Netflix is adapting The Chronicles of Narnia books into both TV series and movies over the next several years. Here’s an ongoing preview of everything we know about The Chronicles of Narnia on Netflix including what to expect and when to expect it.
Before we dive into Netflix’s involvement going forward, let’s quickly take a look back at what the book series is and how it’s been adapted previously.
Note: This is an ongoing article that’ll be updated over time as we learn more – last updated: January 24th, 2020.
What are ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’?
Let’s start off with the basics, The Chronicles of Narnia is a book series from the famed author C.S.Lewis that were published in the 1950s.
The book series is a fantasy series that transports us to the fictional realm of Narnia. In total, seven books were published under the Chronicles of Narnia banner.
How the Chronicles of Narnia books have been developed before
The series has seen multiple adaptations over the years including a BBC series, a radio series and
The book series biggest adaptation came in 2005 when Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media released the first movie entitled: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”.
It later released another film that was distributed under Disney with the third movie being distributed by 20th Century Fox. A fourth movie was planned but we believe that’s been rolled into the first movie for Netflix.
Are the old Narnia movies on Netflix?
According to Unogs, the three main theatrical movies are on Netflix but not in the main English speaking regions such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia.
The likelihood of these movies coming as part of the deal are remote given Disney is shifting their content onto the upcoming Disney+ service where they currently reside although the 2010 movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is notably absent.
How and when Netflix scored the Narnia contract
The news of Netflix teaming up with The C.S. Lewis Company dropped back in October 2018.
Netflix has a “multi-year deal” whereby it will have multiple film and series projects on the go all based on the books of Narnia.
Back in October, Ted Sarandos who’s the head of content and Netflix said “C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” adding “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 was also reiterated multiple times that Netflix would be adapting Narnia into a Universe liking positioning the series to go up against the likes of Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
You can see more from the original press release over on the official Narnia Facebook post:
The most important aspect to the Netflix deal and what makes it more unique than what has come before is that Netflix has access to all seven of the books. This means some of the later books that have never seen adaptations before.
We do know that Mark Gordon, Douglas Gresham, Vincent Sieber will be involved with most of the upcoming Netflix Narnia projects.
Will Netflix reboot Narnia from The Magician’s Nephew?
The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe is the natural starting point for Narnia but The Magician’s Nephew book serves as the prequel which fleshes out the realm of Narnia and may make a more logical start for Netflix to kickstart the universe with.
You can hear more on a discussion from the Narniaweb podcast below where they speculate it may make sense to start with Magician’s Nephew this time around.
This would mean Netflix would adapt the books in the so-called “Harper Collins” order which would be the following:
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Horse and His Boy
- Prince Caspian
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Last Battle.
The guys at Narniaweb also speculated that their adaptations may be slightly darker. They specifically compared them to the Anne with an E series on Netflix which was much darker than the source material it is based on.
Netflix hasn’t ruled out an animated series but everything reported thus far suggests most projects are live-action titles.
Back in February, Douglas Gresham spoke about the upcoming Netflix projects with an onlooker saying:
[Gresham] didn’t say anything about feature-length movies but spoke positively about the multi-episode series because “you can put the whole book in.”
Also, he mentioned extrapolating action like the battle of Charn. He said it as if he were merely throwing out one possability.
He said they were still in the negotiation stage with Netflix.
Matthew Aldrich becomes “architect” on Narnia Universe for Netflix
Months after waiting for more information on Narnia on Netflix, finally, we got some news on June 12th, 2019.
The news came that the co-writer for Disney Pixar’s Coco, a multi-award winning movie, will be working on Narnia. In a tweet, Netflix’s See What’s Next account said the following:
““Coco” co-writer Matthew Aldrich will serve as the creative architect and oversee the development of all films and shows adapted from C.S. Lewis’ beloved Narnia universe for Netflix”
“Coco” co-writer Matthew Aldrich will serve as the creative architect and oversee the development of all films and shows adapted from C.S. Lewis’ beloved Narnia universe for Netflix pic.twitter.com/k77EG6f9N4
— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) June 12, 2019
In January 2020, Narniaweb posted that Douglas Gresham (stepson of C. S. Lewis) has little knowledge of where Netflix is at with production.
Jordan Raynor: What is the latest on this partnership between Netflix and the C. S. Lewis Company?
Douglas Gresham: Yeah, to be honest, I can’t tell you very much at all. We did the deal quite some months ago and I haven’t heard a word since. I mean, I am listed as the producer, but I’ve heard no word on what they plan to do or how they plan to do it or when they plan to do it for that matter. Looking at things, I don’t know whether Netflix is ready to rock ‘n roll on this or not, but we will find out in due course.
What Narnia projects are in development
Thanks to IMDBpro, we’re able to see the first three Netflix projects involving Narnia via Matthew Alrich’s profile. Here are each of the projects and where they’re reportedly in development:
- Untitled Netflix/Chronicles of Narnia Series is reportedly the furthest in development with it entering pre-production reportedly back in October 2018.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew (Treatment stage)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (see below)
What happened to The Silver Chair? Did Netflix pick up the movies or is it starting from scratch?
The Silver Chair was announced all the way back in 2008 when it was being optioned. In 2013, the movie changed hands to being run under The Mark Gordan Company.
According to IMDb Pro, the movie was in the scripting phase between August 2016 and March 2017.
Since then, all has been quiet and we’ve had the Netflix announcement since which may have sealed the fate of the movie in being scrapped.
In November 2017, it was reported that Millie Bobbie Brown (most known for her role as Eleven in Stranger Things) has been offered the role of Jill Pole but beyond that, there are no casting announcements just yet.
Joe Johnston was listed as the director of the movie. He’s most known for his 2011 work on Captain America: The First Avenger as well as more recently, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Now despite all of this, we don’t actually know whether The Silver Chair is actually going to be an official Netflix project but we do know some of the key players behind the movie have since departed such as David Magee who served as the screenwriter.
No, at this point I am not involved in those.
— David Magee (@realdavidmagee) December 4, 2018
When Matthew Aldrich was announced to be taking the lead on the Narnia project at Netflix, he was quickly attached to The Silver Chair page suggesting the movie might be salvaged. The distributor is also now showing as Netflix.
We’ll report as we learn more.
That’s all we know so far. There’s a lot to be announced, a lot to be excited for and a lot to be learned. We’ll be there every step of the way to see what’s in store for Narnia on Netflix.