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Wait - So There Will Be More Narnia? Who Really Cares Anymore?

by
April 25, 2008
Source: MTV

Aslan

No one really seems to know the actual reality behind the future of the Chronicles of Narnia franchise. We confirmed a rumor at the NY Comic Con last weekend that there were "no plans" to continue after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but now producer Mark Johnson comes out and says otherwise - or at least he says they're already looking for a director. Not only is the upcoming Narnia movie one of the least buzzed about films around here, but I just don't think anyone cares about details for movies that we probably won't see for another 4 or 5 years! Dawn Treader won't even hit theaters until 2010 and we can only assume that if they do make another, it wouldn't be out until at least 2012. However, I thought it would be best to present all of the facts in this current situation.

Mark Johnson spoke with MTV recently and told them that "there is a list" of directors that they're considering for The Silver Chair, the fourth book, and that they already "have an eye on who might direct." So if he said there are "no plans", then what are these plans? From what I can make of this mess, it just sounds like he's planning for it, but without an actual greenlight. I doubt Disney would ever confirm this, but I'm certain they're waiting to see how Prince Caspian performs before they give the go ahead on Silver Chair. Why would they keep making big budget Narnia movies if they can't even make their money back? But that doesn't mean Johnson can already start planning in case Caspian does go over well.

As for the future of the franchise, if it indeed gets made, Johnson envisions it with new directors for every film, all five more that remain. For Silver Chair, he already confirms that it "will be somebody new entirely," but not anyone we might be familiar with - "I would like to get somebody totally unexpected." However, here's where Johnson leans towards the side of the future being uncertain again. He concludes with, "I'd be lying if I didn't say a couple of them I don't know how to film. It would be a good problem to have." So he doesn't know how to the film them, said previously that they don't have plans to continue beyond Dawn Treader, but is already figuring out who should direct The Silver Chair? Even I don't know what the heck is going on here!

This whole scenario reminds me of two other rather flimsy franchises - Eragon and The Golden Compass (aka His Dark Materials). Both underperformed vastly and both were setup to continue with more films. Yet, as far as I know, both are dead in the water. That $292 million that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe made was impressive enough to at least continue the franchise on to Caspian, but I still feel like they're a bit worried. The point is - who really cares? If anything, I'd rather bring up this discussion again once I've seen The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Until then, there's no point in discussing movies that we won't see for 4 years in a situation that is a big mess to begin with.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/kail2007 Kail
    The original The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was the only good one, Disney's just trying to cash in on the big money The Lord of the Rings brought in 7 years ago, they think the fantasy genre is back but that shit died in the 80's and they should've realized that when The Black Cauldron didn't make any money. Now if they remade Krull and did a good job of it, there'd be something for me to waste $11 on.
  • http://www.theaterhopper.com Tom Brazelton
    Personally, I've reached a saturation point on children's fantasy translated for the big screen. It's an obnoxious trend brought about by the success of Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings films. I can't even begin to number the films in the last 6 months that have been about "imaginary worlds" and the fate of such world hung on the shoulders of children. I think you can point a finger squarely at the failure of The Golden Compass for the downfall of these movies. That was supposed to be the next, big thing. But I believe audience burnout is turning the tide away from these films.
  • Matt
    "The original The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was the only good one" Have you ever read these? I'm not so sure that it is even the best, let alone the "only good one". The darker tales in the series will make better films that Wardrobe did (as long as the director understands where he need to take it). I agree, there is definitely burnout. It's unfortunate, because these stories have a charm that is missing from some of the other kids fantasy series, IMHO. No matter what, though, they could never measure up to Jackson's towering achievement with the LoTR films. I don't think it's even fair to compare them, as the source material is much more rich and full, and the Narnia books are essentially children's tales.
  • dRailer
    You know, this is a sick thing for me to even say -- but the thought occurred to me while I was looking at the Watchmen sets... a movie I'm actually looking forward to very much. The thing is, they're building sets that will never be used for anything again except for an ebay auction or two. "Rorshach's favorite lamp-post!" It started me thinking about the film industry in general, so here's my point: Maybe it is good that Hollywood is hurting this bad. Like many of the readers of this story and the author, I've got to ask "why?" In a world where I'm paying four bucks for a gallon for gas, I'd much rather read a headline that said "Studio scraps Narnia project, backs solar power efforts." I know that's a dreamy hippie-ish mentality I've got going on there, but in my heart I couldn't be a part of that project without feeling like I'm wasting my time and everybody else's dollars and resources. If Hollywood is hurting this bad, at what point do they only make movies that need to be made? I'm not saying "only make movies that will turn a profit," or "that appeal to everybody." I'm saying wouldn't it be nice if every movie on the marquee was a HILARIOUS comedy, a very EMOTIONAL or PROVOCATIVE drama, or CREATIVE science fiction? Back to Watchmen... I want you to understand, that while I thought "that's too bad about those sets only being used for this film..." I also thought, "...but Watchmen is a movie that is probably going to be well worth it." I want to see movie studios thinking that way from an economic, environmental, and integrity standpoint: We're only making movies that are worth making. As a sequel (like future Narnia films,) excuses for not following this mentality run thin. Surely the earlier movie(s) in the series should be some indication.
  • Ajax
    Listen.. Narnia 2 is one of the least buzzworthy movies out there. It is way too close to other huge summer blockbusters (IJ4, Speed Racer), so I think Disney will be really disapointed with the returns. Also, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is not a very good movie to atract teenagers, the most important demographic to a film's return (in my mind). I the "The Silver Chair" would be a beter film for this. But, "Silver Chair" has two unkonw kids go to Narnia instead of the original kids in the first film. One of them introduced in "Dawn Treader" so it would make more sense. And what about "The Magician's Nephew" or "The Horse and his Boy"? They come before "Prince Caspian" in continuity.
  • paradox
    Personally, when the first film came out I was wondering if they would even be able to make more films or not. I knew that Lewis's folks were riding the coattails of Tolkein's folks after seeing the huge success of LOTR, but when it came out and at the time there wasn't any immediate news about future films I was concerned and wondering why they had made one if they weren't going to try to make the whole series. Especially since they had made the RIGHT one into the first film. This deal where they recently put the books in "chronological" order just didn't suit me. "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" will always be the first book to me as I'm sure it is to many others that grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I will watch every one that they put out as long as they continue doing so. If they can make it all the way to "The Final Battle" and keep the quality increasing from the first one, then it will ultimately be up there with the Lord Of The Rings films. And of course, now it seems Peter Jackson won't be directing the Hobbitt. Will New Line Cinema try to film other books set in Middle Earth? Think of it. Really, The Lord Of The Rings HAD to all be filmed in one shot simply because it's all one story, whereas each book in The Chronicles of Narnia told a different story that while not completely independent of the other books, certainly told a more complete story with a more epic feel when you put them all together. So if New Line makes "The Hobbitt" into a film and it becomes the roaring success (I'm sorry, did I just make a Narnia pun?) of the first three, then chances are that we will see more of Middle Earth on the big screen in the future. I wonder how one would tackle the Silmarillion? Of course I'm sure most of you out there are aware of the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein, right? Other fantasy series that would be great to see in film: L Frank Baum's "Oz" books Stephen King's "Dark Tower" books Ted Dekker's "Circle" trilogy And were you aware that there is a Swedish metal band by the name of Narnia? They have five albums out so far. You can find them at http*:*//*www.*narniaworld*.com by pasting that into your browser and taking out the asterisks. Most of the albums have a Narnia or Euro-Christian feel to them.
  • Jont
    i cant but help thinking about the major difference between the first and 2nd film and even the thrid plus possible 4th when the first one came out it was real easy for people to get into. it was the first chronicle of narnia book which basically implies the whole theme and product. so the first film kind of has this open door of welcome back to this thing you remeber prince caspian is more exclusive becuase it comes off as being an idividual film in the series. duh you might say but from a marketing stand point i want people to think Chronicles Of Narnia fist and then think 2nd film. not think lion the witch and the wardrobe then prince caspian. literally i get the feeling that people do not make the connection between prince caspian and CON it seems to be alienated and not tapping into what an awesome force the first movie has created. people want more of that product im sure of it but this film just doesnt want to stand beside it with some akward way
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    I loved the BLACK CAULDRON!
  • http://www.thestopbutton.com/ Andrew Wickliffe
    I thought the NARNIA craze was Christian-movie fueled?
  • Sinner
    Why would the release date be a reason for us not to care. Remember 2010 is only about 1 1/2 years away so of course we're interested & that's why we're talking about it. Same reason we post about Cloverfield 2, Hellboy 3, The Hobbit, Terminator 4, future X-Mens, Wolverine & to a lesser extent Megalodon, Piranha, Rapunzel etc. etc. Time flies man! Narnia has a huge following, more so than most of the films I just mentioned. $292 mil for the first film isn't chump change.
  • http://www.movielegacy.com Dan Geer
    Who really cares? The Christian community is who cares. Whether you're game for Christianity or not, these movies have Christian allegory in them, and the Christian community is huge. They're the main reason The Passion of the Christ made so much money, and they're one of the biggest reasons the first Narnia film made as much as it did. People seem to forget that this group in particular sees lots of movies, and gather entire youth groups and congregations out to movies like Narnia, Lord of the Rings or The Passion of the Christ, because it's rare that any sort of Christian story gets quality film treatment. Aside from that, they are good fantasy stories and are popular in general beyond the Christian populace. They have the allegory, but can also be enjoyed even if you don't subscribe to the allegory. It appeals to anyone who enjoys fantasy. Narnia may not be that popular on this website, and I know that I'm looking forward to Indy 4, The Dark Knight, The X Files and Star Wars more than Narnia. But it's in my top 5. I loved the first one, and hope that they make all of them.
  • paradox
    For Dan Geer on post #11: Are they making another Star Wars movie? Or another X-Files movie? I could see maybe X-Files, but I keep up with Star Wars and so far the third trilogy hasn't been green lighted yet to my knowledge. Could you have meant Star Trek and X-Men? I know both of those are in the works. Also, as far as Christian analogy goes, I think that people do leave out the fact that there are a lot of Christians out there that pack theaters for films just as they boycott other films. How else can you get movies like "Left Behind" and "The Omega Code" do as well as they did at the box office? Fortunately the "Omega" sequel/prequel "Megiddo" was better filmed although I don't think it did as well at the box office as the first one did, but the other "LB" movies went straight to video as I recall. And then there was "Facing the Giants". Did anyone see that? It apparantly did rather well too and wasn't filmed all that bad for the budget it had. Personally I'm waiting for "House" based on the novel co-written by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker that's supposed to come out later on this year. The book was creepy enough, so I hope the film does it justice. We'll see. Just stay out of the basement. (I wonder if this site will even bother to look into that one?) I stand by what I said on my last post. As long as they keep making the Narnia films, I'll go see them.
  • cheater
    I care. Narnia is a great book and movie series and the fan base is huge. Disney is all about pleasing the public and the public wants Narnia. Its like not finishing the Harry Potter movies or books.
  • inlovew/narnia
    Personally, I absolutly love The Chronincles of Narnia and I really hope that they keep going with them. I think that the reason The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was so popular was because everyone knew of that book. Out of all the Narnia books that is the most widely known and read. But I really do hope they keep going because it would be such a shame to stop half way through. These are amazing stories about impossible odds, fierce battles, faith in the unseen, and adventures we all wish we could be a part of. There is an underlying message of truth in these books/movies that our world despartely needs. As kids we all dream of imaginary worlds full of adventure, and as adults we move on, but we don't ever truly forget these imaginary worlds. They still exist in our sunbconscience b/c we want so badly for there to be more to life. For me, and I know for others also, Narnia echos those stories we created as kids. They bring us back to that time when we knew without a doubt that there truly was more to life than we couldn't see with our eyes.
  • Scott Morrison
    I have just watched the 2nd installment - Prince Caspian and thought they did a fantastic job. As with a lot of movies, the book always seems to do better in your mind, because it captures you more and there is far more in it. However, they have done a good job. I totally agree with Dan Geer above, as a committed Christian, I am thrilled when movies come out that have good Christian morals, theme or background. Its a sad fact that as the years go by, the harder it is to find a movie that has NO swearing in it, and good morals. The Narnia movies provide just that, a good Christian themed movie with good morals and at the same time isnt obviously so, i.e doesnt bible bash. There is no real reference to God or Jesus in there, although the Christians can note the presence of both in the symbolism and scenes used, and so it can appeal to everyone. I agree its painful to think of having to wait a year and a half to two years in between each movie - but if thats what it takes to get it right and make it well - it will be worth it. I only hope that whoever directs the future ones keeps to the whole theme of the originals. As for the downfall of the movie The Golden Compass - thank God for that!! I dont know if anyone watched it - but I only saw 10 minutes and had to switch it off in disgust! It was all about how we all have our own demon who is there to help us, and it has a name etc. The website for the movie even gets kids to type in their name, and answer a few questions to find out the name of their demon!! what is the world coming too!! I am glad that it did not do well - we can do without that sort of nonsense thank you very much!
  • Susana
    Well I really really hope they make more after the dawn treader one! I love them!
  • Shiela Tantiado
    i care! i read the books. i watched the movies and also, am expecting of the rest [the voyage of the dawn treader and the rest] and if they delete any part of the book, observers might never understand what they are watching anymore. well, Prince caspian is a good story but, well, they change a lot of things and its quiet disappointing but the movie [without reading the book] might be okay but good is better than okay. Prince Caspian [the movie] makes me depress for a week. crazy but true. i don't understand it at first. but trying to understand it reading and watching it all over again, helps. Yes, it's somehow Christian related video, i'm a christian and it means to me. They might lose billions of money but couldn't they just consider their audience? the kids who loved it? Well, they're not, i think every kids but there's a number of kids who's still craving for more. If they will just be dumping a masterpiece like this they better dump the first one before before it got a better worse. We're expecting! and any way, the whole [books and movies] helps people turn their back to God and i'm not kidding! I may sound so old on what i am saying but FYI i'm just a 15 year old girl, under the influence of a fairytale- which i hope, really exist, like Narnia.

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