The mystery of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’: Why there were no more films in the saga

The first installment reached 745 million in collection, what stopped its continuation? Was it the actors? A bad moment?

On December 9, 2005 it premiered The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the adaptation of the first novel in the CS Lewis saga consisting of seven volumes. It had everything to become one of the great franchises -fantasy, many fans, a good reception…- and yet it never fully exploited its potential. what happened so that The Chronicles of Narnia did not become the new Harry Potter?

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe It was a real success, reaching 745 million dollars worldwide.. After this film came several tapes from the same universe. In 2008 it premiered prince caspian and, two years later, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. These last two had a more lukewarm reception -even so, both above 400 million- and sentenced the future of the franchise. The drop at the box office may be one of the factors why the saga did not have a longer run, but if we look at other examples from Disney, we see that it is a study that does not give up easily. The best example is Pirates of the Caribbeanwhich has five deliveries and the last ones were very far from the results of the first one.

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The truth is that there were plans to do more. In 2011 the rights passed to The Mark Gordon Companywho were going to adapt the 1953 novel the silver chair. They hired the scriptwriter -David Magee- and the director -Joe Johnston-, they prepared to sign a new cast and give the saga a facelift, but it never came true. And the reasons are not clear. Suddenly, nothing more was known about the project. Johnston went on to direct The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Narnia is still waiting for its chance. Perhaps now that Netflix has the rights, there will be a resurgence.

Why didn’t it work?

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The film by James McAvoy, Tilda Swinton and Liam Neeson had a good reception, both by the public and by critics, but the rating went down with each new installment. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader it obtained only a 50/100 among the specialized media. The change in director -they went from Andrew Adamson to Michael Apted- influenced the style of the film, but the factor that deflated was, in part, the actors.

The good thing about a saga is to accompany the same group of actors along the way, but those of The lion, the witch and the wardrobe they’ve grown too big since 2003, making it impossible for them to continue starring in the fantasy franchise. Almost a decade had passed since its inception, and Georgie Henley, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, and Skandar Keynes had changed markedly.

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Another reason why it didn’t work out could be that they were late. In 2003 the fantasy quota seemed filled with Harry PotterThe end of The Lord of the rings and the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean. It is possible that the public wanted other types of stories and that a new saga of the genre would be uphill for them. As we say, the first delivery reaped good numbers but it is the same effect that it had, for example, Divergent either the maze runnerwhich arose from The Hunger Games and they did not have the same reception. Had to change scenery.

A second life on Netflix

In 2018 it was announced that Netflix had acquired the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s the first time a company has acquired the rights to all seven books in one sitting, so it seems the streaming platform plans to become the new home for the CS Lewis universe. The company has a very ambitious strategy, since it is not only developing a series, it will also expand Lewis’s universe through movies..

It is a small cinematographic and series universe that will be under the supervision of Matthew Aldrich, co-writer of Coconut. He will be the one in charge of making everything cohesive and, who knows, maybe it will become the great franchise that it could have been.

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