Wishlist for Netflix’s Narnia | Talking Beasts

The podcast is back! Listen to Glumpuddle and Gymfan react to submissions from Friends and Knights of NarniaWeb on what they want to see (and NOT see) in the Narnia movies and series in development at Netflix.

Post-Show Chatter (video): Is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a Christmas movie? Here‘s what Gp and Gym think.

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Glumpuddle, Gymfan

30 Responses

  1. Fireberry says:

    Great Podcast! Glad to hear you again! – The irony is, a really good “Silver Chair” movie would seriously speak to our world’s present moment. Who else feels adrift in a little boat in a sunless, underworld sea?

    • Col Klink says:

      Wow, poetic.

    • BlueMoon34Team says:

      So when you say a more unpredictable/mysterious Aslan what do you mean? Do you also want him to look more dangerous? I looked on google images because I wanted to get a visual but came up empty.

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        I think they mean in like, manner and speach. The best examples I can think of in the books where Aslan behaves very unpredictably was after he was resurrected, the Romp, and first talking with Jill. In the first two Aslan is running around playing with Susan and Lucy and freeing school children and turning boys into pigs (like what? Who does that?) and in the last Aslan is really intimidating and really admits to swallowing people and cities. He is so intimidating that Jill asks him to promise not to do anything to her and he refuses.

        I can’t see Walden’s Aslan doing any of those things because in Walden, Aslan is more of a kind, wise old mentor type.

  2. Col Klink says:

    I’m not going to comment today because there’s a lot to unpack here and I have another typing project I want to work on. But you just know I’m going to write a really long comment, don’t you? 😉

    • JFG II says:

      Taking a Sunday off is never a bad thing. 😉 I agree there’s a lot to unpack, so I’m holding back for now as well. Am interested to here your opinions when they arrive.

  3. Dale Tedder says:

    Absolutely agree with your assessment of a stronger, more mysterious Aslan.

    • Fireberry says:

      Re: Glumpuddle’s thoughts on “Monarchy”: Glurn (AND Gymfan), you are expressing (and clearly understand) PLATONISM. Jack was/is a Christian but he also is/was a PLATONIST. And NETFLIX, if you don’t believe in Plato, please don’t touch NARNIA.

  4. Just Queen, not High Queen says:

    Finally! I was wondering what happened to the podcast.

  5. Peter Holden says:

    Listening to the podcast at the moment. Been rereading the books, in The Silver Chair at the moment and watching Scott Masson’s Lewis lectures on Youtube. I’m sure this has been discussed before but I’m just massively skeptical about Netflix faithfully reproducing what are effectively works of Christian apologetics. I can’t see them building in faithfully the societal critique we get in say the portrayal of Eustace Scrubb as a man without a chest produced by his parents and society. I can’t see them capturing the tone Lewis creates with the narrator’s comments. E.g. the subtle digs in Silver Chair about Experiment house not having Bibles or teaching girls to curtsey. Or the classis in Dawn Treader comparing the return of the Pevensies in Prince Caspian to the return of Arthur to modern Britain, “as some people say he will. And I say the sooner the better.” I’m I being overly skeptical in thinking that these deep elements of the tone won’t be faithfully reproduced.

    • Col Klink says:

      I’d argue that the Narnia are not apologetics. They aren’t really making an argument for a belief system. A belief system being true is just part of the stories’ world. That doesn’t mean you aren’t right about Netflix having trouble reproducing that worldview though.

      However I’d argue that even if the creators share Lewis’s worldview, they wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things you’re talking about. While they could definitely use voiceover narration (if it meant using some of the narrator’s lines from the book, I’d love it if they did), that kind of narration in movies or TV is used for things like explaining what’s going on in characters’ heads that we wouldn’t be privy to otherwise, or summing up long periods of time. If a narrator were to interrupt the tense scene of the protagonists meeting the Harfang giants to say that Experiment House never taught Jill to curtsey, I’d find it intrusive and annoying. And I’m an enthusiastic fan of the book!

      Things like that are why I prefer the medium of books and to film or television. But I’d still like the Narnia books get more quality adaptations. Even if they can’t grind all of Lewis’s axes, a movie or miniseries of The Silver Chair could still definitely convey the gist of his criticism of Experiment House. (That talking to bullies isn’t an effective way to stop them.) And the story is so exciting that it could still be great without the social critique.

    • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

      Actually I think the school elements would be decently easy to portray. It couldn’t be like point for point adapted, but I think the overall idea could be done well. For example, instead of saying the girls were not taught how to curtsey, I could see maybe the a teacher chastising a female student for like wearing pink dress could work in the same vein; the school doesn’t like promoting traditional Western femininity (or at least that’s how I interpreted it).

  6. Col Klink says:

    I like what you guys said about how people are feeling cynical and disillusioned after what happened with the Silver Chair movie. Hopefully, if the Netflix deal falls through, they’ll handle it differently.

    In defense of the VODT movie, Aslan doesn’t do much in the book either. I’d say that he’s more thematically important to the book though than he was in the film.
    I’d rather they didn’t do any original Narnia stories until they’ve adapted all the books. Some of the books have never been adapted for anything other than radio, and I’m scared if they did a bunch of spinoffs, people would get sick of Narnia and they’d have to end the series before they got to those. Similar to what you said, Glumpuddle, I think spinoffs could be good, but they probably won’t be. (At least not as great as the original stories.) I’ll admit I am curious now as to what Lasaraleen’s Scandalous Adventures would be like. 😉
    I guess if I were to describe Narnia’s atmosphere, I’d say greenery is a big part of it. Positively portrayed places tend to have a lot of green and negative places (like the White Witch’s House, Ettinsmoor, Tashbaan, even London in The Magician’s Nephew to an extent) have none. What you guys talked about was much more interesting though. 🙂 I love what Gymfan said about how sometimes it’s invigorating to have a simple good vs evil story. Morally complex and ambiguous stories can be great too. There’s definitely a place for both and Narnia is a good place for the former.

    I know Glumpuddle and a lot of people would like to see Charn but, sorry, I’m against it. For me, the bit where Jadis explains her backstory to Digory and Polly is all about character development. I want the focus to be on Jadis’s unrepentant attitude and Digory’s reaction to her going from admiration to horror. I would be willing to go for Glumpuddle’s proposed compromise of the visual of Jadis’s face combined with sound effects of the last battle. And I understand why the final confrontation between Jadis and her sister could be a cool scene, especially if they have great actresses, and it might be an intriguing prologue to The Magician’s Nephew. But I’d be really opposed to seeing the effects of the Deplorable Word before Digory and Polly go to Charn. I feel like it would take away all the mystery of that scene. If they did a prologue like that, I’d want them to cut to Polly in London right after Jadis says the word. (Maybe we’d get a flash of her sister looking horrified.)

    Interesting thoughts about how a TV series (as opposed to a series of movies) would be a double-edged sword. The slower pacing would mean fewer things would be cut but it would also mean restructuring to make each episode be like its own story. I’d love to hear Mrs. Glumpuddle’s pitch for a Horse and his Boy series. 😉

    I thought of an example of what you guys were talking about the magic of selling naïve dialogue, but it’s a movie that not everyone likes, so if I use it, it’ll actually turn some people off. Oh well. The movie, War Horse, on paper, sounds really corny. It’s about the love between an innocent boy and a horse conquering all. But I feel like the actor who played the boy, Jeremy Irvine, really sold the sentiment of the story without winking at the camera or looking embarrassed (Probably because he isn’t or at least wasn’t a big star, so he was willing to do anything the director told him to do; a big star might have been more concerned for his dignity) and I honestly find it moving. Sometimes it pays off not to be afraid of corniness.

    I’d be against modernizing the “our world” parts of Narnia on the grounds that the historical setting is important for The Magician’s Nephew and it’d be hard to change the other books without changing that one too. If it were possible to keep MN the same while updating the others, I’d be more openminded though I’d want them to be more faithful in other things to make up for it. I’ve enjoyed some adaptations of classics that updated their settings and even changed which countries in which they were set. But I’d be worried that there’s not a really good reason to do this with Narnia except to make it more marketable. I really relate to what Gymfan said about being more openminded after we have a good seven book adaptation. I’m more lenient toward inaccurate adaptations of books I love when there are a lot of other adaptations out there.

    I agree with Glumpuddle that it’d be annoying if they write parts specifically to have cameos for Narnia adaptation veterans, but it’d be fun if there were bit parts already written which could be cameos. Maybe Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley and Arabella Morton could be Ivy, Margaret, and Betty from LWW. If they really wanted to give a Narnia veteran a big part, maybe it’d be fun to have Ben Barnes play Miraz. 🙂

    I theoretically agree with Johnathan Paravel that a new Narnia series should look to the books for visual inspiration, not the movies. That being said, I do feel that the overall look of the movies (well, the first two anyway) really captures the feel of the books. I wouldn’t say it’s what I picture when I read the books because I don’t have a very detailed visual imagination. There are few things I can think of that look wrong to me and I doubt the Netflix Narnia will look better on the whole. (Note that I said on the whole.)

    I can’t really agree with Johnathan Paravel that they can stay true to the Horse and his Boy and portray Calormen as a place like any other with some citizens being good and some bad. The story depends dramatically on us wanting Shasta, Aravis, Bree and Hwin to live in Narnia or Archenland instead of Calormen. That doesn’t mean every single Calormene has to be the most over-the-top villain imaginable, but they should be generally unpleasant. A major theme of the book is what makes a good country versus what makes a bad country. (That’s not the story’s only major theme-I can think of two others off the top of my head-but it’s definitely one of them.) To make the story more realistic in its portrayal of cultures, with every barrel having some bad apples in it, would be to gut it.

    I think it’s interesting however that while we’re against having “good countries” vs “evil countries” in our stories today, the dynamic of HHB has not completely gone away. In the popular movies, Titanic and The Greatest Showman, rich upper-class people are portrayed as being horrible snobs to a man and the only way someone born in that culture can be a good person is if they defy their parents and become romantically involved with a lower-class character, much like Aravis. How different are we from Lewis and his original readers really?

    I love the idea of filming in Iceland (or at least not filming in New Zealand. Seriously, somewhere besides New Zealand.) I don’t want them to use real castles because they did that in the BBC serials, and it looked very drab and unmagical. I actually kind of like it when the locations look really different from each other. It keeps things visually interesting.

    I love what Glumpuddle said about how we’ve seen people use modern special effects to portray battles and destruction to great effect. What we, the fans of the Narnia books, want to see is modern special effects used to portray magical restoration.

    I’d be up for seeing some animated sequences, like Johnathan Paravel suggested, if I understood him right, that is. When Eustace tells Edmund about his undragoning, for example, he could draw stick figures of Aslan and himself in the sand with a stick, which could come to life and portray what he describes. (They wouldn’t be magically coming to life or anything. We would see them, but the characters wouldn’t.) And I love me some stop motion animation! It’s a very time consuming artform, however, and if they used it a lot, we’d have to wait longer for these adaptations to come out.

    Having said all that, I strongly feel that the visuals of Narnia should be photorealistic, especially the creation of Narnia in MN. Unfortunately, I’m rather tired at this point in the commenting process and I can’t do a great job articulating why. I think it has to do with how, as Glumpuddle says towards the beginning of this episode, Lewis makes a lot of the details feel realistic, despite the fantastic content. Like I wrote earlier, I don’t have a detailed visual imagination, but when I do stop to picture Narnia, it’s always photorealistic. When I picture it as cartoony or stylized, it’s just…wrong. I’m guessing the reason why Glumpuddle and Gymfan would prefer more stylized visuals is because photorealistic CG effects are the norm now. If I watched as many movies and TV shows as they do, I’d want something more creative too. But I’d argue that there haven’t been that many scenes like the creation of Narnia, as Lewis describes it with animals bubbling out of the earth. And frankly it’s taken so long for them to have the special effects to show The Magician’s Nephew in a photorealistic way, and I’ve been dreaming of seeing it for so long, that if they decided not to do that, I’d probably tear a pillow apart with my teeth! (In the interest of putting all my cards on the table, I should say that I felt the Walden Media Narnia movies did nail talking animals. I loved all the facials expressions of the beavers, Aslan, Reeicheep, etc.)

    Anyway, great episode, guys. It’s refreshing, as usual, to have the podcast back.

    P.S.
    Is the last name of the blogger you mentioned Curt or Kurt? I can’t find him on the web.

    • chris says:

      Interesting you say blueish green is a lot of Narnia’s atmosphere, a lot of people think snow and ice is a big part of it but anyone who’s read the books will know Narnia is only covered with snow for half of LWW and we rarely see it snow again. To me woodland settings would help give the right atmosphere for Narnia, not necessarily big epic battle fields etc.

      I agree, the whole point of Jadis telling her backstory in MN is revealing character, I’m not against them showing a battle between her and her sister – as long as the main point is made that she saw the entire life of her world as expendable and subject to her will, as well as the children’s horror.

      I feel that was a problem with the Walden films, they took any opportunity to appeal to fans of harry potter or lord of the rings – and this didn’t really make their Narnia films unique. For example, when there was a battle scene, instead of doing it their own way the battle scenes just seemed like lord of the rings rip offs.

  7. Twinimage says:

    Very good points in this episode! For me here are some of the broad strokes of what I would hope for, for Netflix Narnia content:

    Tone/Themes – Netflix seems to primarily offer dark, subversive content, which doesn’t match Narnia at all. I would hope that Netflix can embrace Narnia’s lighter, more wholesome nature, versus putting the stories or characters through a cynical, post-modern blender. This is well articulated in the podcast.

    Writing – I would like for the writing, especially the dialogue, to be intelligent and have emotional maturity to make the characters respectable and palatable to today’s audience that are used to quality streaming shows. It would be very off-putting if the children in the series were yelling “shut up!” every 20 minutes and other such immature bantering.

    Angst! – I would hope they don’t make Narnia into an angsty teen drama where half the show is filler of “misunderstandings” that will resolve in the next episode. Think Riverdale, Titans and Cobra Kai. Very aggravating storytelling trend right now.

    Pacing – I too would really enjoy them taking their time for scenes to play out and breath. I also agree that a good chunk of the books would work well as a series, especially Prince Caspian. I think Netflix is the best platform to handle going back and forth across flashbacks via breaking it up into smaller, digestable episodes.

  8. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    So I actually agree with Jonathon Paravel on retaining the Calormen culture/aesthetic. I understand the movies will have to be careful and have enough nuance so it doesn’t come across as “Calormen = EVIL” but to just take away the elements opens up the obvious and giant can of whitewashing worms.

    I’ve considered the how to deal with the adaptation handling/avoiding possible racism allegations (more often that I’d like to admit lol) and have created the following list in the unlikely event anyone (cough Netflix) cares to read it

    1. Make it obvious that Shasta/Cor is less escaping the fisherman/Calormen and more he’s trying to find out about his past/his purpose.
    2. Add the main reason Aravis is escaping is less escaping the Calormen culture and more getting away from her creepy father (I.e. the father can’t go into another country and drag his daughter back for arranged marriage)
    3. Have some interactions with lower-class citizens interacting with Shasta and Company that are positive. This would emphasize A) the general people are actually not evil it’s more the corrupt politicians and B) the protagonists are not escaping Calormen because it’s an evil country, they’re escaping because they’re trying to find their calling/escape specific dad. Otherwise they’d probably had been fine just living somewhere else in Calromen (not the horses so much).
    4. In Tashbaan, embrace the beauty and technological advances! Show thriving marketplaces with goods from around the world. In other words, make why they think Narnia is a wild and unkempt place a legitimate reason, show that Calormen is more advanced and modern.
    6. Show the regular soldiers just not that into invading Narnia just for Rabadash to kidnap a girl. Make it so the Narnians are fighting a spoiled prince with a low-moral army who realizes how messed up their leader is.
    Other non-HHB things they could do:
    7. Elaborate on Emeth’s story a bit before we see him walk into the stable (perhaps him and other soldiers discussing the ridiculousness of the the Tarkaan but Emeth was the only one brave enough to act)
    8. Arguably the most evil people in the stories are Narnians (Shift and to some extent Nikabrik) or white (Jadis, Andrew, LotGK), so don’t pull you punches showing the audience that yeah, crappy, power hungry individuals are everywhere, not just Calormen.
    9. This is more personal preference, but I would not mind if they diversified the ethnicities of the the children from our world. Some people, such as the Pevensies or Frank and Helen, narratively have to remain European descent because that’s a plot point. But what about Digory, who has no physical description and who’s father is currently in India? It wasn’t uncommon for the time for British soldiers to marry Indian women, perhaps Digory could be half British half Indian.

    • Frodo Lives says:

      Well, the whole ‘rascism allegations’ concern among Narnia fans is not too concerning. That’s just the world we live in: A world with a bunch of idiots stirring up scares to sell ads . I know it’s just an example. Still, if Digory’s mother is Indian, that makes Andrew Ketterly as well. Nobody wants that. I’d reccomend changing nothing. If the modern world doesn’t want the book on screen, don’t make it for them. Make it for the fans.

      • JFG II says:

        No offense, but imagine saying what you posted to Netflix. It might not go down as well as you’d like. Netflix is paying for the whole thing, you know. We want to see all 7 stories, and not not see it stop after number 3 or 4.

      • Col Klink says:

        They could always change it so that Andrew and Letty are Mr. Kirke’s siblings instead of Mrs. Kirke’s. Personally, I think Ketterly is more fun to say than Kirke, so I don’t love the idea, but some fans might not mind.

    • Col Klink says:

      I apologize for repeating myself but I’m going to do so anyway. 😉

      I can’t really agree that they can stay true to the Horse and his Boy and portray Calormen as a place like any other with some citizens being good and some bad. The story depends dramatically on us wanting Shasta, Aravis, Bree and Hwin to live in Narnia or Archenland instead of Calormen. That doesn’t mean every single Calormene has to be the most over-the-top villain imaginable, but they should be generally unpleasant. A major theme of the book is what makes a good country versus what makes a bad country. (That’s not the story’s only major theme-I can think of two others off the top of my head-but it’s definitely one of them.) To make the story more realistic in its portrayal of cultures, with every barrel having some bad apples in it, would be to gut it. 🙁

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        Totally respect you opinion, however, I would like to point out that Narnia does/did have bad apples, most notably Shift, but also Nikabrik and his posse and even the Narnians who fought with the White Witch.

        Personally, I think the main theme of HHB is less “What makes a good country,” and more “What makes a good ruler.” This is because one of the most memorable lines for me is King Lune’s describing what it will be like for Cor once he is king: putting the people/citizens first, which is decidedly the opposite of what Rabadash does.

        Again, totally see and respect you opinion, but similar to what JFG II said, I’m hoping to get the full series this time round. If changes need to happen, I personally would prefer them to be these than say, removing the Calormen culture’s uniqueness or having some cheesy speech delivered by a character to clarify that the Narnians aren’t racist or something.

  9. Geekicheep says:

    Wow, great podcast! Welcome back Gymfan, and congrats! 🙂

    My wish list is:
    1. I want to see the books come to life. Obviously, no movie can ever compare with the reader’s imagination, but I’d really like to see the changes kept to a minimum. It doesn’t have to be word-perfect, but YES – let Aslan be the hero, let it has as much joy, and as much darkness, and as much “not safe but good” as we can get! I do worry it won’t play out that way, though; apparently Mr. Potato-Head and Dr. Seuss are horrible and offensive now, so I would be shocked if it doesn’t suffer from severe “political correction”. But to see NARNIA, of course, is at the top of my list; and I believe it could still happen.

    2. I would LOVE to see a Magician’s Nephew movie/series/whatever! After LWW that was my favorite, and it would just be so awesome to see it all! There’s just so much magic and mystery about the whole thing: the rings, the Wood between the Worlds, Charn, Aslan creating Narnia (!!!!!!!), Fledge, the toffee tree, and so much more…

    3. After the books have been done (and hopefully done very well) I would be totally cool with more stories. Of course I have a million ideas of my own, and I’m sure I’m not the only NarniaWebber who does, but I feel like as long as it doesn’t break from the spirit of Narnia (if you know what I mean), it would be okay. There’s so much more that could have been done with this wonderful world, and most of it ends up as fun discussions in the forum. Would the “blue fire” have brought back the Witch? Was Queen Swanwhite a time traveler? What did Coriakin do that got him kicked out of the sky? Did Susan ever come around? Why did Reepicheep have his sword in LB? There is so, *SO* much room for speculation and imagination that I think we can do some “off-canon” stuff. And that includes the crazier ideas – modernizing it, doing some Star-Wars-like thing, the Fall of Charn idea etc. The whole multiverse thing is pretty much canon (I mean, we don’t read about parallel worlds in the Wood between the Worlds, but each pool is totally a world) so I could see some kind of alternate Narnia, and maybe Susan’s kids in America find their way there, and oh never mind I’m giving away fanfic ideas. 😀

    Seriously though, my only concern about new Narnia content is that it could overwhelm the books. If there are only 7 books, and 5 seasons of 20 episodes + 7 movies, which one will people see as the “original” Narnia? Like okay, I was on the forum and quoted something I thought was in the book but was just in the BBC movies. The books came first, and I even read them first, but the BBC version stuck with me and they all kind of blend together. I don’t want the canon and the non-canon blending together… idk tho I could be overthinking that.

    But at the end of the day, I’m just grateful there is still interest in Narnia at all. We live in such bizarre times, I’m definitely worried about it getting “politically corrected”, but the thought of more awesome Narnia content is stronger than that worry. For a fantasy, it’s just so “real” – as they said, Lewis “got the human details right”. I’m still very much looking forward to it!

    Now about the idea of

    • thomas johnson says:

      I think I would love to see a series about the backstory of Aslan after all of the movies are adapted. If I’m not mistaken I believe that wasn’t there a mention of Aslans father? aka “The Great Evil” like didn’t he create the deep magic that’s was in Narnia?

      My only concern with them creating new Narnia content is that I don’t want them to milk it for to long because I don’t want people to loose interest in Narnia.

      I would love to see what Aslan’s Country looks like.

      • Geekicheep says:

        Yes, there was, the “Emperor Beyond-the-Sea”; that is definitely an interesting idea, though I don’t think Aslan has a back story (considering the fact that he and his father represent God, who is eternal). But it would definitely be interesting to find out how the Witch became “the Emperor’s hangman” – I mean, the Deep Magic was in place long before the four kids showed up; so that arrangement had to have happened shortly after the events in MN.

        Anyway, I agree they shouldn’t “milk it”. Even my favorite series got old after 7-8 seasons. Without some MAJOR plot twists, it can all become rinse-and-repeat, and I don’t want people to lose interest in Narnia either.

    • Col Klink says:

      I agree that modern censoriousness is a problem. But to be fair, only four or five books by Dr. Seuss have fallen victim to it. He wrote plenty. And only of the pulled books, And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street, is generally considered one of his best. Like I said, I agree with you that there’s a problem, but we should avoid inflammatory, manipulative language. After all, isn’t blowing things out of proportion exactly what you’re condemning?

  10. Eustace says:

    I think they could avoid most of the racist criticisms (which are wrong) for the HHB by simply just working with a different country’s media industry. Like working with Bollywood or something. Bollywood or whatever other country’s media industry would get to choose the clothes, and the overall feeling and tone of Calormen. They would get to cast all the Calormen. This way, since they are working with another culture media it will get less backlash. Bollywood is the only one I know by name but, Turkey and Egypt are a couple possibilities as well.

  11. Andy Harrelson says:

    Nice to Hear Gymfan back! I do agree with most of the points made here, one of my biggest hopes is that they just do Jill Pole’s character justice. I don’t want them to make her too feeble or a Mary Sue, just a good portrayal of her and her character arc, going from her mistrusting others and herself to a more confident outlook. Cheers!

  12. Simba says:

    I honestly think what we need from Netflix is a good, “golden” classic adaptation just to have as a reference. All seven books faithfully and earnestly adapted, something that we can look back on fondly. Until we don’t get that, I think this and every other adaptation will leave a bad aftertaste for the fans. Unfortunately, the way Netflix seems to be handling this, it seems rather unlikely this will be the case so I’ve shifted my expectations from an ideal to seeing how many things they might get right.

    I definitely think there will have to be changes, simply because some aspects of the books just will not go over well nowadays, and I support that. I think the Calormen issue is not something that can just be left alone without causing irreparable damage in the reception of the series (it is simply not the 50s anymore, lads), for example, but I don’t think it’d be too hard to solve if you have actual middle eastern or indian professionals who also love Narnia involved in the process (they do exist, you know). I think as long as the adjusting is nuanced and not just. Riverdale-like, then it’ll be fine.

    As far as format goes, I was expecting them to do something akin to what they did for A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was also the first adaptation of all 13 books (and also followed a failed movie franchise). ASOUE has a lot of source material (and an author that’s alive) and what they did was a single TV series with 3 seasons, 7-8 episodes each of a length between 43min to little more than an hour. They adapted each book in two episodes, which gave it almost a movie-like quality. Only The End was done in one ep, but given its content, it’s understandable. Now, I’m not sure if they could do this exactly for Narnia–I’d always preferred a TV show over a series of movies, finding no qualm in them finding natural resting places in which to end an episode (books also have chapters, so)–because of the nature of the books. Unlike ASOUE, which follows the Baudelaire orphans’ journey from place to place, there really aren’t smooth transitions from book to book in Narnia. Each is its own sort of separate adventure, and the protagonists of each changes. It’d feel more natural for them to adapt each book as a season but a seven season series seems much more work than I expect Netflix to put in. No offense. So maybe a franchise of miniseries? I honestly have no idea. I think a 7 season series could work best if you added an overarching B-plot to follow, having the adventures in Narnia be the A-plot, but I’m not sure whether that would be well-received (I’m open to it myself, although I have a very clear idea of what that B-plot would have to be to work).

    The more I think about it, I think the Narnia netflix, if they actually go through with it lol, will be very similar in general terms to what the ASOUE series was. I followed the ASOUE series since it was announced (they produced that within a 5-6 year span since announcement afaik, although there was no pandemic there) and was relatively satisfied with what we ended up with. My take on it is that it did not understand the more nuanced aspects of the original narrative (VFD, in their case), which ended up hurting the last season, but did not detract from the series being enjoyable as an adaptation. They did not change an awful lot either, but they did interestingly take a completely different route aesthetically from the previous adaptation (modern day-esque rather than victorian-adjacent), which worked well considering the anachronistic and absurdist tone of ASOUE, so I’m interested to see if they do something so drastic with Narnia as well.

    Mostly, my most ardent hope is that they view Narnia as profitable enough to work very hard on it. I would not despair more if what we got was just some shoddy work. Hopefully the suits think it’s as valuable as we do!

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