Douglas Gresham “Hasn’t Heard a Word” on Netflix’s Narnia

Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C. S. Lewis and executive producer of Netflix’s upcoming movies and series based on The Chronicles of Narnia, was recently a guest on The Call to Mastery podcast with Jordan Raynor. During the discussion about his own life and his memories of his famous stepfather, Mr. Gresham also commented on the current stage of development for Netflix’s Narnia adaptation:

Jordan Raynor: What is the latest on this partnership between Netflix and the C. S. Lewis Company?

Douglas Gresham: Yeah, to be honest, I can’t tell you very much at all. We did the deal quite some months ago and I haven’t heard a word since. I mean, I am listed as the producer, but I’ve heard no word on what they plan to do or how they plan to do it or when they plan to do it for that matter. Looking at things, I don’t know whether Netflix is ready to rock ‘n roll on this or not, but we will find out in due course.

The exchange begins at the 20:55 mark of the episode. While this podcast was posted yesterday, the conversation was recorded in November of last year.

33 Responses

  1. Cleander says:

    Well, that’s a little disappointing. Just curious though; who WOULD have that information?

  2. Timmy-The-Ute says:

    This is what I expected. Netflix isn’t going to produce anything. They just want to own the rights to the franchise.

    • Telmarine says:

      Why own the rights if not to produce anything? I’m confident we will eventually see something – the question is when? They paid too much for the rights to just sit on them. Netflix is in a very new scenario. They are fighting off new competitors in Disney+ and Amazon etc. The best way to fight back is to have their own high profile content. Narnia will go a long ways in assisting with that. Netflix is expected to spend more than $17 billion in original content in 2020 (far more than its steaming rivals). I doubt Narnia wouldn’t be in the conversation among that.

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        I agree with Telmarine. I don’t think Netflix has the money to buy a franchise and the twiddle their thumbs indefinitely. Like, wouldn’t that be against their contract?

        Like with a lot of superheroes, the contract is something like: If you don’t make a movie in such and such years, Marvel gets their character back for free. Time restarts every time you make a new movie.

        So like if they refuse to make something the rights should just go back to C.S. Lewis estate

    • Bobby Binnie says:

      nah I don’t think so Timmy.

  3. JFG II says:

    Could mean something or could mean nothing: Put a brave face on it, guys! I am looking forward to hearing Talking Beasts opinions on this, though.

  4. fantasia says:

    My concern is less that things are happening behind the scenes, and more that Mr. Gresham will be shoved aside by Netflix. Theoretically that shouldn’t happen due to the contract, but on the other hand, that’s more or less what happened with Walden’s VDT.
    #puddleglum

    • Telmarine says:

      Good point. Gresham’s lack of info doesn’t mean nothing is going on, but he’s definitely not in the loop. I’d be curious if Gresham ends up being approached with a finished product or a product already in production. But the more likely scenario is that the project is just not far into production.

      • Cleander says:

        It may just take a while. How long after Amazon bought the rights to LOTR did they start putting out casting announcements anyway?

      • Glenwit says:

        Amazon got the rights to the Lord of the Rings on November 13, 2017. They just started announcing casting a couple months ago – first season is apparently supposed to air next year if all goes according to plan.
        I guess about 4 years from start to finish seems to be the precedent here.

    • narnia forever says:

      ik vraag me dan af weten Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes en Anna Popplewell en de rest die ooit een grote rol hebben gespeeld in Naria hier iets van ik vind dat ze de hele cast ook is informatie mogen geven over de plannen en zeker Douglas Gresham

  5. narnia fan 7 says:

    Hmm, that’s more than a little eyebrow raising. Makes me wonder if either Netflix is keeping him and the Estate out of the loop for some reason, or that there hasn’t really been any real development done on Narnia Netflix, and there more or less sitting on they hand with it.

  6. Icarus says:

    Whilst it’s disappointing to hear that there was been no real progress since announcing the deal, we also kind of already knew this was the case, if we are all being honest.

    If the project had entered any serious pre-production phase we would have seen all sorts of news about backroom staff being hired, contracts signed with different companies, schedules being announced.

    I’m usually pretty good at chasing down leads on movie projects via the internet, but it’s been absolutely dead for months on Narnia. Not even a hint of anything to be found out there.

  7. Lauren says:

    This is very disconcerting. I wonder if the success of the new Witcher series has satisfied Netflix’s need to answer the epic fantasy gap that GOT left behind? Like they bought the rights to Narnia in case Witcher failed? I hope not.

    • Telmarine says:

      I doubt Narnia is only a backup plan. Narnia can coexist with The Witcher. Let’s remember that Netflix is trying to create a year round slate of original content. The Witcher is just one series. Netflix simultaneously had The Witcher and Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance in production. With Dark Crystal not picking up much steam, things look ripe for Narnia to pick up the fantasy torch. Dark Crystal had rich production values, so I’m confident Narnia will look similar.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Netflix lost a huge anti-abortion base. That has been a problem for them they are not discussing.

    • LK says:

      1. What would anti-choice people and Netflix have to do with each other, 2. Why would Netflix care or discuss it anyway, like, streaming companies don’t make statements like “oh yeah we have a lot of pro/anti-choice people” like that’s just not something that happens, 3. What would any of that have to do with Narnia anyway.

  9. Larry W. says:

    It isn’t surprising since there usually are many delays in making films and TV series. Netflix knows that they won’t make any money on the project unless they actually do something with it. Hopefully, that will motivate them to really start with the production.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    From what I’ve read, the majority of Hollywood projects initially in development are set aside. Maybe Netflix feels that the payoff isn’t great enough, or they cannot find a script that they feel will be interesting enough to the modern viewer and stay faithful enough to avoid alienating fans. They have more freedom when making a series if there aren’t built-in expectations. Back in 2005, the quality special effects were one thing that made people (who weren’t Narnia fans) want to see LWW. Now, lots of things have good effects so it is harder so impress people.
    I hope it’s just that they’re having trouble developing it and not that they don’t want Douglas Gresham being involved.

  11. Fetaro says:

    Netflix France just posted about Narnia on Facebook. : “Tiens, on ne sait pas si t’étais au courant, mais on prépare des séries et des films dans l’univers du Monde de Narnia.” – “Hey, we don’t know if you know it, but we are preparing shows and movies about the Narnia universe” – https://www.facebook.com/netflixfrance/posts/2781465015269063

  12. CS Loser says:

    All I can say is I would rather no Narnia adaptation be made than another crappy one. Not crappy in production quality, but in caliber of characters, story, and loyalty to the existing lore.

    I would hate to see a Narnia series that gets infected with a bunch of politically correct BS (must have a gay couple, must have people of different skin color when the original character wasnt that race) or just elements that arent necessary (romantic interest where there is none, nudity and/or sex, etc).

    I don’t know if I quite trust Netflix to handle this properly.

    • J says:

      Well, be prepared to hate it, because I can garrentee you that there will be at least some nonwhite people who are playing major characters in the these stories. Especially when their book race isn’t that important to reproduce on screen.

      It’s not all PC. Sometimes it’s just creative. Lewis made Calormens dark, but never decribed Aravis as such.

      Yeah.

    • LK says:

      Considering there were few canon couples in Narnia anyway (typically just whoever the king and queen were) and absolutely no word one way or another about any background/side pairings, you could easily have LGBTQIA individuals and not have it buck with canon. Same thing with people of color; unless they were explicitly stated to be white, there’s no reason they can’t be anything else. It’s not “political correctness,” it’s that we’re not living in the 1940s and 50s anymore, where everyone tried desperately to pretend differences didn’t exist. Gay people and brown people Existing aren’t a matter of being “politically correct” or not, and what construes political correctness in the modern era is something very different.

  13. This really disappointing.

  14. AslanNarnia says:

    Disney Plus is the place for any continuing Narnia adventures to be made. Disney movies and television shows stand the test of time as evidence for this.

  15. Jesse says:

    Maar ik heb een vraagje hier over, disney heeft al 3 films gemaakt over narnia ik ik zou het minder leuk vinden al ze opnieuw beginnen. Want wij zijn nu aan deze personen gewend. Mijn vraag is dus: blijven de acteurs hetzelfde????

  16. Jesse Klinkenberg (nl) says:

    But I have a question about this, disney has already made 3 movies about narnia I wouldn’t like it if they start over. Because we are now used to these people. So my question is: do the actors stay the same

    • AslanNarnia says:

      Disney only made the first two films. If it had been on Disney Plus then they could have used these two films to continue on from in a television format.

      They could have made the Voyage of the Dawn Treader as a television movie or series to follow on from the Prince Caspian movie but recasting most of the original cast from the 2010 movie, one would imagine, as it was a while ago. Only Ben Barnes would have had a realistic opportunity of being recast.

      Sadly with no forward planning we await to see if Netflix will develop the show or whether it was just bought so Disney could not get it for their streaming channel.

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