Just when all hope was lost, an announcement has finally been made. Another Narnia movie will be produced. From Twitter:
While two questions have been answered with this announcement—that the next Narnia film will be the Silver Chair and that Mark Gordon will produce it—there are many more questions left unanswered:
As I understand it, discussion was held for a long time between Walden Media and Douglas Gresham about whether Silver Chair was the most appropriate direction to take after Dawn Treader. Silver Chair is among the lowest of any “favorite of the series” fan poll, which is enough to make any producer cringe. Produce a movie—no matter how good it technically is—from lackluster source material, and few will go see it. Another direction—Magician’s Nephew—was discussed, or so I’ve read. So why, then, was it decided that Silver Chair was the best way to go?
Once again so I’ve read, Douglas Gresham—C. S. Lewis’ stepson and co-producer of the first three films—preferred a series of films that followed his stepfather’s original publication order and not the chronological order. Therein lies the question, though: will Gresham continue to be involved with the production of the films? (Update: This NarniaFans article indicates that Gresham will continue his involvement.) Will Walden Media continue to be involved with the films? (Most likely not.) What about their moratorium that says only Walden Media can produce Narnia films until 2018?
Will Will Poulter reprise his role as Eustace Scrubb? Will Will (I’m having too much fun with this “Will Will” thing) Poulter be too old for the part in 2018 if the rumors about the moratorium are true?
Furthermore, what direction should the producers take after releasing Silver Chair? Following the publication order, Silver Chair does come next after Dawn Treader, but that’s when the order takes a turn for the interesting. After Silver Chair, Lewis published The Horse and His Boy next, which comes third chronologically, but is set during the Golden Age of Narnia, which happens during The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Then comes Magician’s Nephew, which tells Narnia’s creation story and comes first chronologically, and after that comes The Last Battle, which tells Narnia’s “end times” story and comes last. Perhaps Silver Chair will exceed expectations and will carry the torch for another film to happen.
To me, The Last Battle makes the most sense from a film production standpoint as the next film after Silver Chair, because you don’t have to worry about the actors getting too old for their characters. Take a break from chronology to film The Horse and His Boy and Magician’s Nephew, and you have to wait a few years to produce The Last Battle. In those intervening years, not only do actors age too quickly, but the audience loses sense of the chronological continuity and context of the story. However, go directly to The Last Battle, and there’s no way that Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy will get to see the light of day. Which is unfortunate, because The Horse and His Boy just so happens to be one of my top favorites of the series and is an adaptation I desperately want to see.
Update: This NarniaWeb article alludes to the possibility that this “announcement” is merely a ploy to gauge how much interest is actually out there for a Silver Chair film, which means that an announcement for said film does not necessarily equal an end product for said film.
What do you think? What as-of-yet unmade film are you most excited to see produced? Share your thoughts in the comments.