Early ‘Dawn Treader’ Script Included a Green Witch and Soul-Eating Cave | Talking Beasts

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was still in theaters when pages from an early Voyage of the Dawn Treader screenplay leaked online. It included the Lady of the Green Kirtle, a Lucy/Caspian attraction, and lots of weird stuff. That was 12 years ago, and now we have the ability to compare this draft to the final film. In this episode, the podcasters give overall impressions of the pages that made NarniaWeb explode.

Glumpuddle, Gymfan

20 Responses

  1. JFG II says:

    Given that I spend my occasional Narnia days thinking about the Narnia movies that never were, I’m looking forward to looking to Narnia’s future as well.

  2. Col Klink says:

    I can (theoretically) understand someone thinking the leaked script (or at least an edited version) would have been better than the final one. The Lone Islands part makes a little more sense. It’s makes more sense that all the islanders haven’t been sacrificed already if they’re only sacrificed when the moon is full. And there’s more of a reason why people are sacrificing others at all. (They’ve been hypnotized. Of course, that doesn’t explain why the main characters don’t get hypnotized. But maybe a complete draft would have done so.)

    But I really don’t think I’d prefer it. Maybe if the dialogue were better, but I watched the patreon video and well written dialogue wasn’t what came to mind. And if they had to have a character who’s searching for his wife, I’d rather it be Rhince than Trumpkin. We see quite a bit of Trumpkin in Prince Caspian and we never see or hear anything about a love interest. Rhince only appears in one book and it’s not much of a stretch to imagine him having a wife who just isn’t mentioned. And I honestly feel the Lucy stuff sounds worse than the romance in the Prince Caspian movie! At least that wasn’t a love triangle. Love triangles are one of my least favorite devices in dramas. Not that they can’t be done well. I, myself, love the play, Cyrano de Bergerac which is all about a love triangle. But a lot of the time they just seem like they’re written to get the fandom arguing.

    The main reason I’m not getting behind the leaked script is something Pattertwig’s Pal said in the forum. It’s way too similar to the plot of the Silver Chair. The Lady of the Green Kirtle, the kidnappings and brainwashing’s, the underground army. You get the impression the screenwriters didn’t want to do The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and tried to smoosh it with the next book, which they really wanted to do. If they had gotten the chance to actually adapt The Silver Chair itself, it would have been ruined since they pretty much destroyed the mystery of the Lady of the Green Kirtle. For all my problems with the Green Mist, at least it’s closer to the way the Dark Island is described than a cave.

    Anyway, I like that you acknowledged that the VDT book is full of fantastical and surreal things so it probably looks a tad inconsistent to dismiss a soul sucking cave appearing with the full moon as cheesy. I have a theory as to why this struck a lot of the fandom that way though. The book’s adventures start out relatively realistically, minus the magic picture and the talking mouse. You get the Lone Islands, populated by normal humans, and the storm. And we hear about a tournament and a pirate attack happening prior in the voyage. Then you get the dragon and the sea serpent. And then you get water that turns things into gold. The stories get more and more fantastical, culminating in Ramandu’s Island and the end of the world. With the final movie and the leaked script, you get something fantastical right off the bat in the Lone Islands. I think that’s what makes it jarring for fans of the book.

    Something that’s worth noting is that the leaked script was apparently written by Steven Knight. I’ve tended to blame the final writing team for the movie’s problems but it looks like the seeds were sown before they came on board, though they didn’t do as much as they could to help.

  3. Jan says:

    The love interest between Lucy and caspian =NO
    Lady of the green kirtle lair = yes (but it should be a minor teaser, not a reveal)

    The problem of the final dawn treader film is that it doesn’t feel connected to the first 2s nature and the story is so far from the book.

    They have missed the opportunity to give will poilter as eustace more screen time
    The green mist doesn’t make sense
    The white witch should be out
    Eustace should be the highlight
    And much more…

    Its just unfortunate that we didn’t see the planned dawn treader and silver chair films from disney into light

  4. Impending Doom says:

    “We were able to steal, really, from the book CS Lewis didn’t write, which is the one that would have gone between The Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair.” (Micheal Apted 2010)

    Seems like they really leaned into that idea early in the production and the remnants remained through to the final film – though it’s not exactly obvious. Anything (including LofGK) would have been more interesting than the video game-like plot structure—go here, get that item, go there, use the item — we ended up with.

    I’d assume it was Douglas Gresham who came in and told writers that LotGK was off-limits. I remember him saying that he recommended them add a green mist to the film (probably as her replacement) and I guess the writers didn’t bother exploring any aspect as to how the mist actually worked…

    Side note: kind of surreal hearing my voice at the beginning of this episode. Even though I knew it was coming, it still caught me off guard! Great job on the podcast – I’m loving all the perks of being a Knight of NarniaWeb!

  5. Carley says:

    This is very interesting. When I first heard about the leaked script, I never thought about how it would have affected the Silver Chair. IF they had kept everything from this script, they would have had to change quite a few things in SC, but those things probably wouldn’t be major plot changes. I certainly would have disliked the VDT film, but I don’t think the changes that would have been necessary to SC would have bothered me too much.

    I’m anxious to see what Netflix does with VDT. Hoping for a series rather than a movie.

  6. Glenwit says:

    It’s going to be a yikes from me…

  7. Aileth says:

    Sort of like BBC didn’t want to do PC, and tried to smoosh it with VDT, which they did want to do? Seems to be a recurring problem

  8. Larry W. says:

    I don’t dislike the Voyager of the Dawn Treader movie, but I think it could have been so much better. I was glad that they left the Green Witch and the Soul Eating Cave out. They should have done that with the Green Mist too. There was enough of a departure with the White Witch coming in for a few minutes and tempting Edmund. On the positive side, I liked the visual appearance of the film. It was actually quite beautiful in its special effects. It was just the script that I thought could have been more faithful to the book. The leaked script probably offended Mr. Gresham, and I couldn’t have blamed him if it did. I don’t think there is much point in hating the movie now that it was about ten years ago it was released. It’s watchable and somewhat enjoyable, even though it has many flaws. 🙂

  9. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    “You’ve been dreaming of a girl? Is it me?”


    If anyone could direct me to a copy of this script I’d appreciate it, I could use something to roast

  10. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    To be fair, a “she likes->him who likes->her” love triangle is slightly better than “he can’t decide if he likes her or her more” love triangle (in my opinion).
    I say that because imagining a Caspian likes Lucy and Susan at the same time triangle would be just the worse:(

    While I don’t think all this forced “foreshadowing” is good, I feel like that a more direct book combination would be good for Netflix Narnia? Like what if Season 1 was LWW and HHB? They have the coronation in episode 7, but then episode 8 starts with this random kid fishing, and then in Tashbaan, the big reveal is that Susan and Edmund are adults and there’s been twenty year time jump? And then the season ends with the white stag and the wardrobe exit? Then a year later, we get Prince Caspian, which is all a year later in universe. Just and idea

  11. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    I feel like the cringiest part of that was when she asked him if he was dreaming of her… like gaaaaah, if I like someone, the last thing I’d wanna do would say something so blatantly??thirsty I guess??

    Especially if said person is what 25 and you’re maybe 16?

  12. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    Congrats on getting on the episode!

    Incidentally, the Micheal Apted quote really bothers me. Like, Mikey Buddy, if Lewis didn’t write that book, it’s probably because it shouldn’t exist, not because you’re so much better of a writer that you can out-write Lewis in his own series, geez:P

  13. Eric Geddes says:

    I’m still waiting for Fox to give me compensation for my anger and “emotional disquiet” therapy bills after seeing the final film.

  14. Eric Geddes says:

    However since then I have found two positives. The film is shot beautifully and I like the interactions between the characters.

  15. Col Klink says:

    To be fair, Glumpuddle was paraphrasing. Those weren’t the exact words. But yeah, that scene sounds like it would have been a total “groaner.”

    I don’t think there’s a copy of the leaked script online now and if there was I imagine the moderators would have to delete any comment linking to it out of respect for the studio, who were clearly embarrassed by it. (Though not too embarrassed to keep from using for auditions apparently.) I admit, though, I’d be up for reading/roasting it myself.

  16. EH says:

    I do remember this. I never read the script because I had to go to the library for internet and didn’t have time to find the script and read it.
    I was worried about the romance between Caspian and Lucy. It might’ve made sense if they had a crush except for the Suspian thing in the PC movie, having Caspian crush on Lucy after Susan turns him into a jerk. Also, Ben Barnes is much older than Georgie Henley so that would’ve been awkward.
    I don’t know enough about the script to comment on the other changes, though, but there are parts of the final movie that I love (not the green mist or the 7 swords) even though they’re not canonical.

  17. Cleander says:

    Ugh. I can’t decide whether or not I’d rather see this than what we actually got. I would have liked to see Trumpkin again… and not too much else!

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  19. Just Queen, not High Queen says:

    As a screenwriter currently in a screenwriting program, I can understand why they’d go all-out crazy for an early draft and why the dialogue would suck. Early drafts always suck. It’s a fact all writers know.

    I actually like the mysterious nature of the Green Mist, with a connection that could have been built upon in The Silver Chair, which could have been awesome, especially in seeing Eustace’s reaction. I don’t like the idea of having the Lady of the Green Kirtle there, because it wouldn’t have been satisfying that she wouldn’t have been defeated. As you mentioned, it would have changed The Silver Chair too much. With the Green Mist, it’s a connection, but not the same exact person. In fact, breaking the spell could have lead to the Lady of the Green Kirtle. At least everything ties into things in the book. The Green Mist ties to Dark Island, there is a sea serpent in the book, and all the major islands are visited. (Except for Burnt Island. No one remembers you.)

    The Soul-eating cave does seem weird. It does have the fairy-tale feel of the book and the world, but I don’t know. It seems too involved and too much what you’d expect from other fantasy worlds. At least the Green Mist is ultimately a simple spell that can be broken in a book with a book of spells.

    The thing with Edmund’s father could have tied with the first film in an interesting way, though I do like the threat of having to stay in Cambridge another few months, which then allows them to bond with Eustace afterwards.

    I think the most interesting thing was that this was leaked before Disney ditched the franchise.

  20. AslanNarnia says:

    This film suffers from Andrew Adamson not being at the helm. Even if he had just been included in writing the script the film would have been a lot better.