Break out the Turkish Delight, Netflix is taking on The Chronicles of Narnia.
The streaming service is adapting the beloved fantasy franchise into new films based on the seven fantasy novels that launched in 1950 with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Chronicles of Narnia is the tale of four British children during World War II who escape into an alternate magical world.
“It is wonderful to know that folks from all over are looking forward to seeing more of Narnia, and that the advances in production and distribution technology have made it possible for us to make Narnian adventures come to life all over the world,” said Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis, in a statement released by Netflix. “Netflix seems to be the very best medium with which to achieve this aim, and I am looking forward to working with them towards this goal.”
It’s not yet clear how many pieces of content will be produced and what form they will take. Producer Mark Gordon describes “multiple productions” and “both stellar feature-length and episodic programming.” Gordon added, “Narnia is one of those rare properties that spans multiple generations and geographies.”
The Narnia books have been adapted several times before, most recently by Disney for three films — 2005’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2008’s Prince Caspian, and 2010’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. A film version of the fourth book in the saga, The Silver Chair, was supposed to start filming this year under director Joe Johnston with Gordon producing, but it sounds like this deal is effectively overwriting that one.
“C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix. “Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.”
One immediate concern of fans after the announcement was made was whether the Netflix versions would water down the books’ Christian themes — a frequent criticism of the titles distributed by Disney. “I do not trust Netflix to do justice for the series! They will be trying to take God out of it like other companies have [for other] Christian movies,” wrote one commenter on the official Narnia Facebook page.
The move comes as HBO goes into the final season of the biggest televised fantasy title of all time, Game of Thrones, and Amazon is working on a prequel adaption of The Lord of the Rings.