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Peter T Chattaway

Narnia: Silver Chair? Magician's Nephew? reboot?

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Links to threads on the pre-release buzz (2003-2005), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), as well as the Narnia books.

Whether they make any more movies depends on how well The Voyage of the Dawn Treader performs at the box office. But the final scenes have a very, very strong passing-the-torch feel to them, and of course the whole "green mist" business is kind of pinched from the next book, so they're obviously setting up the next film, on some level.

- - -

Ben Barnes grows into role of Narnia's king

"[The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is] a rather difficult book to adapt - it doesn't really have a central core to it. That really doesn't work in a movie," [director Michael Apted] says, explaining that they took a key story element from the next book, "The Silver Chair," and seeded it in "Dawn Treader" - the idea of kidnappings in "Chair" became the thread to tie the films together.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 5

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Plot needed big changes, new Narnia filmmakers say

The original Lewis novel, third in the seven-book children's series, was too episodic for the big screen and lacked a narrative thread to drive the plot forward, Apted said.

"You've got to have a reason in a movie to go from A to B to C, especially in a commercial movie. So that was a big problem," Apted told Reuters in a recent interview.

He and the screenwriters spent two years coming up with an alternative, eventually deciding to borrow from the fourth Narnia novel "The Silver Chair" and its theme of captives being held underground as a way of moving the story along.

"They (the Lewis estate) were a bit put out by it at first," Apted added. "We gave them the original script to look at which was the pure adaptation of the book, and I think that they could see that there was just an inner inertness to the story."

By using elements of The Silver Chair, production company Walden Media and new partner Twentieth Century Fox may find it easier to make the fourth movie in a franchise which Apted argued would be difficult to sustain for seven titles.

"I would be surprised if they did all seven books," Apted said. "I suppose the fourth one might work better now after the changes we made in the third ... but after that it goes haywire.

"With a franchise, the continuity of characters is actually quite crucial and I don't know how they are going get beyond book four. I think it is a problem." . . .

Reuters, December 7

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Hmm well given how the X-men franchise has started churning out spin offs and prequels, I think that could be a template here. The trickiest one would be The Last Battle, but that's certainly doable, and then going back for the origins movie (The Magician's Nephew) and the very much a spin off Horse and his Boy would be fairly simple.

I'm regretting not hearing about this in time to read Silver Chair before tomorrow's trip to see VofDT.

Matt

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When I did a phone interview with Michael Flaherty yesterday I asked which would be next (assuming there is a next.

"Well, there’s two different directions. It seems like Silver Chair is gaining a lot of momentum, but there’s also, I think, a very good case that can be made for Magician’s Nephew."

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"Well, there’s two different directions. It seems like Silver Chair is gaining a lot of momentum, but there’s also, I think, a very good case that can be made for Magician’s Nephew."

No no no. You don't want to give Poulter three years off. If he's going to reprise Eustace, it's got to be now.

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"Well, there’s two different directions. It seems like Silver Chair is gaining a lot of momentum, but there’s also, I think, a very good case that can be made for Magician’s Nephew."

No no no. You don't want to give Poulter three years off. If he's going to reprise Eustace, it's got to be now.

Agreed, and I haven't even seen Dawn Treader yet.

But then, I also don't see what the big problem is in making Magician's Nephew--spinoff, no doubt, but the story's great. And the witch is excellent. Probably they're just stymied because there aren't any enormous BATTLES.

I understand people are all worked up over The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle because of the politically incorrect, Orientalist Calormenes. Yes, they're mostly straight out of the Arabian Nights, but they're not Muslims. The real problem is that it will be more difficult for someone associated with the movie to say that "Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know Who," (or WTTE) if they make an honest version of The Last Battle. Though there's always Emeth.

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BethR wrote:

: I understand people are all worked up over The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle because of the politically incorrect, Orientalist Calormenes.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure I've already seen at least one critic complain about the Orientalist (or whatever) slave-traders that we meet on one of the islands in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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Gresham discusses some issues relating to The Silver Chair starting at the 2:48 mark below:

NarniaWeb transcribes:

NF: Would Green Kirtle Lady be a new cast or would Tilda–

DG: I think it will have to be a new cast. This evil spirit has found a new, young body in which to inhabit, and I think that has to happen.

So the Green Witch is a reincarnation of the White Witch? Hmmm.

Note how Gresham also says evil is especially foreign to Narnia, as though it arrived with the White Witch in The Magician's Newphew and not with, say, the fallen human beings who were its first King and Queen. If the various witches and mists are simply embodiments of this one single "evil spirit", then what implications would this have for, e.g., The Last Battle?

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Virginia Beach native and 'Narnia' producer, Perry Moore, found dead at 39

VIRGINIA BEACH — Perry Moore, a 39-year-old novelist and Hollywood producer from Virginia Beach, died in his New York high-rise Thursday, possibly from a reaction to pain medication, his father said.

Moore, who graduated from Norfolk Academy and the University of Virginia, was best known as the executive producer of the "Chronicles of Narnia" movies, and author of the novel, "Hero."

Moore's death came as he was poised for even greater successes, his family said.

"The night before he died, he had an hour-long conversation with his mom," father Bill Moore said as he waited at the airport for a flight to New York. "He had gotten all the good news he could possibly get."

Perry Moore told his family he'd secured financing for another Narnia movie, "The Magician's Nephew." He was also working with Starz, a cable-movie company, to adapt his novel, "Hero," and he was preparing to meet with actress Julianne Moore on another project. . . .

WTKR.com, February 18

Opinion: Narnia No More?

When Mark Johnson said they were considering making The Magician’s Nephew next instead of The Silver Chair, I didn’t really take him seriously. Fans voted overwhelmingly to make The Silver Chair next. It is the logical sequel, and if they don’t make it soon, Will Poulter’s age could become a big problem. But now that that the VDT box office numbers are in… I’m not so sure.

Consider this: What do you think would be easier to market: A “VDT sequel” or a “LWW prequel”? . . .

You might be thinking, “How could they make MN next? Obviously SC should come after VDT! And they have to make SC now, or they probably never will!” I agree; I think making SC next makes the most sense in terms of story-telling. But, because of PC and VDT’s box office, I don’t believe Walden has the luxury of thinking long-term. From here on out, the franchise must try to survive one movie at a time. . . .

NarniaWeb.com, February 19

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Of course, since they borrowed heavily from SC for VDT, SC would be the logical book to skip. Not that I think they should, but I doubt the franchise will be able to do all 7 as iffy as each film is to getting financing.

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Ooh this is a tricky one. I really want MN to be made if only so everyone gets where my son's name comes from (NOT Harry Potter).

But Poulter could really make SC good, so long as they find a decent Pole, and the MN option would still be open.

Matt

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My preference, ultimately, is that all of the Narnia books get translated into films. I think the only way that'll happen is if Silver Chair is next. If they make Magician's Nephew next, then I think it's unlikely Silver Chair or The Horse and His Boy will ever get made. Now, the odds of The Horse and His Boy getting made at all seems slim (though it would allow them to bring back all four original Pevensies) but the chances go from slim to none if Silver Chair is not next in the series.

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CrimsonLine wrote:

: Now, the odds of The Horse and His Boy getting made at all seems slim (though it would allow them to bring back all four original Pevensies) . . .

You just KNOW I'm dying to do screen captures from both movies, showing side-by-side the grown-up Pevensies from The Horse and His Boy and the actors who played the grown-up Pevensies at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. :)

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Confirmed: Walden is Talking With Fox About Making The Magician’s Nephew

I just got back from attending NRB’s Sunday Super Session in Nashville, TN, where Flaherty and Simon Swart from Fox spoke about “Connecting with Audiences in an Age of Distraction.” And Narnia, of course. A few noteworthy tidbits:

When asked by Phil Cooke of Cooke Pictures and host of this session if Walden would make any more Narnia movies, Flaherty responded, without hesitation: “Yes. We are talking to Fox about making the Magician’s Nephew next.” The audience clapped. He then mentioned that there was some debate about whether SC or MN should be next, and asked the audience to clap for their favorite. A few (including myself, loudly) clapped for SC, but the majority cheered for MN. . . .

Dekkie, NarniaWeb.com, February 27

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My preference, ultimately, is that all of the Narnia books get translated into films. I think the only way that'll happen is if Silver Chair is next. If they make Magician's Nephew next, then I think it's unlikely Silver Chair or The Horse and His Boy will ever get made.

Probably, but not necessarily. The series' support is flagging, and promoting the LWW prequel/creation allegory is likely to be more successful than promoting SC which will only appeal to committed Narnia fans. But MN might (might) put the franchise back on the map building a bigger potential audience for SC than it would otherwise have. With both out the way LB wouldn't be too hard to sell as the finale. A key factor here is that for the magic of MN to work it needs a decent budget. If it's done on a low budget it may kill the series off and then LB and H&hB have no chance.

Now, the odds of The Horse and His Boy getting made at all seems slim (though it would allow them to bring back all four original Pevensies) . . .

I read this a few years ago, but from memory it would require fewer special effects than pretty much any of the others. If Gresham is smart he'll get Walden to make this one on a shoe string so it can still turn in a profit. I don't think those four actors are going to be demanding quite as high salaries as the 3 Hogwarts kids.

Matt

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But MN might (might) put the franchise back on the map building a bigger potential audience for SC than it would otherwise have. With both out the way LB wouldn't be too hard to sell as the finale. A key factor here is that for the magic of MN to work it needs a decent budget. If it's done on a low budget it may kill the series off and then LB and H&HB have no chance.

My only concern is really Will Poulter. He's what, 18 now? He could still play an older mature Eustace for Silver Chair who's stuck at the Experiment House school in 2 or 3 years. That being the case, if they want to stick with Tilda Swinton for Magician's Nephew, then the sooner the better, we don't need her looking much older for that one either. She really should be in Magician's Nephew and not in Silver Chair.

Now, the odds of The Horse and His Boy getting made at all seems slim (though it would allow them to bring back all four original Pevensies) . . .

I read this a few years ago, but from memory it would require fewer special effects than pretty much any of the others. If Gresham is smart he'll get Walden to make this one on a shoe string so it can still turn in a profit. I don't think those four actors are going to be demanding quite as high salaries as the 3 Hogwarts kids.

Yes, if they wanted to, they could probably make The Horse and His Boy 10-12 years from now and still use the same four actors.

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MattPage wrote:

: The series' support is flagging, and promoting the LWW prequel/creation allegory is likely to be more successful than promoting SC which will only appeal to committed Narnia fans. But MN might (might) put the franchise back on the map . . .

Perhaps. But Dawn Treader introduced some non-book elements that were specifically designed to pave the way for Silver Chair; making any other film between the two will just interrupt that. And making The Magician's Nephew feels, on some level, like an attempt to mimic The Hobbit, i.e. to make a prequel that brings everything full circle. Breaking OUT of that full circle to make the other films could be even MORE difficult. Whatever problems the Narnia books might have sequence-wise, The Magician's Nephew does at least come right before The Last Battle, which means we get the creation and the destruction of Narnia side-by-side there; there is a thematic link, of sorts, between those two books just as there are all sorts of links between the first four books. Making the first THREE books, and then making one of the other two books, and then making the fourth book, and then going back to the other two books... well, it just feels a bit incoherent. (And then there is The Horse and His Boy, which is an odd one to fit in no matter HOW you slice it.)

: If Gresham is smart he'll get Walden to make this one on a shoe string so it can still turn in a profit. I don't think those four actors are going to be demanding quite as high salaries as the 3 Hogwarts kids.

Heh. They could almost make it as a bonus feature for some future edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Or maybe the fans could team up with the Pevensie actors, kind of like how there are all these fan-based Star Trek films featuring actual actors from the original series (to say nothing of the Lord of the Rings fan films out there...).

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The Magician's Nephew seems to me to be one of the hardest of the Narnia books to put on film, though if done well, perhaps one of the most rewarding. The creation of Narnia sequence in particular is what I'm thinking of. It's beautifully written, and if given the time and the space and the creativity and the thought, and if it's directed by someone with painterly sensibilities, it could be stunning, breathtaking even. Heck, the moral dilemma that Digory encounters with the apple of life could be heartbreaking.

But I'll be willing to bet that, in the end, it will wind up as watered-down pop-psychology pablum. Sigh.

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It's a secret reboot. The next film after MN will not be SC. Instead it will be a ermake of the Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. :)

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Nezpop wrote:

: It's a secret reboot. The next film after MN will not be SC. Instead it will be a ermake of the Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. :)

Narnians: First Class, eh? :)

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MattPage wrote:

: The series' support is flagging, and promoting the LWW prequel/creation allegory is likely to be more successful than promoting SC which will only appeal to committed Narnia fans. But MN might (might) put the franchise back on the map . . .

Perhaps. But Dawn Treader introduced some non-book elements that were specifically designed to pave the way for Silver Chair; making any other film between the two will just interrupt that. And making The Magician's Nephew feels, on some level, like an attempt to mimic The Hobbit, i.e. to make a prequel that brings everything full circle. Breaking OUT of that full circle to make the other films could be even MORE difficult. Whatever problems the Narnia books might have sequence-wise, The Magician's Nephew does at least come right before The Last Battle, which means we get the creation and the destruction of Narnia side-by-side there; there is a thematic link, of sorts, between those two books just as there are all sorts of links between the first four books. Making the first THREE books, and then making one of the other two books, and then making the fourth book, and then going back to the other two books... well, it just feels a bit incoherent. (And then there is The Horse and His Boy, which is an odd one to fit in no matter HOW you slice it.)

I see your point (in fact I used a "probably" against my own point above), but to a marketing department trying to reach those outside the core fan base these are minor considerations in my opinion. Guys like us will probably be there no matter what, it's those who haven't read the books / don't really get the allegories that the marketing department have to go after to see this franchise through. And FWIW I've always thought making MN more in terms of the Star Wars prequels than LOTR.

Or maybe the fans could team up with the Pevensie actors, kind of like how there are all these fan-based Star Trek films featuring actual actors from the original series (to say nothing of the Lord of the Rings fan films out there...).
Kind of like Pilate in The Final Inquiry?

Matt

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MattPage wrote:

: Kind of like Pilate in The Final Inquiry?

For a second I was wondering what Harvey Keitel has to do with this, and then I realized you were referring to the remake. :)

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