Brian Cox was “Fired” from Playing Aslan in 2005

Brian Cox was originally cast as the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Months later, he was replaced by Liam Neeson.

Cox recently recounted the story:

The director took me to one side and said, ‘Brian, I’m going to have to let you go’, and that was it. The first time and only time I’ve ever been fired. … Liam Neeson did it in the end. He’s got that great Northern Irish softness that really worked, whereas I was doing it more ‘me’. Creatively, it was the right decision.

Brian Cox

Read the full story.

In April 2005, Cox’s publicist said the actor had left the production due to “scheduling conflicts.” Neeson was announced as his replacement the following July.

You can listen to Cox’s voice in his recent appearance on The Tonight Show.

11 Responses

  1. Glumpuddle says:

    I was really excited for Cox at the time, and I think he would have been a more interesting a choice than Neeson. I prefer the sound of Cox’s voice, anyway. It sounds more wild. Neeson sounds more safe.

    I remember, at the time, the two months between Cox being fired and Neeson being hired felt like a really long time. Every day, wondering when the new Aslan would be announced.

    • jasmine_tarkheena says:

      Sometimes I wonder if Brian Cox would’ve been a good Aslan. Aslan is probably the hardest character from the Narnia series to get right. From a religious standpoint, Jesus is perhaps the hardest person to get right in cinema. It’s kind of the same with Aslan.

    • Andy Harrelson says:

      I have to disagree with you. While I’m sure Brian would’ve done a great job, Liam’s voice fit Aslan’s portrayal much better imo.

  2. fantasia says:

    So is next week’s news story going to announce that they really did cast Nicole Kidman as the White Witch and then covered up the news by blaming Andrew Adamson and his long blond hair? 😉

    • Icarus says:

      Hahaha, I would still like to know the story of the Eddie Izzard to Bill Nighy to Simon Pegg switch-around that they did for Reepicheep’s voice.

  3. Col Klink says:

    You know I’ve never actually heard Brian Cox’s voice. Could anyone describe it to me?

  4. jasmine_tarkheena says:

    And if I remember correctly, Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman were considered for the role of the White Witch. While I’ve enjoyed Tilda Swinton’s portrayal, sometimes I wonder if Kate Winslet or Nicole Kidman would have been just as good.

    Liam Neeson did a really good job as Aslan. So I wonder who would Netflix choose to portrayed Aslan. Maybe Sylvester McCoy who had previously portrayed Reepicheep in the BBC Radio 4 adaption of Narnia and was recently Radagast in The Hobbit trilogy or Stash Kirkebride who portrayed Rishda in the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre adaption of Narnia or maybe even Idris Elba, who portrayed Shere Khan in the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book.

    • fantasia says:

      I was being very sarcastic up above. Nicole Kidman was never considered for the role of the White Witch, which was confirmed for us by the production. While we don’t know how the rumor got started, the story is that someone saw Andrew Adamson from the back with his long blond hair and thought it was Nicole Kidman. 😉

      I never heard about Kate Winslet myself, but if you find a source for that, we’d be interested in seeing it. 🙂

  5. Cyberlucy says:

    I’ve gotten so used to Liam Neeson know that I can’t imagine how Cox would have sounded. It would have definitely been more gravelly.

  6. Rogin says:

    Never trust from a “ scheduling conflict” line from producers or a publicist!