Douglas Gresham on Future Narnia Films

C.S. Lewis’ stepson (and co-producer of the films) Douglas Gresham appeared on Middle-earth Radio today and said a few words about the possibility of future Narnia films. He confirmed that “Walden’s contract with the company has expired,” but he hopes to be able to start production on another film in “three or four years time.” When asked which of the remaining books he is most excited about seeing on screen, he simply answered “all of them.” Listen to a couple short clips below:

Paul Martin from also appeared on the program!

UPDATE: The full discussion is on iTunes. (Select the first option)

297 Responses

  1. Dylan says:

    I thought that both of them said that they had interest in making more movies, but if that is the case then why would they prohibit making more movies? Oh well, it would be nice to know who it was, if it was anyone at all.

  2. Dylan says:

    Yah, a movie is judged by its domestic box office.

  3. Non-negotiable Comment says:

    It's actually the United States AND Canada, so, on behalf of our cousins to the south, you're welcome. Blaming an audience for not going to see a poor film is not really getting to the heart of the problem. It is a fact, though, that the film was supported very well in many markets other than North America. Why, I am at a loss to say. If anyone has any theories about this, I'd love to hear them. Correction. If anyone has any REASONABLE theories about this that don't include derogatory remarks about North American audiences, I'd love to hear them.

  4. Non-negotiable Comment says:

    I took it to mean:

    "Who is responsible for bringing us to the point where the possibility of any future films being produced is now in serious jeopardy?"

    I thought that was a fairly safe assumption, but, if there is some other meaning behind the question, I would be happy to provide additional feedback if, as Anhun pointed out, there is better, clearer communication.

    As to the legal situation, this is totally a guess, and I have no basis for this, but one possibility is that IF Walden had an option to purchase more films (or film, singular) at a specific price, then they purposely let that option lapse, in order to try and acquire the rights at a more affordable price down the road at the open auction. Sort of like a baseball team having a star pitcher that they signed to a three-year contract plus an option for a fourth year. In the last year of the contract, he has a disappointing season, and they don't exercise the option for the fourth year. But, they think he's still valuable, just not at the price they had previously been paying him. They let him go into free agency, and try to compete for his services on the open market, but, hopefully, at a significantly reduced cost. This may just all be a dispute between the two parties over what the rights are really worth, not about "we don't want to do this anymore" vs. "we don't want you to do this anymore". Basically, a gamble on both sides. The Estate risks losing a guaranteed buyer, while Walden risks losing exclusive rights.

    This could be why everything is so ambiguous and hazy, and it would reconcile the two infamous headlines of "Walden has dropped out" and "Walden are still negotiating". They aren't necessarily diametrically opposed positions. I think that would also explain why there's been virtually no definitive explanation about what's going on. I just get the feeling that no one on either side wants to risk burning any bridges. Not at this point, anyway.

    But, as I said… pure speculation. Maybe this has already been discussed or refuted. I don't know, as the legal stuff makes me sleepy…

  5. Dylan says:


  6. nic says:

    A theory i hold is that Prince Caspian was a decent factor in the films good numbers for ROTW-Rest of the World
    PC had a pretty bad & bland/undistinctive dvd cover/presentation yet out sold VODT dvd, which had a great cover, by quite a long way.

    VODT's ROTW numbers were not achieved in a blockbuster fashion but over the duration of it's run. That could indicate that a decent segment of that was related to the serial nature of the Narnia chronicles & Prince Caspian was the most recent episode to that.

    I don't think Prince Caspian has been well understood in many ways and i don't think the next installment will have nearly the degree of this same type of audience dynamic to get it home. The intensity of the blockbuster nature of marketing in US/Canada probably has a very selective effect on audience types, & if most of chips were in that hat for US/Canada market, it would have meet with in-difference.

  7. Dylan says:

    I think the dvd cover has absolutly nothing to do with the dvd sales at all. PC was a great movie, plain and simple. Bland dvd cover or not, the movie was great. I actually was kinda hoping that the dvd cover for PC would look a little bit more like the movie poster, but oh well.

  8. Dylan says:

    So its not that Walden dropped out, its that they did it to get a better price. Ok. CitizenCairParavel, what did you mean?

  9. Dylan says:

    Better? You cant find a better actor for Eustace then Poulter. He was perfect.

  10. Non-negotiable Comment says:

    Just a preface. The following is not my insistence that anyone MUST see The Chronicles my way, or that it's not possible to experience, or enjoy, them without acknowledging the Christian elements contained in them. I don't mean to tell anyone how to think or feel. This is merely my personal interpretation of allegory vs. hypothetical, as seen through these works.

    Dylan has it, basically, correct. Although, I don't think of it as "symbolism", either. Lewis was saying, IF there were other worlds that God had created with living, sentient creatures bestowed with the power of free will, then WHAT would those worlds be like? The assumptive components of his hypothesis (which then makes it a supposal), based on the model of our known history, are as follows:

    God would create a perfect, beautiful universe
    Man would conspire with evil to introduce sin into it, corrupting it forever
    Evil would, eventually, enslave the world
    The Son of God would come to save it
    He would be betrayed by one close to Him
    He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for that world's sins
    He would rise again
    Evil would make one last "push" to corrupt the world via the Anti-Christ's false hope
    There would be a final, apocalyptic, battle between good and evil
    Those faithful to God would be called "home"

    Of course, there are many differences between our world and Narnia. Too many to list here, in fact. But, the basic model, the order of operations, is, essentially, what MUST happen. Every time. That's the supposal "component" of the hypothesis. The details—the events specific to Narnia's history—are the hypothesis itself. An hypothesis begins with "I don't know, but, PERHAPS". A supposal is an hypothesis that begins with "I know THIS, so perhaps…". You can, I suppose, think of it like a baseball game. Yes, I'm going to use a simile to explain why allegory isn't hypothetical. Every game played uses exactly the same rules. But, each ballpark is slightly different, in terms of aesthetics and physical dimensions. The atmospheric conditions, including temperature, humidity, and altitude, can all vary greatly. Plus, every team has different players. Every game contains the same, basic elements, but there are, literally, an infinite number of ways for each game to unfold, under those basic constraints.

    The bottom line is, the Chronicles are not allegorical, because Aslan does not "represent" Jesus in a "story". Aslan IS Jesus in THAT world. Aslan is the form that the Son of God might choose to take were a world such as Narnia ever to exist. That's what, to me, makes The Chronicles so much more special than any mere work of fantasy. Those billions of stars in the sky were put there by God for a reason. I cannot say that He hasn't made other worlds that are similar to, but different than, ours. But, wherever His children are, God will send His Son to save them. Always. It's an amazing premise that not only comforts, but inspires. It lessens the imposing, vastness of the universe, by reminding us that God is everywhere, watching over everything. There are so many things we don't know or understand about the universe. The Chronicles, to me, by offering this possible view of the heavens, is just reinforcing one of the most sacred and beautiful sentiments of the Bible. No matter how overwhelmed or scared we get in life, "Be still, and know that I am God."

    And that's why I could never think of The Chronicles as allegorical in nature.

  11. Non-negotiable Comment says:

    I honestly don't know, Dylan. I'm just saying that letting an option expire isn't the same thing as not having an interest. And the broadly worded, heavily constrained, severely ambiguous statements from each side lead me to believe that the relationship between the two parties isn't dead, just under reconstruction.

    Certainly, there are not telling us everything. Nor should they, I suppose…

  12. Anhun says:

    A discussion about the script translations came up on the forum. Some of the narniawebbers who came from countries where VDT was extremely popular, said that the script was significantly better (less cheesy and stupid) in their native language translation than it was in the English version, so that may be one factor.

  13. Non-negotiable Comment says:

    *THEY, I mean

  14. Dylan says:

    Maybe that helped. They could re release the movie in Spanish, then people would be flocking to the theaters lol!

  15. Dylan says:

    Exactly! Its like he is Jesus in that world. But when I meant symbolism, I meant that there are little elements that are symbolic of things in the scripture and stuff like that.

  16. I'm sorry I've just read what I wrote for a second, and I realized that I wasn't very clear. What I meant to say was that, even though before I hated the idea of a reboot, I changed my mind and would like the idea of a reboot now, because of the terrible direction the Narnia movie franchise is going. I just wanted to clear that up so I don't sound like a total idiot, even if no one reads this, it just makes myself feel better.

  17. utterReep says:

    You're certainly right, N-nC, that we can't know what the effect of faith-based marketing for Caspian would have had on box office, but we can safely say that it would have had some effect. I think the producers just took that audience for granted, that all they had to do was announce there was a Narnia film and they would show up. I think probably the bigger question is whether the ROI for such marketing would have been worthwhile, given the less obvious Christian parallels as you mention. It probably would have been. How successful is an answer we'll never know.

  18. Shastafan says:

    Well, at least we have an answer… Whatever happens, I hope it'll bring at least some justice to C. S. Lewis's work, whether it's a reboot, discontinuing the series, or just making a more satisfying sequel or prequel. I really think, besides the major issues like actors, that it is good if the series has around a 3 year or more break to refigure itself out. Sometimes, people have to look at an issue and think over what's happened, how, and where to go from there. Maybe there is hope for the series, but if it takes awhile for that to occur, be my guest.

    As for now, I'll likely wait for Narnia's future, but try not to get too caught up with it. I don't know what'll happen to Narnia, but I can't pretend to know. Instead, I'll see how events and choices lead to the next Narnia movie news and take whatever hits me.

  19. Dylan says:

    Sometimes I think discontinueing the series might be the most effective way to bring justice to Mr. Lewis' work. Sorry, but VDT was a disaster.

  20. always narnian says:

    Yeah, that sounds more like Narnia. I don't have my terms straight. Glad there is a technical person here! I usually am, too! 🙂
    I'd call them Supposals

  21. Hiking Peter says:

    Arguments that involve Narnia, Non Negotiable Comment, Dylan, and Anhun, are ALWAYS interesting.

  22. Dylan says:

    Supposels or hypothetical, it all means one thing, that it could have happened, say an alternate dimension existed.

  23. Lewisfan says:

    I will got to see a narnia film anytime and make my own judgements. I think Dawn Treader was a brighter more accessible film for the US audience than the dark look of Prince Caspian. I am hopeful that Mr Gresham or some other production company will pickup the series and see it through. Our world needs more Narnia.

  24. Christine says:

    And I still don't own Dawn Treader. That tells you right there what my Dad thought about it….(he said he thought it was 'okay', if you wanted to know by any chance)

  25. Dylan says:

    Hmmmm…. they could have done a lot better.

  26. Jeanette says:


  27. Dylan says:

    It feels like theres something missing… Oh i know! Aslans Country! What would an argument be without his/her? Actually, thank goodness he/she aint here.

  28. Dylan says:

    Umm….. right, what you said lol.

  29. Talhuman says:

    I hope to see the Magician's Nephew. The interplay between the worlds, the desolation of Charn, the Singing of Narnia, and the White Witch in Victorian London, whew!!! I see it as a similar production to Young Sherlock Holmes and certainly concurrent with the new Sherlock Holmes movies.

  30. Will says:

    The problem with the box office gross in North America for both PC and VDOT has to do with the timing of the release date.
    PC was released at a horrible time in May just after IronMan was released and a week before the 4th Indiana Jones film was released. Both those films were huge hits that summer, especially IronMan. In short, it had some major competion. If you recall they were considering releasing it the previous Christmas, but Walden didn't want it competing with another of their films,The Water Horse, that season.
    VDOT had a little bit better release date, at least they relased it during the Christmas holidays like the first film, but it also had a lot of competion and the series had lost some steam with PC.
    Going back to when the Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe was released, the only other potential blockbuster at that time was King Kong that came out a week afterwards. The result was that The Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe was the big hit of the season.
    I think its a shame that a films' release date and advertising play such a big part of it's success, but with so many big budget films being released at the same time now days, that's just the way it is.

  31. Kor says:

    The movie failed in the USA box office because the movie was TERRIBLE! I call it "The King, the green mist and the threelorn children" (Threelorn instead of forlorn… get it! ). I call it that because I refuse to insult C.S. Lewis's wonderful classics by giving that movie the same name. If the movies were better done (Like LOTR and Harry Potter) then they would get a better response. The failure is entirely the fault of the makers for twisting the stories to mean whatever they wanted instead of honoring authorial intent.
    Sure… Gresham wants all of the books made into movies… But my question is this: Would you rather have all of them made into movies quickly or have them all made into movies well?

  32. Dylan says:

    I actuallyy dont know if I want anymore movies, VDT was an immense dissapointment, but I dont want to see what happened to VDT happen to SC

  33. Narnia Mom says:

    I LOVE Narnia in just about any form or incarnation since I was 10 years old. VODT was not my favorite, but I have enjoyed these films immensely with my 4 sons. We still sit and rewatch Lion and Caspian over and over…but none of us have been very interested in seeing VODT again anytime soon.

    They might have messed things up a bit by adding some stuff to VODT, but Magicians Nephew or Horse & His Boy could definitely help get everyone back on the same page

  34. Thomas Cambridge says:

    Always look to see what the movie is competing with to understand why the box-office perhaps isn't what you wished it might be…

  35. matt says:

    Well said Kor. This movie like all the others had the names of the characters right and the bmain parts of the plot, but they completely missed 'character' of the characters. There is no need to over-dramatacize a childrens movie based on a childrens book. THere are values like honor, honesty, forgiveness, that are central themes of the book that are purposefully left out. Why? I can only belive its because the studio or writers do not think this is important to the audience and in the process they take the very soul out of the stiry. I am glad they are not making anymore; it is an insult to CS Lewis.

  36. hi says:

    dont blame the us its not there falt its fox and wadens for not avretising good

  37. Mixik says:

    I have to agree with most of you. First, VODT was subpar in it's ability to convey the major themes of the story. But think it still would have made a descent showing simply because of the series' popularity if it had been released to the North American market with better promo and more attention paid to its' release date/competition. It seems that the quality of the films has denigrated since the initial one was released. Caspian was not as well put together as Lion, and VODT was less quality still. Perhaps it is the turning of such movies out quickly for maximum profit that is the real culprit.

  38. Collin says:

    Sorry to have to totally disagree, but I thought VODT was a breath of fresh air after they tried to make PC LOTR-lite. The ending of VoDT was perfect & any additions were much less annoying than PC's. My fav of the series so far.

    Sounds like you people are taking the box office death that PC granted the series out on the wrong film.

  39. Bree-fan says:

    My wife and I love the Narnia books. We cannot wait until our kids are old enough to read them. Although it's hard to pick a favorite of the books, VODT was near the top for sure. However, we were very disappointed in the VODT movie. The story additions were just too forced and too significant. Because of this we were turned off from the VODT movie even though it had such beautiful scenery and interesting story lines. Our enthusiasm for buying the VODT blu-ray was dramatically less than what we had with the LWW and PC blu-ray releases. When those came out, we couldn't buy the blu-ray fast enough. We bought the VODT blu-ray, but haven't even watched the movie again once since we saw it in the theatre.
    I do hope that they produce the remaining books into movies. I'm not a movie critic and I know they have to add things to stories sometimes to make them good for the big screen, but something was really wrong with VODT. Hopefully, they can get the next stories to film with great success.

  40. Jared Myers says:

    That's what happens when you make a FANTASTIC first film, then follow it up with a mediocre second film and a dud third film. The character (or lack of) of Peter destroyed any chance of PC being as good as LWW, and idk what the heck they were thinking when they made VotDT (though the kid who played Eustace was great). It's too bad, the cast was marvelous. I hope they can bring them back for a making of The Horse and His Boy, if nothing else…

  41. Will says:

    I pretty much need to read the whole series again. LWW definitely reminded me of the book, as if they didn't make too many changes. I thought PC was pretty good. In an interview with Mr. Gresham, he explained why they changed things. Otherwise, you'd basically have Trumpkin narrating the story of Caspian's life, instead of seeing PC live his own story. The confusing part was why they added Peter's whole dilemma (wanting to prove himself) or the castle siege, which wiped out most of the army. VotDT I mainly disliked because it seemed so short (under 2 hours?), and you could tell they changed directors, aspect ratios, camera equipment, etc. I only remember bits and pieces of that book (Eustace's transformation, the sea monster, the 7 lords, reaching "the end of the world"), but not how the movie did them differently. I doubt swords were important, and it was supposed to be Ramandu himself showing up as a "retired star." They must've used the daughter instead, to explain her future marriage to Caspian.

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  43. agapeGIRL16 says:

    I kinda agree with you. PC seemed very dark and a bit too LOTR-ish. VOTDT was to me, "alive", in its own way. I suppose the extra stuff they put in: Dark Island, search for Gaul's mom, and etc. was to make it NOT boring. I honestly think they coul've down better, but VOTDT looks more like a very well-made kids' film, not a wide range one like TLTWATW.

  44. Christine Mirjam says:

    I discovered The Narnia Series when I was about 9 years old, and I have read the whole book series approximately once a year since then(now I have turned 27 years..). I loved the LWW because – when I watched it, I felt like this was how I had imagening the story while I was reading it. I think they did a tremendous job with that movie. With Prince Caspian, I had high expectations, hoping that movie would make me feel the same as the first. That movie was "okay", I did not like that they added the story as mentioned above with Peter etc, and I did not like that they held out some things of the story; if I remember the breaking of the bridge was not as in the book, Lucy and Aslan going to the village with Dionysus and his gang and "befreeing" people and children of Narnia was left out.. But all over, an "ok" movie, all though from my perspective, it would be way better if they could stick to the book – and probably make many more fans than it did.

    The VDT-movie was a big, BIG disappointment to me.. This book is one of my favorites of the whole series, and the fact that they changed and added a completely new storyline.. AND also left out things significant for the story. I think – again from my perspective, that sticking to the story in the book would have made this movie much more successful than it became. I belive that is what made LOTR and Harry Potter as successful as they have become, because pleasing the fans gains more success than making a good children's movie. At least in the long run; the fans will make sure that the movie will be watched over and over again and even make others watch it, but children will maybe watch it once or twice(I know I am generalizing) and then the movie might be forgotten. My greatest wish would be if they could re-make VDT and do it according to the book.. Although this will never happen. I really, really(!) hope they make the rest of the books to movies, but only if they could stick to the story.. CS Lewis and the incredible book series deserves it!

  45. George says:

    Dawn Treader was awful. I won't even buy the DVD to use as a coaster. If they make any more like VOTDT they might as well not make any more. Leave it to Hollywood to make an awful move, an awful adaptation of a wonderful book, and then close down the series because nobody liked it. Idiots.

  46. Dylan says:

    I have to say this, the movie had plenty of highlights, but even more so of the low lights. This is how I see it- 1. Adamson should have stayed on as director, and Disney should've stayed on the project. I think if these two factors had been in place the movie would have had an entirely different result. 2. Be thankful (even if it isn't the greatest movie in the world) that they even made a movie adaption of Dawn Treader to begin with. And yes, to be honest, it might have been better off if they never made it at all. But thats not the point, at least be grateful for them even making it at all. I say this, if they make Silver chair or Magicians Nephew with Apted as director and Donald whats-his-name as the composer, I just might not wase my time seeing it theaters. It would take plenty of good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and lots of positive feedback from friends and users on this iste for me to see it. But, thats my opinion, agree or disagree.

  47. RichBoyd says:

    Well, we (my children and I) are just now seeing them, all on DVD, none in theaters. I think it's a big much to blame a country for the pause (let's say) in production of the series. I do hope they do justice to the books. AND, I still think Lewis' trilogy (parallel to and preceding Tolkien's Hobbit tetrology as I understand it) is his best fiction work and hope they will be brought to the screen and done well. And I AM looking forward to "The Hobbit," which I have always felt was a vital first book of the LOTR series.

  48. RichBoyd says:

    typo correction: "…a bit much…"

  49. Dylan says:

    The hobbit is gonna be awesome. It is my favorite book out of all the LOTR books, and just might be my favorite book of all time.

  50. Rendarphil says:

    I absolutely LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia series. I discovered them in elementary school and have read the series several times. The LWW movie adaptation was a great compliment to the book. Prince Caspian was pretty good. Our family bought the DVD's for the first two movies. However, we haven't bought the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Although, theatrically, the movie was okay, it was huge disappointment as compared to the book. As movie-goers, we are well aware of the liberties that screenwriters take in making changes different from the books the movies are based upon. However, in VotDT, the changes actually left out the significant parts of the book. Because C.S. Lewis' series is full of symbolism, someone who understands and gets that symbolism should be advised when making the movies. Sadly, that's what really ruined the movie. When my family went to see the movie, there were specific key elements/scenes from the the book we were looking for and excited about seeing; unfortunately, they were missing, which totally took away from the movie.

  51. Isabelle says:

    Your's is a point of view where real intelilgence shines through.

  52. Jamie says:

    I really don't understand why so many of you have jumped on the bandwagon of VODT being a bad movie, because it wasn't.
    I'm highly critical and picky of movies, and although it did have a few slow moments, I enjoyed the movie very much.
    Prince Caspian was not a very good film, and that is why VODT did not do well, plus, none of these books will perform well past LWW, simply because that is the most popular.
    However, let's stop saying Dawn Treader was a disaster, because it was definitely a decent film. Not excellent, but not terrible.

  53. Madeline says:

    Um. Thank you. My sentiments EXACTLY, and I am a diehard fan of the books (and all of Lewis' work). I would love for them to take a 10-year break and have someone else remake the series. Sure, they would have to use different actors, but it's better than churning out mediocre/bad movies quickly just to make money off of Lewis' (amazing) work. They totally missed some really significant themes in those books that would have looked really good on screen (and would have pleased moviegoers).

  54. Tipper dehavilland says:

    another point is that the previous movie Prince Caspian had the plot slightly changed, considering that the book Prince Caspian is considered to be the dull and more boring than the other books in the sereies. After the last film was released and apparently Disney was dissapointed that they didn't get as much from Prince Caspian as they wanted, so after that Fox takes over the VotDT.
    Now i can understand changing the plot to fit the film cause then we might be there for hours waiting for them to reach the end of the world, i think it was a nice change since they weren't in Narnia. though with the White Whitch showing up again and again… too much.
    When i first saw the VotDT in the theater is was upset because i had hoped that they would follow the story line more closely, after a while i was seeing as Hollywood taking a very good book and "fixing it"… but then it changed to maybe some people see it different from me of what they could do with this storyline for people to see it visually.. and to want to continue the series of books and movies…
    another reason as to why it didn't do so well was because it was suppossedly going to be release a year earlier..
    anyway i hope they continue the rest of the series, their cast and crew have been amazing for the past three films, i hope just because some people didn't exceed what the producers wanted they won't "kill" off the rest of the films… and some people might have wanted to see it more in theatres but couldn't afford it and more people might just end up waiting until its released on dvd…

  55. feeki says:

    (hi,i'm from Taiwan.)
    I don't think the movies insult C.S. Lewis’s wonderful classics. I think the movies are perfect enough.And I feel Lewis will be proud of them.
    I love Narnia so much that I can't even stop missing them… the music ''there's a place for us'' said,''so if you feel like giving up,cause you don't fit in down here.'' I do believe in Lewis, I believe that he had made a wonderland for all of us.