The Hollywood Reporter says that Netflix has hired Matthew Aldrich to oversee the Chronicles of Narnia universe it is building for its streaming service. Aldrich, who got the job after an extensive search by Netflix and the C.S. Lewis Company, will “shepherd all development and creative on the multiple adaptations.”
The Chronicles of Narnia was published between 1950 and 1956, and contains seven works: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and continued with Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. The stories mostly focused on siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy who accidentally find themselves sucked into the land of Narnia.
When the deal was first announced, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, talked about gaining the rights to this universe:
“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.”
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.”
Warner Media had previously adapted three of the works into live-actions films with Disney (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005 and Prince Caspian in 2008) and Fox (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010). An adaptation of The Silver Chair languished in development hell for about eight years. There were rumors that Millie Bobby Brown might star in the adaptation, but instead the rights were revealed to have gone to Netflix, which is planning a massive reboot (as read above).
Those first two Disney films are personal favorites (I might be crazy enough to admit Prince Caspian is the superior film in terms of enjoyment, too), but honestly Disney was on a bit of a hot streak from 2003-2008 with Narnia and Pirates of the Caribbean. They took well-known properties and breathed action and adventure into them with modern special effects and great storytelling.
Netflix is extremely hit or miss when it comes to their original content, but with an IP like Narnia, they’d be foolish to not spend the time and money to get it right. I’m not sure we need a massive multi-series and film franchise for Narnia. I’d be perfectly fine with a seven season 70-episode series weaving all the books and various timelines together. Narnia is essentially Game of Thrones but for children/teenagers (i.e., PG-13). Those Disney films worked because the cast had chemistry with one another, and that will be the most important factor for Netflix and the C.S. Lewis Company. If they can find a great cast, and Aldrich is able to write some damn good scripts, then Netflix might just have another hit on its hands.
And there’s absolutely no reason that Millie Bobby Brown can’t play Lucy (or Susan depending when this series gets shooting) given her working relationship with Netflix.
How would you like to see the Chronicles of Narnia adapted for Netflix?