Matthew Aldrich is “Creative Architect” of Netflix’s Narnia

Matthew Aldrich has been chosen to oversee Netflix’s The Chronicles of Narnia adaptations.

Aldrich will work across both series and film and serve as a creative architect on all projects under the deal.

Read full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

Aldrich co-wrote Disney/Pixar’s Coco (2017), which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. More recently, he adapted Spinning Man (2018) for the screen. Prior to that, he penned Cleaner (2007) starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Thanks to ‘narnia fan 7’ for being the first to send us an alert.

Where should Netflix start their Narnia reboot? Here‘s what we think.

39 Responses

  1. Impending Doom says:

    Looks as if they took a risk and hired a (relatively) unknown creative rather than a big studio name for the project…

    Optimism is slowly increasing.

  2. Cleander says:


    But I never heard of this guy before.
    So, what does “creative architect” mean exactly? A writer? Director? Artist?

  3. narnia fan 7 says:

    I’m not familiar with any of what little he’s done, but he does seem like an interesting choice so, we’ll see.

    I was staring to think (hope really) that maybe when Netflix said they were making “series and films” they really meant they were going to do one or the other, but hadn’t decided which. But I guess they are indeed doing BOTH, which is both confusing and worrying to me.

  4. fantasia says:

    That is a VERY good question. I don’t know. When I googled it, all I got were hits on this specific news article from the various sites that are reporting it.

    Here’s my guess which could be wrong or right. If Netflix does a series (which that word keeps popping up), many times they have several directors of different episodes in a series. Perhaps this is a term for the overseer to make sure everything remains consistent?

  5. Glumpuddle says:

    The same thing as a showrunner, I assume. I expect he’ll have a big creative voice in setting the vision for the plots of the series and films and keeping them cohesive.

  6. icarus says:

    I would assume he is fulfilling the same sort of role that Kevin Feige does in overseeing the Marvel Cinematic Universe

  7. Glumpuddle says:

    Yes, exactly.

  8. Eustace says:

    Does this mean that we will see other people hired soon for this project? I am hoping that is what this means. I would like to hear that they are doing something with the series. News is always good.

  9. Cleander says:

    It’s especially good after this long!

  10. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    For a long time I’ve thought that filmmakers need to take a “Pixarian” approach to Narnia — creating a collection of deeply moving stories that all stand on their own feet as singular films — so I’m quite pleased that a Pixar alumnus is going to be at the helm for Narnia on Netflix! 😀

  11. MelanieJoy says:

    I am excited but please please please!!!! don’t make an animation. Please..

  12. narnia fan 7 says:

    It’s already been confirmed to be live-action.

  13. Undragoned says:

    It is very encouraging to see Netflix moving forward in getting the adaptations going.
    I am excited to know that Doug Gresham has big say in what goes into the series/movies.
    The integrity of Jack’s original ideas are critical in getting his intended thoughts and the “stories among the stories” across.

  14. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    I see your point, but I don’t think that’s something you can really hire a person to be, if that makes sense? Like Feige has produced every MCU movie plus I believe most of the X-Men, Fantastic 4, and Spiderman films. Which means he’s a giant nerd<3, but also I find it hard to believe that Disney, Sony, Universal, and Fox ALL hired him?

    I'm a little shaky as to how Hollywood works, but I take it that he's the one who starts those projects and all the studios agree/fund it? Whereas here it sounds like Netflix approached him, not vice versa? I could be totally wrong though so feel free to correct me

    Hopefully he IS as big a Narnia fan as Feige is a comic book fan, but this makes me worried.

  15. Eric Gjovaag says:

    Whaddya mean you’ve never heard of him? Go watch “Coco” then already! It’s a great film!

  16. telmarine says:

    How many times are they going to announce a director or writer? If we got a movie every time we got an announcement like this we would have finished the entire franchise already along with several series’. Not buying it. Not yet, anyways.

  17. Reepicheep775 says:

    I really like Coco, so that’s a plus for me.

    This appears to confirm the idea that Netflix is going to create Narnia films and TV shows which is… interesting.

  18. I can see why that would be confusing and worrying to some people. However I think as things are announced and released, it will make more sense. And there’s a potentially huge plus side that might work in our favour. Some books might be more suited to being a mini-series, and some more suited to being a feature film. For example, I can see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader working really well as a mini-series (due to it’s somewhat episodic nature). And I think The Silver Chair would be much more suited to being a feature film, due to the quest-like nature of it’s plot.

    From the producers’ standpoint, it also means they have flexibility if they want to add in extra content, such as new subplots or additional stories (particularly in series, I would say). Whether or not that is a good thing is up to each fan to decide!

  19. narnia fan 7 says:

    Fair enough. I can see the potential benefit of doing some of the books as films and others in an episodic format. (Though I’m not sure if I like that idea) But, my main concern is I think doing both films and series leaves the door more open for them to do spinoff material not based on the books. Which I would be very strongly against.

    But, to be completely fair we don’t know for sure what there’re plan is. So just have to wait and see.

  20. I wonder if the announced production is more likely to be made after this announcement since it is Netflix we are talking about. It is a different kettle of Mister Beaver’s fish than the Silver Chair saga. Netflix is investing a lot of money (think over $4 Billion) into original content, and making a Narnia franchise is probably a move to compete with Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings series. Given Netflix’s numerous output of productions that are not even based on known properties, I would be surprised if this doesn’t go ahead. One caveat to that is – if Netflix are only putting announcements out there to test the public interest in Narnia (and are making a judgement to go ahead only if it is a huge positive response) then it would make more sense if it didn’t happen. But to me, that is not very likely.

  21. Col Klink says:

    I don’t want to rain on your parade, but Douglas Gresham was also involved with the Walden Narnia adaptations and a lot of fans had issues with those. Maybe you didn’t though of course.

  22. Monty Jose says:

    I’m actually really happy for this news. Seeing as how Coco is his claim to fame, so to speak, it makes me optimistic for a family-friendly Narnia.
    Also, if he’s the Kevin Feige of Narnia, then hopefully that means they’re taking continuity seriously.

  23. Fireberry says:

    “Coco” is one of the best animated films ever, with huge emotions, sincere spirituality, cosmic scope and plenty of playful humour & world/character detail. I’d call that a good warmup to faithfully expanding Narnia. Excellent choice, Netflix.

  24. JFG II says:

    Me too! I don’t know if they hired the right guy for Narnia, but I’m glad it looks like they’re taking risks this early in development in order to bring C.S. Lewis’s books to life.

    Also, I envy this guy. No, seriously. I ENVY HIM. He’s the guy in charge of all development on Narnia (visual and story), making shore the Narnia series works individually and as a whole! What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall, listening to the creative work going on for Narnia at his offices, let alone – to be put in the privaleged position of leading the charge!


  25. Lord Argoz says:

    The Hollywood Reporter article says, “Netflix conducted a wide-ranging search to find its architect, with Aldrich winning the multi-level job.”
    This sounds to me like Netflix probably heard quite a few different ‘pitches’ from various creative minds, each explaining how they would tackle the Narnia adaptions, the tone, mediums, marketing angle etc.
    I can’t wait to see why Netflix chose Aldrich and what his plan is…

  26. Movie Aristotle says:

    I haven’t seen any of his movies mentioned above, but he looks friendly enough.

  27. Christopher says:

    I will automatically boycott any reboots of Narnia 2: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 4: Prince Caspian, and 5: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so as far as I’m concerned, any effort where those 3 movies are concerned are a total waste of time and energy on the filmmakers’ part. They might as well not even bother doing them at all. Whatever is said about them in any review, I refuse to watch a reboot of what I already have.

    When I want to see those 3 movies, it will always be Andrew Adamson’s Extended Editions of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, and Michael Apted’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

    If I pay any attention to what comes of this Netflix fling, it will only be to cherry-pick from what they’ve done with Narnia 1: The Magician’s Nephew, 3: The Horse and His Boy, 6: The Silver Chair, and 7: The Last Battle. Plain and simple.

  28. icarus says:

    If those movies were perfect, definitive, adaptations of their source material then I would be inclined to take the same approach, however the first two are far from perfect, and VoDT is almost unwatchably bad in places, and so far removed from the book that potentially getting another shot at adapting it is an absolute blessing in my opinion.

  29. Glumpuddle says:

    Personally, I still feel like I’m waiting for someone to make “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” into a movie.

  30. telmarine says:

    I completely understand how you feel. I know the Walden Narnia films aren’t perfect, but to me those where the definitive adaptations for those books. I enjoy all three films; even VDT (the most controversial of the three). Despite this, I will try to give Netflix a chance. They will be giving it their best effort at the franchise. If LOTR can be on Amazon, and Game of Thrones can be on HBO, then at least having Narnia as one of Netflix’s fantasy tentpoles puts it as being on the same level of being one of the great fantasy franchises.

  31. Col Klink says:

    Would Christopher or Telmarine or anybody be interested in explaining why they consider these movies the definitive adaptations of those particular books? I’m not asking because I think they’re terrible or I’m shocked that anyone could love them. I just think it’d be interesting to hear about.

  32. Christopher says:

    Um . . . so sorry, but I’m also boycotting Amazon’s fling with Middle-Earth as well. Unless I hear that they’re adapting the other Middle-Earth books besides The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – like The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, or The Book of Lost Tales, etc. – I’m not really going to take much interest or waste my time with it.

    To put it bluntly, the moment I read that The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was getting the Extended Edition DVD Gift Set treatment back in 2006, which is what happened to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, resulting in over 40 DVDs from that (not to mention Peter Jackson did it again with the King Kong Deluxe Extended Edition Gift Set) I started anticipating a Collector’s DVD Gift Set for all 7 Narnia movies as well.

    Definitive adaptations? If it’s got an Special Extended DVD Edition Gift Set with hours upon hours of Special Features with collectible statues, I’d pretty much say that crushes the competition. Don’t you think?

  33. Col Klink says:

    Um….I’m really confused. You think an adaptation is the definitive one because it has an extended edition and several dvds worth of bonus features? Is length your only criteria? What about things like casting, writing, music or visuals? (I’m not necessarily saying any of those were bad in Walden’s Narnia adaptations. I just think saying an adaptation is the best because it has extended edition sounds silly.)

  34. Christopher says:

    Okay, let me go an entirely different – yet equal – route on convincing you:

    Buy yourself a copy of 1 or both of the “Official Illustrated Movie Guides” for Narnia, and take time to read them. They’ve got one for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and another for Prince Caspian. In those books, Andrew Adamson lays bare before the viewer how instrinsically detailed he went in his vision of Narnia: He went so far as to resort to placing physical evidence in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that the 1st story, The Magician’s Nephew, had already been made into a movie – such as the carvings in the Wardrobe.

    In the DVD commentary, Andrew Adamson also reveals that Digory Kirke’s ashtray being the shape of an apple was no coincidence – it was crafted after the silver apple that healed Digory’s mother. Another detail like this is Jadis’ icicle crown gradually melting and shrinking the longer she spent time around Edmund Pevensie, one of the foretold Sons of Adam who would take the Narnian throne back.

    There are, of course, other examples like this throughout both Illustrated Movie Guides. This was followed by a third book called “The Crafting of Narnia”. All 3 books are very compelling reads, and in my opinion, you’d be better off reading those for yourself than just me trying to hit the highlights on a NarniaWeb forum.

  35. Skilletdude says:

    I see your point, Christopher. I also very much appreciated Adamson’s attention to detail in LWW and PC. In PC especially, he snuck in references to Tashbaan, Ettinsmoor, etc. when the Telmarine soldiers are marching to Aslan’s How. He even created that wonderful scene with Susan and Lucy next to the fire about why Susan didn’t see Aslan, and how she’s not as keen on being back in Narnia as Lucy is. It seems Adamson was taking steps to foreshadow Susan’s eventual position in LB.

    But I’m with Col Klink in that I don’t have the same respect for the Walden Narnia adaptations as I do for, say, Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. LWW and PC are competent films, and there are many elements in them to admire, but they are far from top-notch, in my opinion. I don’t include VODT in that statement as I find it to be not only a very poor adaptation, but a rather weak film in general.

  36. I know, right?! What an honor and a blessing that would be. But I’m definitely optimistic about their choice and about the new Narnia series as a whole. 🙂

  37. Intocols says:

    Please make Narnia’s next part.

  38. Netflix is always my favorite streaming service I can make a choice always to get entertained.

  39. ick05 says:

    A creative Architect is what this series has missed, so that’s something.

    It seems a shame to waste the three movies though ( & the PC movie just needs abit of editing in the battle at right time, – which from memory is right before they dash off to do the underground cave ruse – in hurrying up to the point of the movie to that point with Lucy & Aslan waking the forest, to be a diff. kettle of fish in it’s payoff.

    Would have been good to have had MN & H&HB movies by now…lol

    For the sake of wishful thinking idleness….., …….. i would look at Narnia cinematically as it is, and going forward as, each movie is 2 things: One being the story of the episode, the other being the story of Narnia at that point in time, and they compliment each other as you go along.

    And then, being the creative architext, lol, i decide what the narnia time thing is for that episode, go with a director’s vision for how the story is, & go with a list of dialogue moments from Gresham to accomodate in some degree giving nods to the book purists.

    So backing the truck up:
    LW&W movie: that was about the restoration of innocence to Narnia & all that
    PC movie: clash between politics and magic/nature of Narnia
    VotDT movie: although the strokes were broader, was Narnian graduation from childhood to adulthood & exploration.

    so far so good, oh well…
    MN movie: the bitterness of the fall and small mindedness, the rotten apples episode with the new orchard at the end. Episodic movie story, no idea but with Tilda Swinton reprising role.

    H&HB: nobility of wisdom, not wisdom of nobility, Narnia age story. Episodic movie story, do have couple of ideas for that if agreeable. Would be a arabian nights type of cinematic approach to it for the episode, with A. Adamson, ( taking a cue from the work & feel done in Cirque du Soleil movie) and the return of the Pevensies.

    For TSC, i liked that movie/drawing that showed the prince meeting the mysterious & powerful lady of the underworld in the lush forest, i’m not sure that was what it was meant to be depicting and could have been something from PC, but it looked great for that moment of SC whatever.

    Apart from that, would get fantasy writers who have homaged narnia as influences in their work, to come up with series storys, for any of the movie periods already done, if there were to be those sort of things made also.

    And with that, my idle wishful thinking architect time is up, for Narnia!