Should Netflix Redo The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe… Again? | Talking Beasts

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. has been adapted for radio, television, and the big screen. With Netflix currently developing new Narnia adaptations, yet another version of the classic tale may be on the table. Should Netflix begin with a different book this time?

Watch the post-show chatter.

Discuss this in the NarniaWeb Forum.

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle


19 Responses

  1. decarus says:

    Oh my goodness. No. They have to do LWW first. What is this commentary? They will ruin LWW if they do MN first. They cannot get rid of PC. It has some of the best scenes in the entire series. The nostalgia alone if them going back to the ruins of Cair Paravel. I mean Trumpkin. Also, the only thing interesting about MN, in my opinion, is that it hints at things in other books and you would not know those things if they are done out of order. It is a complete disaster if they do MN first. Clearly LWW and PC make a lot more sense as a pair. Also, i want them to get to SC and doing MN out of order makes that ever more unlikely. Just no, for so many reasons. I don’t think there is any chance that Netflix, which makes terrible shows, is going to do anything we like, so maybe it doesn’t matter, but way to start off on the wrong foot and never get back. I really hope that Gymfan is right and there is little chance they will do this. Fingers crossed.

  2. Col Klink says:

    For some reason, this podcast doesn’t let you reply to other comments anymore, so for clarification, this is meant to be a reply to Decarus above.

    I find the creation of Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew to be more beautiful than anything in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Prince Caspian. And I think Uncle Andrew and Jadis are more memorable villains than the White Witch. (Yeah, I know Jadis and the Witch are the same characters, but she’s more interesting in one book than the other.) And I enjoy the dynamic between Digory and Polly more than any between the Pevensies and I find Digory’s desperation to save his mother more moving than anything in LWW.

  3. SsmjanYT says:

    I think chronological order will make it easier to make the movies, since the actors age.

  4. Moonwood the hare says:

    Personally, I’d be thrilled to see MN first (and I’m a huge fan of publication order)! Probably mainly because of LWW fatigue and the wish to see others adapted.
    They can totally build up the storyline based on MN (I agree with Gymfan here: the style can be adapted to match chronological order). And it would allow them to get a “fresh start” into Narnia and their own worldbuilding. People remembering LWW often don’t know about it, so it would be a nice way for Netflix to make something new without completely changing the plot (they’ll probably do that anyways, but I’m trying to be positive).

  5. jasmine_tarkheena says:

    Well, I must say that starting with The Magician’s Nephew could be a fresh start. Most adaptions have started with The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. Imagine if a new LOTR adaption started with The Hobbit, given that it was the first book to published in that universe. Imagine a trailer saying, “How it all begun!”

  6. Icarus says:

    The biggest reason why I think Netflix will start with Magicians Nephew is that it would be the cheapest book to produce, and Netflix are a very thrifty company these days.

    MN has a smaller cast, less CGI creatures, fewer outdoor scenes requiring big location shooting, more reoccurring sets, etc.

  7. As we’ve seen The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I think it is much more fitting if they start showing The Magician’s Nephew first. It’s gonna be a fresh start and we get to see an adaptation of The Magician’s Nephew in the small or big screen for the first time. This will also give viewers a new perspective to the whole story of Narnia. Seeing the creation first before the wardrobe was created. I also don’t mind if they have a darker tone in the story.
    Just want to see Narnia get a decent and better adaptations

  8. coracle says:

    The idea of starting with MN as ‘the prequel to your beloved movie’… ignores the fact that they can’t be promoting a LWW movie of their OWN, since it is on Disney and not on Netflix.
    Not everyone subcribes to both.
    Other than that, chronological order makes sense but with the MN inserted later – as in “The Friends of Narnia retell their experiences over tea” in opening and closing sequences. HHB can also come later, as another tale told.

  9. decarus says:

    To Col Klink. I love all the Narnia books and i love MN as well. I am going to watch whatever they make. I think it is just a real problem to show Jadus before Edmund meets the White Witch and wonders what is going on with her because then you know exactly who she is and how bad she is, destroyer of her own world and all, right when you meet her. It completely takes out the wonder of Lucy stepping out of the wardrobe into the snow and seeing the lamppost when you already know where the lamppost comes from. It completely takes everything away from the whole talking animals and fauns and of it all when you know about Narnia already. You know about the deep magic. You know about the apple and wardrobe. You know that Aslan is the creator. You know that Aslan and Jadus have history together. You know that Aslan has power and can heal people. You know that Jadus has magic. I just think doing MN ruins LWW. I get that everything thinks that everyone knows what happens in LWW already so it doesn’t really matter. I just think that LWW is all about the wonder of going through the wardrobe and visiting another world for the first time. Seeing a faun and a talking animal. Wondering who Aslan is and the deep magic and the resurrection. LWW is simpler then the later books too and you gut it by doing this, in my opinion.

    Also, MN and LB are a pair to me. The beginning and the end. Digory and Polly will be recast no matter who they are, because they are 60 years older or something. The younger version could come back again for the afterlife in LB and if it was only a year between the two then i think it works even better. They should have everyone back in the afterlife scene.

    I love the stuff with Digory and Polly in Charn and with telling Aslan what he did. I love the stuff with the uncle. I love the pools between the worlds. Seriously, just not do PC? I would pick LB as my favorite, but PC is second. The ruins of Cair Paravel. Aslan’s how. The broken stone table. The new characters. Trumpkin and Reepicheep. The duel. Sitting in the ruins telling stories. Susan plunking the arrow of the soldiers helmet. Lucy and her true dream. Edmund standing up for. The animals becoming wild so they don’t know how to speak anymore. I know they were just joking, but man

    I love Narnia and that is why i hate for them to change so much by doing them out of order because when it came down to it my problem with VDT is that it was changed so much that they took out the best parts of it.

  10. Snowshimmermist says:

    Nope. Hate to see PC. Hope they be creative and write a new story rather than ruining the classic. I so detest seeing characters ethnicity change. That’s more racist

  11. Teenpilot says:

    I’m new to Narniaweb but I just listened to the podcast and while I agree with Rilian, MN and LWW seem most likely, I’m surprised no one mentioned LWW and The Horse and his Boy! If they want to go the cinematic universe route, that would provide a perfect opportunity to insert a mini series in between the two films down the road.

  12. Col Klink says:

    A factor to consider that this episode, despite its thoroughness, didn’t get into is the effect on newcomers to the books. If they start with The Magician’s Nephew, that, coupled with the numbers on the spines, will definitely lead to people reading that one first. I’m tempted to vote for doing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first solely based on that even though I am, truth be told, probably a little wardrobe fatigued.

    I think Glumpuddle overestimates how well The Silver Chair would do without The Voyage of the Dawn Treader first. It’s true that it’s POV character is Jill who is a newcomer to Narnia, but the big emotional ending is all about Caspian and a good bit about Eustace too. I feel like it would be boring for viewers without the two preceding stories.

    Funny thing about Gymfan’s joke about splitting LWW into three movies with the first one called The Lion, the second one called The Witch and the third one called The Wardrobe. It would actually make sense if you reversed the order of the titles. The first third of the story has a lot of the characters going in and out of the wardrobe. The second has them being very scared of The White Witch. (OK, that one’s a bit of a stretch.) And the final third is all about Aslan the Lion.

    I was surprised to agree with Glumpuddle about being worried about Netflix making their LWW too different from the Walden Media one. (The reason I was surprised was that he’s seemed hopeful in the past about it improving on it.) While the 2005 LWW isn’t my ideal movie adaptation of the book on the whole, there are many ways in which it is. It’s live action with photorealistic computer animation, it’s rated PG, it’s not musical. Don’t get me wrong. I could enjoy an adaptation that was totally animated or was PG-13 or G or which was a musical, but it wouldn’t be the one I’d recommend the most to newcomers to the story. (I know that’s where I part ways with Glumpuddle who’s gone on record as being up for an animated or a PG-13 LWW. Don’t know how he’d feel about it being a musical. 😉 ) So I’m dreading Netflix trying to make their adaptation the opposite of the 2005 one. I’m sure they’re method would make it farther from my ideal. Interestingly, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women was different from most others, but in ways that made it closer to the source material. I don’t think that would be the case with her doing a Narnia adaptation though since she was a big fan of the book, Little Women, and I’d be really surprised if it turns out she’s a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia.

  13. Icarus says:

    I know some of you (particularly Rilian) really hated the Rings of Power, but it is (conceptually at least) a good model for what a Narnia series starting with The Magicians Nephew (or even Silver Chair) first, might look like.

    i.e. Rings of Power has absolutely nothing to do with the Peter Jackson movies from a production point-of-view, but every single part of the cinematography, set design, costume design, music, visuals, etc.etc. wants the audience to think of those movies whilst watching it.

    The soft prequel you might call it.

    Netflix therefore can easily riff off the Walden movies to provide wider context, but then just go and do either MN as the soft prequel or SC (and the rest) as soft sequels.

    They could even bring back people like Ben Barnes and Tilda Swinton if they wanted. Afterall, Casino Royale was a reboot, but no-one minded that Judie Dench still played M from before.

  14. Gandalf says:

    I want to see Magician’s Nephew followed by Francis Spufford’s The Stone Table. THAT would get people’s attention! And might lead to the actual publication of said book!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    In reply to Col. Klink’s comment about how starting with Magician’s Nephew — plus the numbers on the spines — will lead to people reading that one first … I had the same thought during this episode. And I say that as someone who did first read the books largely in chronological order because of the numbers on the spines! (I turned out to be a huge Narnia nerd anyway, so it didn’t hurt me too much, I don’t think.) It honestly wasn’t until I found NarniaWeb a few years ago that I realized how big of a deal this reading order thing was, and I remember being very struck by something either Glumpuddle or Rilian said about how the Walden movies, although they weren’t perfect, did cement publication order in people’s minds as the way to read the books.

    Now, as I posted in the Facebook group, I’ve never seen the Walden movies, just read the books and listened to the Focus on the Family dramas ad nauseum, so I feel kind of unqualified to comment here … but I’m torn. I feel like the storyline of MN is inherently cinematic, and I’d love to see that story get the mainstream attention it deserves, for people to realize there’s more to Narnia than the Pevensies (as wonderful as they are :). But starting with it could undermine the argument for publication order, and it is a strange transition from MN to LWW … but, as Courtenay said in the forum, it also could be a strange transition to the interpolated MN and THAHB stories, wherever you put them in the order of a franchise, if they intend to do all seven. I disliked THAHB for years because it felt like a pointless interjection in the overall saga, until I reread it as an adult and fell in love with the character arcs and depth of the story.

    There are too many considerations. This is why I am not in charge of these types of creative decisions!

  16. I was agreeing with Magician’s Nephew and LWW all the way – until your curveball, Glumpuddle! I’d love them to continue on the Walden timeline, and simply make The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. I never thought of that! That would be my favourite!

  17. Musgrave says:

    I would say if Narnia doesn’t get brought to the screen till 2030 or later, (heaven forbid), then it will have been a quarter of a century and I’d be alright with them starting with LWW. If it’s sooner than 2030 I would much prefer they start with The Last Battle. Just kidding, MN for sure!

  18. Fledge says:

    I think there is a way to adapt LWW so it seems fresh and nostalgic.
    Instead of making WWII such a big part of the story, Netflix could take the book’s approach and focus on the Pevensies and their time at the manor instead of the circumstances that brought them there. The kids’ personalities could be fleshed out more (especially Susan’s, because of what happens to her) and their relationships could be explored more deeply, especially between Susan and Lucy and Peter and Susan. . In the books Susan and Peter act like kids their age (e.g. when they climbing trees after Lucy discovers the Wardrobe) and they act as parents for their younger siblings. We could see more scenes of the siblings being all innocent and spending time together and more scenes of Peter and Susan caring for Lucy and Edmund. This could be truer to the spirit of the books.
    I think of the depiction of Satsuki in “My Neighbor Totoro”, especially as she is, like Susan, very practical.