Markus and McFeely Talk The Silver Chair

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the screenwriters of the first three Narnia films, shared some thoughts on The Silver Chair in a recent interview with SuperHeroHype . Their latest film, Captain America: The Winter Solider, released on Friday and set a new opening record for April.

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeelySHH: Before you guys go, I want to quickly ask about “Chronicles of Narnia,” because I’m a huge fan of the books. Do you think there’s a future for the movies as a franchise at this point and are you still involved at all?

Markus: They’re trying to do a fourth one.

McFeely: Yeah, they’re trying to do “The Silver Chair” right now but I don’t think there’s a studio.

McFeely: No, I think they switched producers, but “Silver Chair” I think is a good choice because it’s a pretty coherent adventure that’s not terribly tied to what comes before or after so you can make a really solid adventure movie and not get too bound up inside this other thing. It’s three acts, it’s literally a beginning, middle and end and it feels like a whole story. “Caspian” was harder because it takes place a thousand years later and “Dawn Treader” was really hard. We were kicked off that one. The problem with “Dawn Treader” is that it’s a lovely book with no stakes. It’s a philosophical exploration that needed to be turned into a heroic quest, but it basically just wasn’t.

Markus: I look forward to them attempting to make “The Horse and His Boy” and “The Last Battle.” It’s an evil talking monkey!

McFeely: Wasn’t there a donkey wearing a lion skin, something like that?

Markus: Yeah.

McFeely: We always thought that if we did “The Silver Chair,” we’ll crush that one, but everything worked out for a reason. If we stayed with that, we wouldn’t be here.

To be clear, Markus and McFeely are not involved with The Silver Chair at this time. David Magee is currently the only writer to be announced. Thanks to Skilletdude for the find.


27 Responses

  1. Jewel says:

    Never heard of them. But it's good that Narnia is getting in the news. Would like to hear other websites talking about it{ and I know a few already are}, but I want more.

  2. Reepicheep775 says:

    Yup. I'm glad we have David Magee for this one.

  3. coracle says:

    Jewel, have you seen the first two Narnia films? Try looking at the credits.

  4. Narnian says:

    I'm waiting for you, The Silver Chair movie!

    ~~~ I'll be right here waiting for you…. 😀

  5. Twinimage says:

    Ha! Love the comments about the Dawn Treader movie and the evil monkey! lol

  6. Impending Doom says:

    They're actually still credited for Dawn Treader.

  7. Impending Doom says:

    A small part of me wants to see Markus and McFeely write a draft of SC. I think it would be right up they're alley. But Magee seems more of a fit for my version of a Narnia movie so I'm happy!

  8. Eustace says:

    I think these guys would do so find job with Silver Chair, but, I am glad for the change.

  9. Swanwhite7 says:

    I know, it's taking waaaay to long!!!!!!!!

  10. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    I'm glad that they've been doing well with other projects, but I'm also pretty relieved that we have some new people working on the script for The Silver Chair. I really want a fresh take on Narnia at this point, and I'm hoping that Magee really delves into the themes of the story and gives it the right feel. It's nice to hear that Markus and McFeely think that an SC film could be a slam-dunk, though.

  11. icarus says:

    Their script for the first Captain America movie was great, and the script for the Winter Soldier was downright brilliant.

    There is probably a variety of reasons why their work for Marvel has been better than it was for Narnia, but in part I think it comes down to the fact that all the people at Marvel Studios really "get" their source material – everyone at Marvel understands what makes Captain America a great character – they haven't tried to make him "cool" and "edgy", or cynical and gritty, in order to appeal to the modern day youth audiences, but rather they have stuck completely to to his strengths as a genuinely earnest and thoroughly virtuous hero, and even highlighted his slightly old-fashioned sensibilities, and audiences have really responded well to it.

    By contrast, no-one at Walden really "got" Narnia, and it seemed everyone spent far too much time second-guessing what the audience would and would not find "cool" or "modern", and I think that lack of a clear vision filtered down to the script-writers who eventually came up with fairly generic watered-down action fantasy scripts (though I still applaud their efforts at creating a fairly coherent movie-like narrative out of some difficultly structured books)- if only the genuine heart of the books had been even slightly there I think people would of forgiven the larger structural changes.

    Either way though, full credit for Winter Soldier. A great script and a brilliant movie.

  12. Prince Norin says:

    I find your comments interesting, because I actual feel like the heart of the books was what was preserved in the movies . . . perhaps you and I have a bit of a different perspective on what the heart of the books are, but I really felt like each movie captured the essential theme and heartbeat of Lewis's message from the books. For instance, VDT seems to essentially be a book about overcoming temptations, and that came through very clearly in the movie. I think they could have done some things better plot-wise (though I try not to criticize too much because I don't have a solidly better solution to making it a cohesive adventure, and I always knew it would be a challenge to make VDT into a good movie – it probably would have worked better as a TV miniseries), but I felt that the core essence of the book was preserved in the Walden film.

    Of course, we all have a different take on it, but I honestly felt that preserving the core messages of the books was something that was done well.

  13. Bree says:

    "It's an evil talking monkey!" Lol

  14. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    As a side note, I feel like "Evil Talking Monkey" is just waiting to be snapped up as a username on NarniaWeb forums. 😛

  15. Radagast II (The even more ridiculous!) says:

    Oh, I do hope they do the Horse and His Boy soon. It should come right after S.C. (Horse and His boy is my favorite, at you might have guessed from the screen name.)

  16. glumPuddle says:

    I strongly disagree that VDT is a book about temptation (I had never heard that suggested until the movie came out). And not only does the movie fail to capture anything like the spirit of the book, I think it's actually very anti-Lewis. Very much the opposite of NARNIA. Click my screenname for more.

  17. Aslan's #1 Fan says:

    Ditto. I'm dying for The Last Battle.

  18. Narnian says:

    Yep, can't believe it's already 4 years, I miss them, those Narnia characters… 🙂

  19. Reepicheep says:

    I'm just happy to see some *recent* news on the subject!! I can't tell you how many times I've searched "when is the next Narnia movie coming out" and only found answers from years ago. I don't think SC is the story I would have gone with next (as it's already been done and I can't wait for MN, lol) but it's great news that they haven't dropped the series altogether.

    As far as the previous movies are concerned, I think they did the best they could with what they had; a great story doesn't always make a great movie, and in my opinion most of what they added was good. As others have said, I didn't like the little love story with Susan and Caspian, but I also think some of the changes were a breath of fresh air; for example, some of the funny lines in PC and VDT like "Yes, I'm a mouse… you people have no imagination!" etc. and "No one touches the tail!" had me laughing hard – and what's wrong with that?

    Now in terms of more serious plot deviations, again, I think that some (but certainly not all) were okay. One that really caught me off-guard was how in both PC and VDT, they playing with the idea of bringing back the White Witch; no one saw it coming, not even lifelong Narnia fans like me, and that unexpected twist was kind of cool. When I saw PC at the theaters, I was totally shocked, wondering, "oh my gosh, are they really going to bring her back? They can't do that… can they?" Of course they didn't (which was good), but the alternative (just bringing it up, like in the book) wouldn't have helped. In a movie, if they bring something up it only makes sense that someone would try to do it. Don't get me wrong – some of the changes really stunk – but others added to the movies in a positive way.

    And speaking of the White Witch, do you think they'll use the same actress to play the Green Lady? I know they're not the same person in the book (just in "the same crew", whatever that means) but they represent the same thing, and that's how it was done in the BBC version. And the fact they almost brought her back in PC, and surrounded her in green mist in VDT, has me thinking they might.

  20. Bother Eustace says:

    They did a really awesome job with Captain America. I saw their credit and remembered them from the first two Narnia films, it was one of those "Hey, I know them!" moments. =P

  21. Ash says:

    Make this movie as soon as possible please. I really miss Narnia.:( I'm watching Narnia movies every day and I'll never stop. I apologize, but can someone explain me why they stopped making Narnia movies? Thank you 🙂

  22. Ash says:

    And sorry if I have written something wrong, my english isn't very good 😀

  23. Did the 4 Pevensie siblings are there too for the upcoming film, The Silver Chair? Or if theyre not there, in The Horse And His Boys, The Magicians Nephew, or The Final Battle ? Please

  24. Hoon Kim says:

    I think The Silve Chair is the last movie of the franchise. The Pevensie children are too old, but they're going to start with a new cast, since it doesn't involve them.

  25. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a
    little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1
    or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  26. Phosphorus says:

    I am glad to learn that Magee is writing Silver Chair. Markus and McFeely have consistently seemed the weakest element of the first three films' production teams. They seem to be more at home with superhero films (though they remain thoroughly conventional), but I'm still grateful they're getting someone new.

  27. Duco says:

    Who is going to play Eustace in this one? Will Poulter seemas to be a little too old to match the character.