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Netflix to develop a Narnia Universe with its new series of films

Written By | Oct 4, 2018
Narnia Universe

Lily Lea, C.S. Lewis’ longtime home, 1905-1930. Photo in the public domain.

WASHINGTON. Netflix just announced it has reached a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company to develop several films and an original series. The popular streaming platform will base its films and series on the popular Chronicles of Narnia books and the entire Narnia Universe.

The latest on Netflix’ Narnia deal

Deadline reports that under the deal, Netflix will be working with Entertainment One to develop stories from the Narnia universe into films and original series. eOne’s Mark Gordon, Douglas Gresham, and Vicent Sieber are signed on to be executive producers. This marks the first time that the same company owns the rights to the entire seven-book series that encompasses C.S. Lewis’ famous childrens’ mythology.

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that Lewis’ beloved “Chronicles of Narnia” stories have touched generations of readers all over the world. He said further that Netflix plans to house everything involved with the franchise  “for years to come.”

The Narnia backstory

Lewis created his Narnia books and mythology to appeal to post-World War II children. He knew they would grow up in a very different and more challenging world. These books, however, are very different from most childrens’ literature. They involve clearly traditional Christian themes and moral lessons, but also feature characters inspired by the Greek and Roman mythologies with which the author was quite familiar. But Lewis also drew on characters and mythologies closer to home, including Irish and British mythologies.

Lewis’ traditional treatment of some contemporary subjects has, of course, drawn the ire of secular leftists. For that reason it will be interesting to see whether Netflix’ treatments of these books and stories remain true to the primary sources. Hopefully, they’ll reject the temptation to indulge the secular revisionism that’s so common today. Taking this route would likely alienate audiences who love and appreciate the original stories and mythology.

A Wikipedia entry on Narnia succinctly encapsulates the primary story line.

“Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.”

Netflix is dealing with a potentially hot property

With sales of over 100 million copies and with translated editions in over 40 different languages, the Narnia books define mass popularity. In addition, Sony recently adapted some of the material for its films “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” “Prince Caspian,” and “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” All three films combined grossed more than $1.5 billion globally.

Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham said he looks forward to seeing more of Narnia. In addition, he notes that technological advances make it possible to bring these stories to life worldwide. Gresham said that Netflix is the best medium to achieve that goal. As a result, he is ready to get to work with the streaming platform.

Would the author approve of Netflix’ new Narnia Universe?

Eone and Netflix aim to create an in-depth Narnia cinematic universe. That includes film and television treatments similar to what Star Trek and Marvel have accomplished. The idea for this came from Gordon. He originally wanted to make a fourth Narnia film in 2013. But he decided instead to create this Narnia universe through Netflix. Netflix, in turn, will face a major franchise rival. That’s because Amazon previously ordered a major Lord of the Rings TV series via its massive deal with the J.R.R. Tolkien estate.

C.S. Lewis once told a child in 1957, that his stories do not belong on television. Most noteworthy, Lewis also said “there are stories, which are for the ear alone.”

As of now, details of proposed films and original series arcs remain hard to come by. But Netflix plans to say more about this major deal in the near future.

Latest Netflix series trend

The Verge sees a larger trend in this latest Netflix series development.

“The announcement reflects a growing trend for streaming services to acquire the rights to books … already … adapted for the big and small screens. Amazon is currently working on its own adaptation of Lord of the Rings which it hopes to turn into a five season TV show, and Netflix is in the middle of a three-season adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Netflix made no announcement for a release date for its Chronicles of Narnia project.

In other news, Black Mirror to return with hot new concept

In other Netflix news, NME reports that something totally new is afoot in that streaming network’s latest edition of its weirdly fascinating, more or less sci-fi series, Black Mirror.

“…it was recently reported that Netflix will venture into choose-your-own-adventure programming with new episodes of Black Mirror.

“An anonymous source spoke to Bloomberg, revealing that the interactive episode will form part of the fifth series of Black Mirror, which is set to return to the streaming service in December.”

It seems like this innovation will prove most interesting. That depends, of course, upon what device or devices we’ll need to dive into the special episode. And find out what might happen if and when we do.


Larry Lease

Lawrence Lease is a conservative commentator taking aim at all aspects of governmental domestic and foreign policy. Lease previously served as a volunteer with the human-rights organization International Justice Mission in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Follow Lease on Twitter, Facebook, and soon Blog Talk Radio.