Why 'The Chronicles of Narnia' Franchise Ended Prematurely

Three movies out of seven books is disappointing, but not unpredictable.

In the early-2000s, because the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies expanded the fantasy genre to new heights on display screen, the Walt Disney Company turned into eager to get in at the motion. Thus, Disney partnered with Walden Media, who owned the movie rights to C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia books. Together, the two studios planned to adapt the cherished young-adult myth collection into movies. The supply cloth totaled seven books, and after Disney and Walden made over $745 million dollars on their inaugural variation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, it appeared promising that the complete series might come to existence on-display and turn out to be a bankable franchise for both corporations. However, as the subsequent movies earned less and less at the container workplace, and the books have become increasingly more difficult to evolve, The Chronicles of Narnia films reputedly got here to a untimely cease, with only three of the seven books ever making it to the screen.

Shrinking Box Office Returns Halted ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ Franchise

After the success of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in 2005, Disney and Walden adapted Lewis’ 2d The Chronicles of Narnia ebook, Prince Caspian, in 2008. While the sequel fared decently with critics, it simplest earned $419 million on the box workplace. That won’t appear to be a tremendous drop from Wardrobe’s overall performance, however thinking about that Caspian turned into made on a $225 million finances towards Wardrobe’s $a hundred and eighty million, it did not bode properly for The Chronicles of Narnia franchise. Prince Caspian’s underwhelming returns at the side of other budgetary conflicts led Disney to quit involvement with The Chronicles of Narnia franchise in 2008, prompting Walden to buy a new Narnia studio companion.
Luckily, Walden determined that new companion in twentieth Century Fox, which become clean off the fulfillment of Avatar on the time and eager to launch another blockbuster hit. Fox for this reason helped produce The Chronicles of Narnia’s 1/3 movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Along with the studio switch, the 0.33 installment additionally saw a change in administrators, as Michael Apted took the reins from Andrew Adamson, who had helmed both Wardrobe and Caspian. The movie opened in December 2010, and earned $415 million on the field workplace — $four million much less than Caspian. Although Treader reverted to a greater modest $a hundred forty five million finances, it nonetheless secured a fashion of diminishing returns for The Chronicles of Narnia movies, no matter the global container workplace numbers regularly rising.

Following Treader, Walden’s president informed The Christian Post that the fourth The Chronicles of Narnia movie might be The Magician’s Nephew, the chronological first tale within the collection that explores Narnia’s origins. However, in 2011, Walden’s settlement with the C.S. Lewis estate expired, and it misplaced the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia franchise. Given that Walden turned into the pioneer of the movie series, and the handiest studio involved in all 3 films, this severance positioned the chance of future The Chronicles of Narnia adaptations in limbo. No phrase of a one of a kind studio acquiring the rights or generating extra films befell until 2016, while Sony and The Mark Gordon employer considered a rebooted franchise, starting with Lewis’ fourth novel, The Silver Chair. Despite this plan reputedly moving ahead for some time and Sony even naming Joe Johnston as The Silver Chair’s director, it in no way got here to be, and in 2018, Netflix entered a deal to broaden their very own The Chronicles of Narnia reboot. Similarly, but, there have no longer been any updates on Netflix’s Narnia in an extended whilst.

All topics of money and studio conflicts apart, though, there are even extra essential reasons why The Chronicles of Narnia in no way made it beyond the 1/3 movie. These motives have their roots inside the source fabric’s narrative shape, and they may have been foreseen from the very beginning.

Essentially, in contrast to Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia books aren’t the most conducive to a regular movie franchise. Most significantly, C.S. Lewis wrote the books out of chronological order. It makes feel that Walden launched Wardrobe, Caspian, and Treader in succession, as the ones are the primary three books that Lewis wrote, and that they observe the maximum steady protagonists in the form of the Pevensie youngsters. Even Treader, but, handiest had two of the authentic 4 Pevensies, and come his fourth e book, Lewis shifted interest to Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter), the Pevensies’ cousin who did no longer even seem in Wardrobe or Caspian.

On pinnacle of this stark shift in essential characters, Lewis then started out bouncing around inside the universe’s timeline. The 5th e book, The Horse and His Boy, takes place among Wardrobe and Caspian, and best depicts the Pevensies as grown-up kings and queens of Narnia whilst focusing on yet every other new person as the primary protagonist. For the sixth e book, Lewis went back an entire era to proportion Narnia’s genesis in The Magician’s Nephew earlier than jumping to the very cease of the timeline for the 7th and very last e book, The Last Battle. It’s a time warp that could make even X-Men fanatics scratch their heads.

With so many distinctive heroes and vaguely linked storylines, The Chronicles of Narnia did not have the equal steady focus or narrative arc that other myth diversifications possessed. Lewis’ books are more like an anthology collection, highlighting an array of stories taking vicinity inside the equal fantastical universe. There isn’t any unmarried person that lovers observe during all seven books, besides possibly the divine lion-king, Aslan (Liam Neeson), however even then, he’s never the protagonist, however rather an omnipresent entity. For the most component, every story and person arc is contained to its precise book.

C.S. Lewis’ Religious Allegory Got Heavier In Later Books

This myth-like shape is suitable for Lewis’ preliminary imaginative and prescient for The Chronicles of Narnia books. A religious Christian and spiritual philosopher, Lewis made the Narnia books as direct allegories to Bible stories. Each one is supposed to proportion a specific Christian ethical. While this turned into subdued sufficient in Wardrobe, Caspian, and Treader to lead them to into universally attractive movies, a number of the later books can grow to be heavy-passed or didactic in their non secular overtones. In Magician’s Nephew, the temptation of an apple plays a tremendous role in Narnia’s introduction. The Last Battle is a obvious retelling of Revelations, and actually indicates Narnia’s apocalypse before all the characters reunite in a heaven-like parallel model of the u . S .. Least palatable, even though, The Horse and His Boy or even Prince Caspian have mild suggestions of Islamophobia, with the villains coming from an Arab-like, desert united states to Narnia’s south.

Of direction, nearly all Western fiction—and especially Western myth—takes a few amount of have an impact on from Christianity. Nevertheless, Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia books aren’t so much motivated by using the Bible as they are at once translated from its textual content. While an audience for Christian content absolutely exists, a blockbuster franchise subsidized with the aid of international studios ought to cater to a much wider breadth of moviegoers.

Some ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ Books Are Just Too Strange For The Screen

Even other than the Christian allegory, even though, some fans would possibly forget that some of The Chronicles of Narnia books outside the first 3 are alternatively atypical, and not exactly conducive to film version. Wardrobe changed into an easy place to begin, as it contained iconic characters and scenes, and followed a sincere plot that culminated in a climactic war. Caspian became similarly cinematic, however even then, the filmmakers needed to write in a further struggle for the film. Come Treader, the tale turned into very episodic, and it already felt like a dubious structure for a movie. Later books get even much less traditional, not simply of their systems, but in their information as nicely. In The Horse and His Boy, the second one maximum tremendous individual is a talking horse. The Silver Chair contains a species of subterranean gnomes, and one of the major characters is a fictional scarecrow-like “Marsh-wiggle” named Puddleglum. Even The Last Battle, no matter living up to its call with an epic very last fight, spends most of the plot specializing in a corrupt monkey and a donkey that disguises himself as Aslan (a.K.A. A fake Messiah). All of those tales make for endearing reads, but one can imagine that a number of their on-display screen incarnations might be tough to take critically.

Make no mistake, all three of Walden’s The Chronicles of Narnia movies are best, a laugh, family-friendly adventures that preserve up pretty nicely in trendy fable market. The visuals are incredible; the movement is exciting; and the world is wealthy. However, when one considers C.S. Lewis’ books as an entire, it becomes clean to peer why the series lost its footing after the 1/3 film. Beyond Wardrobe, Caspian, and Treader, the testimonies lose their imperative attention to explore one-of-a-kind, most effective loosely-tied corners of Narnia’s global. Some of these corners are weird, some are esoteric of their Christian thought, and a few might in reality be difficult to evolve for the display. Embarking on a seven-film franchise isn’t any small feat, and without a regular person, plot, or message, it turns into nearly impossible to preserve interest from audiences or creators.

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Written by Abu Bakar

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