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Everything we know about Netflix’s deal with ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

One of the best fantasy authors in the history of literature, C.S. Lewis has created a wonderful book series under the umbrella name of The Chronicles of Narnia that is set in the mystical realm of Narnia. Narnia abounds in magic and mythical creatures, namely talking beavers, foxes, centaurs and other supernatural creatures, including a benevolent lion named Aslan.

With seven books to his acclaimed franchise, Lewis has had quite an impact on fantasy literature all over the world. A tale of good triumphing over evil, the fantasy series is also grounded in reality as it sometimes incorporates events of the real world while viewing it through a kid’s perspective. 

While three of the seven books have been adapted into beloved live-action films, starring actors like William Moseley, Georgie Henley, Tilda Swinton, Ben Barnes and others, Netflix acquired exclusive rights to the books in 2018. It has been four years since news broke regarding the same and fans are getting pretty impatient, questioning the status of the development of the Narnia projects. 

Here is everything we know till now about Netflix’s deal with The Chronicles of Narnia

Everything we know about Netflix’s deal with ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

What are The Chronicles of Narnia books about? 

Famed author C.S. Lewis published a fantasy book series called The Chronicles of Narnia where the stories are all set in the supernatural realm of Narnia where various children play significant roles in each of the series that help explore the history and demographics of the Narnian world, filled with talking birds and animals, mythical creatures and other magical elements. 

The entire series has seven books, namely The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle

However, the books have a different chronological order for reading where The Magician’s Nephew is set in a timeline before the preceding books. Narnia fans have often argued over the proper chronology of reading the books; the confusion occurred due to the author’s inability to decide if he would further expand the universe. 

How have The Chronicles of Narnia been adapted? 

The Chronicles of Narnia has an avid fanbase and has been adapted into multiple media over the years, including a BBC series, a radio series, video games and the Disney film series. 

In 2005, Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media released The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a major motion picture, thus marking the beginning of the Narnia universe. The Disney films mainly focused on the journey of the Pevensie children in Narnia and stuck to adapting their stories via the subsequent titles, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Although Disney planned on adapting another Narnia story, they never got to the stage of production. 

How did Netflix bag The Chronicles of Narnia franchise? 

In 2018, Netflix had reportedly struck a “multi-year deal” with the established C.S. Lewis Company whereby it has the exclusive license to adapt multiple films and series based on the Narnia books. 

In 2018, Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos had expressed his excitement to be able to adapt the “beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories [that] have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” before 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.”

Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Witcher universe or HBO’s Game of Thrones, Netflix had originally intended to develop a family-oriented Narnia universe for its viewers, with exclusive access to all seven books. 

Who is helming The Chronicles of Narnia franchise? 

After months of bated anticipation, in 2018, Netflix had announced that they would be developing the Narnia project with Mark Gordon Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber as producers on the show.

However, Gresham seemed to have been in the dark in January 2020 about the production status of Narnia. In an interview, he said, “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.”

In 2019, Matthew Aldrich was named to be one of the people working on Netflix’s Narnia. Aldrich is known for co-writing Disney Pixar’s award-winning film Coco. In 2020, Aldrich’s manager said that the project would be developed from a kid’s perspective. 

While Netflix has been relatively quiet about the project, Scott Stuber has promised the release of the film “beyond 2021” while Netflix France has still heightened anticipation about the same, talking about how the titles are currently in development.

A lot of dedicated fans at Narniaweb have also speculated how they are anticipating a much darker take on the source material, despite Aldrich’s vision to look at it from a totally different perspective. 

What will be Netflix’s first project in The Chronicles of Narnia franchise?

Since The Magician’s Nephew is the original point of commencement for the Narnia universe, Netflix might start adapting the story before anything else. They would perhaps stick to the order formed by Harper Collins that would see a different chronological development.

  • The Magician’s Nephew 
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia 
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 
  • The Silver Chair 
  • The Last Battle

What The Chronicles of Narnia projects are now in development?

On Aldrich’s IMDBpro profile, the various listings indicate the development of the franchise. He is reportedly working on developing an untitled Netflix film and series on two separate stories from the universe, besides the cancelled Disney film The Silver Chair.