Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
Now that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series has been released, the question in every fan’s mind is, will all seven of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, be made into movies?
After The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, doubts started to arise. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe did not make as much money as the producers hoped, and while Prince Caspian, the second movie, was the highest grossing movie on the weekend of its release, according to Bloomberg, Disney Studios were unwilling to take a chance on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Its partner in production, Walden Media, was forced to seek another partner, which they found in 20th Century Fox.
Already, Voyage of the Dawn Treader director Michael Apted, has expressed his doubts about the remaining four books, according to the Reuters News Service. In an interview, Apted stated that he would be ‘surprised’ if all seven books were filmed.
The problem, according to Apted, is that the books ‘go haywire’ after the fourth book, The Silver Chair. But this is due to the manner in which Lewis wrote the books. There never was any continuity in the series – at least not the kind of continuity that film makers like – the Harry Potter series being an example of that.
In C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, the stories go back into the past, when Narnia was formed (The Magician’s Nephew), back into the past again, while the four Pevensie children were still High Kings and Queens of Narnia (The Horse and His Boy), and end with The Last Battle, where the powerfully Christian themes may cause controversy in a politically correct world.
The movies are being made in the order the books were published, which may be one of the problems. Gradually, the four main characters in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe are dropped out and new characters take their place. This is a problem for movie goers more than it is for readers – movie goers become attached to characters and expect to see their favourites in every movie. But even worse for the movie makers, these same characters return later in the series, causing problems with the actors who played them in the first place. While the Pevensies remain young, the actors have grown older.
As it looks now, the chances of even the fourth book in the series being made looks slender, but after that all bets are off. Which will be a pity – both the Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy will make great movies – they are full of colour and adventure and explain more about Narnia, how it came to be, and what the other nations of Narnia are like.
Fans can only hope that Walden Media and 20th Century Fox will not give up too soon. At least we can hope The Silver Chair will be made, even if only to see one of the series' most delightful characters, Puddleglum the Marsh Wiggle, on the big screen.
The Narnia movies DVD and cinema tickets were purchased with my own funds.
CS Lewis on Aslan and Narnia:
A Year with Aslan: Daily Reflections from The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia - (3-Disc Set) - (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe/Prince Caspian & The Voyage of the Dawn Treader/The Silver Chair)