Gresham on Possible Multi-Episode Narnia Series at Netflix

While leading a Master Class at The Logos Theatre, Co-producer Douglas Gresham (stepson of C.S. Lewis) said a few words about Netflix’s upcoming adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia.

NarniaWeb Spy Hogglestock writes:

[Gresham] didn’t say anything about feature-length movies but spoke positively about the multi-episode series because “you can put the whole book in.”

Also, he mentioned extrapolating action like the battle of Charn. He said it as if he were merely throwing out one possability. 

He said they were still in the negotiation stage with Netflix.

The official press release indicated Netflix is developing “both stellar feature-length and episodic programming.” No word on a release date.

Gresham is in Taylors, SC this week promoting The Logos Theatre’s stage adaptation of The Horse and His Boy.


20 Responses

  1. Christy says:

    “you can put the whole book in.”

    Man after my own heart.

  2. Demos says:

    I've long imagined the best way to start a cinematic Magician's Nephew retelling is with an epic battle scene involving Jadis and her sister, culminating in their face to face confrontation. "Victory, but not yours" and then switch to the opening credits in 19th century London. I think Netflix should absolutely begin with a prequel to LWW. Absolutely the way to go.

  3. Yang says:

    Magicians Nephew is the best way to start Narnia

  4. I suppose it's important to note that Netflix said "feature-length." When the Netflix deal was first announced, we all started wondering if the Chronicles would be released as a hodge-podge of movies and episodes. It seems more likely to me that each book will be divided into episodes of varying length, some flirting with "feature" lengthiness. If the Lewis Company and Netflix are still in negotiations, that initial press release really isn't much to go on. It served as an announcement, not a gospel blueprint for what to expect.

    Regardless, Gresham's comments are exciting. I hope he is given plenty of say into these new projects. It always seemed like with the Disney/Walden/Fox films that he was more of a producer in name only. I don't know how much he really got to affect those films, unfortunately.

    And extrapolating scenes from the books to punch up the action sounds interesting. A small part of me would like straight adaptations of each book. But if we're going to do episodes and "put the whole book in," then let's explicate as much as we can from Lewis's stories. There's no reason to invent more drama (like the Warg battle in Jackson's Two Towers); draw from what's already eluded to in the books, like Gresham hypothesized. Plenty of possibility with the fall of Charn, the Witch conquering Narnia, King Peter v. the giants of Ettinsmoor, etc. Of course, I hope they only include what serves the story. It'd be a shame if they overburdened this new series with battle after battle. I hope they also find more time for scenes of dialogue and the humor found in the books. The movies blew past many moments I wish they'd lingered on.

  5. Throne Warden says:

    Very interesting… I am sure all kinds of thoughts and ideas are being thrown around right now. The Netflix series is a kind of reset button for the franchise, a large, lovely blank canvas in which the classic stories can be told in the best cinematic language possible. There are so many different ways to do this, the possibilities are endless! Finally, this may be the ideal opportunity Gresham has been waiting for – to translate Narnia into a completely different medium – film. The story will be told differently than the books, but with the potential to be every bit as beautiful and powerful.

  6. MontyJose says:

    I’m glad they’re discussing extrapolating events like the battle of Charn, but I don’t lie the wording “extrapolating action”. But at least extrapolating implies it’s action that’s already inferred in the books. And if he’s talking about extrapolating, then it means he won’t be “slavishly” faithful to the books to the point that it’s boring”, as Glumpuddle put it. If you’re gonna adapt a book to film, take advantage of the film medium! Otherwise there is no point in making it.

  7. hogglestock says:

    I wouldn't put too much stock in the word "action" either. 🙂

  8. Hermit of the Northern March says:

    Oh, so they are actually planning on filming the stories instead of simply holding onto the rights. This is good.
    I look forward to hearing more, and prayers for Douglas Gresham. I am so grateful that he's worked to bring Narnia into the film medium.

  9. JFG II says:

    I’ve got an idea that I might put to the Forum: If we want “the whole book” in the Narnia Netflix adaptations, wouldn’t an episode-per-chapter construct work best? I’ve read lots of posts already about Narnia being chopped up into TV seasons, so why not 15-17 episodes per season to match the chapters of the books?

    Yes. It would require elaborations from the text so that each episode would be its own story, and be 20mins-60mins each in length (Even though a child’s program is usually only 22-24 mins and Netflix doesn’t follow any strict episode lengths).

    Examples: LWW, Ch. 1: “Lucy Looks Into a Wardrobe” or SC: Ch. 1: “Behind the Gym” are chapters that are usually 10-15 mins in adaptations, so a more concrete introduction and story arc for those first episodes would be nessecary. Netflix wouldn’t have to add much, but the pacing could be steady and unrushed.

    No. It might not apply to all Narnia seasons. SC & LB both have final 4 chapters where the bad guys/bad gals are defeated and the heros are not in real danger. That might require shorter episodes. But that’s the beauty of Netflix making something new for Narnia adaptations; It doesn’t have to apply to everything: Episodes can be anywhere from between 10 mins to 60 mins depending on their content. Filler is fine as long as it helps the story unfolding.

    I’m genuinely excited at the possibilities here. Of course I’m still disappointed that we won’t get to see the last 4 Narnia books as feature films shown in theaters, but that idea went out the door when Netflix and Narnia became betrothed to one another. I just hope Netflix respects Narnia enough to allow her to raise their episodic offspring the way she feels is best.

  10. Cleander says:

    As long as it all comes out on DVD eventually, I've decided I'll be happy.

  11. Zach says:

    100% agree, so long as the adaptation is done faithfully.
    There's also more room for making new stuff up, which is troubling.

  12. Brenda Lizama says:

    i just hope they don't screw up the whole saga when Netflix projects come out

  13. ChristianMan17 says:

    Why does he wanna start over? He was excited when ‘The Silver Chair’ was green lit as a movie. Isn’t his dying wish was to c all 7 books come to life?
    And plus, why do they wanna make Narnia as both film and tv series?
    R they trying to get into a competition with the BBC ‘His Dark Materials’ people to see how great they can do an amazing tv franchise?
    I’m really not giving my hopes up for this. Because I’m really starting to think that C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series aren’t very suitable for feature length projects. The other adaptations couldn’t finish the series in the same Continuity. They filmed LWW four times. But none of them could get to ‘The Last Battle’.
    And plus, I don’t really care for Netflix that much because I’d rather have the movies on DVD. So I can watch them whenever and wherever I want without staying in one place.

  14. JFG II says:

    Just an idea…

    A Netflix Original Series

    Season One:
    Digory & Lucy

    Season Two:
    Shasta & Caspian

    Season Three:
    Eustace & Jill

    A Netflix Original Movie:

    Season One: Books 1 & 2 (2020?)
    Season Two: Books 3 & 4 (2021?)
    Season Three: Books 5 & 6 (2023?)
    Original Movie: Book 7 (2025?)

  15. Johnny Mike says:

    I was thinking that a good format would be:

    Netflix Feature Film: The Magician's Nephew
    Netflix Feature Film: The Horse and His Boy

    Netflix Original Series:
    Season 1 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    Season 2 – Prince Caspian
    Season 3 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    Season 4 – The Silver Chair
    Season 5 – The Last Battle

  16. JFG II says:

    ChristianMan 17, personally I don’t think Douglas Gresham really desires to adapt the Narnia books into films during his lifetime. He just wants them to be made well, if there is a demand for them. It’s his responsibility to look after C. S. Lewis’s works while the estate still has the rights to them all. I feel very hollow right now, about the state of new adaptations: I have NO IDEA what the heck will happen down the road – and whether the books will be faithfully adapted at all.

  17. Col Klink says:

    It sounds like it was his wish to see all the books made into movies but, in the words of Herbert Kretzmer, "there are dreams that cannot be and there are storms we cannot weather."

  18. Constantine says:

    I suppose all the story should begin from the scene where Aslan is watching at the newly created Charn giving the power to creatures to rule it. And then after ages of life the story of the battle when Jadis destroys her own world.

  19. Narnia4Ever says:

    Im honestly not sure how I feel about this. I mean, I LOVE Narnia and excited and glad that their making a series and, possibly, some films. But, since I love Narnia, I really don't want them to ruin it for me. So, idk. I really hope this turns out good and they don't ruin it. I don't really care how they do it, but I do hope it stays true to the books even more than the movies did.

  20. Christopher says:

    I’ve been awfully tempted to break down and buy BBC’s version of The Silver Chair on DVD for that very reason (even though I’ve never read the book). I like having a hard copy of any film or movie I decide to watch.

    I already know it won’t be visually consistent with Andrew Adamson’s epic vision, but since the thing with Joe Johnston fell through, I’m reaching the point where just the idea of adding one more title to my beloved Narnia DVD collection is starting to sound like the lesser of two evils for now.