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Cautiously Optimistic

Check Your Tables for Cracks, the Narnia Franchise Might be Back on Track

The Narnia series has never been an unsuccessful one, at least as far as money is concerned. It’s just that neither of its sequels have done as well as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

After pouring more money into Prince Caspian and getting around half of what they’d made on Wardrobe, Disney halted production in a budgetary dispute over Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eventually Disney would leave the franchise all together, with 20th Century Fox picking up the bill. As is usual in franchises with child actors, work on The Magician’s Nephew was announced immediately, just in time for Walden Media’s licensing deal with C.S. Lewis’ estate to expire. That was two years ago.

A couple months ago, however, the Mark Gordon company and Lewis’ estate announced that they were partnering to continue the series, and now a screenwriter has been announced for The Silver Chair, a.k.a., the Narnia book that would be the weird one if not for The Last Battle having claimed beyond any doubt the label of weirdest Narnia book. David Magee, Oscar nominated screenwriter of Life of Pi and Finding Neverland is on the job:

I have always loved The Chronicles Of Narnia and I endlessly imagined myself finding my own passage into Narnia someday. All these years later, I’m getting to fulfill that wish just a little bit by writing the film adaptation of The Silver Chair and could not be more excited about it.

Magee has his work cut out for him, in my opinion. Even as a kid The Silver Chair was always the point in the series where I stopped in my numerous rereads, the first of two books that felt quite tonally different than what had come before. But I’ll admit that it probably lends itself better to a film adaptation than my favorite of the books, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is very nearly a series of short stories rather than a whole plot arc. It’s also got a lot less of the exoticized Calormanes than, say, A Horse and His Boy, and it’s even possible that the filmmakers are considering the final books in the series that contain the young versions of the main child characters before their actors age up completely, though in the case of Chair, the only human recurring character is Eustace.

There is as yet no production company attached to the project, so there’s still no guarantee that it’ll make it to the screen.

(via Deadline.)

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  • .GONNY

    The Silver Chair is my favorite of the series. If they do make it, I can only hope they get a director/screenwriter who’s not afraid to let the weirdness of the book make its way onto the big screen. I was absolutely enthralled by Puddleglum and The Green Lady and Father Time as a nine-yr-old.

    Guillermo Del Toro doesn’t have anything on his plate, right? RIGHT?!?

  • Stace Dumoski

    The Silver Chair seemed like a natural choice to me – because they can probably figure out some way to justify casting Tilda Swinton as the Lady of the Green Kirtle.

  • Eisen

    I really would want to like the movies more, but the heavy religious filling is spoiling it for me. The movies (don’t know the books) will always be just “nice to look at” for me, sadly. So I’m curious about how the nex movie looks, but nothing more.

  • Deborah K.

    I loved the Silver Chair and I still watch the BBC version of it. That’s actually how I got introduced to Tom Baker. I had no idea he was Four until just recently. I see him as Puddleglum first. Really hope they do this justice…

  • Anonymous

    I thought these films had died forever, it’s been so long! So…are they making them all in the wrong order? I mean, I get that some of them can easily be taken out of order without detriment to the story but still. Are they now making The Silver Chair before The Magician’s Nephew and the Dawntreader? :s

    Also, Voyage of the Dawntreader was always my favourite too! Although I also like The Magician’s Nephew. Oddly, the one I always skipped was the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! Just didn’t like it for some reason.

  • Anonymous

    P.s I can understand why Prince Caspian didn’t do as well though. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is the only one that EVERYONE knows the name of and the other books never had as much publicity.
    Also, I was struggling just now to remember if I’d seen it and the only reason I remembered that I had is because there was a small child throwing a beach ball around the cinema when I went to see it and it really pissed me off. If that is the only thing I can remember about the film it can’t have been that fantastic or memorable for anyone else either!

  • Mina

    The “heavy religious filling” is very much a part of the books. It wouldn’t be the same Narnia without it.

  • Eisen

    Yes I know that. Was the reason I never read the books, I only would roll my eyes on every page. At least the movies have nice pictures. It’s kinda like Life of Pi – looks awesome, but the message is pretty blargh for me.

  • Allison Hoekwater

    He is Puddleglum to me as well!

  • Janelle S

    Dawntreader came out already. It wasn’t terribly good.

  • BatiHoney

    Loved The Lione, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Dawn Treader (don’t know why some if not a lot of people didn’t like it? I thought it was great, and close to the book with some changes that I didn’t mind and seemed to make sense). I’m not too crazy about Prince Caspian, I really just remember I cried at a part I remember really well and that’s it, but the book was actually kind of boring too, not my favorite.

    The Silver Chair I don’t remember much, but I so want to see Eustace and Jill!! I remember I liked it and I’m excited about anything Narnia-related… that one and the Magician Nephew’s are the ones that need to happen. The Last Battle and A Horse and His Boy we can live without, I think. The treatment Susan was given in the Last Battle still makes me want to punch someone.

  • Anonymous

    They’re doing them in the original publish order. Lion, Caspian, Dawn Treader, Silver Chair (then hopefully Horse and His Boy, Magician’s Nephew, and then the Last Battle)

  • Anonymous

    Seconded! For me this was the book I read and read again on numerous occasions. It is one of the purest fantasy installments, with a quest and a journey a lot of magic and a complex battle with a villain as terrifying as the White Witch. And the giants! Brrrrr

    I honestly thing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the weirdest one except for the last one. It is seriously surreal…

    Puddleglum Fan Club Must Happen!!!

  • Anonymous

    Baker played Puddlegum!?
    I never saw the BBC version, had no idea. Inspired casting!!

  • Skangie

    Mark Gordon = production company. announced that a few months ago!