflix does, but hopefully it won’t be too long before Chronicles of Narnia makes its way to the service.