Before anyone gets excited—as far as I know, there have not been any new announcements regarding the Netflix adaptation(s) of C.S. Lewis’s work. But that doesn’t keep me from hoping that one day soon, they’ll surprise us.
If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, or just an avid viewer of Netflix originals, you may remember that a few years ago (in the far land of 2018 where eternal summer reigned around the bright city of Covid-Who?) the streaming titan broke the exciting news that they would be creating both films and shows from the fantasy/children’s classic The Chronicles of Narnia book series. This was music to fans’ ears since the adaptation of The Silver Chair had been abandoned after years of being in production hell. Besides, show after show is proving that sometimes 2-hour movies just aren’t enough to tell the full story—and if any world deserves more in-depth diving, it’s the one we’ve found in the wardrobe.
Fast forward to 2021, and we still don’t know very much. There have been a few tidbits dropped here and there, such as this tweet from 2019 that confirmed the addition of Matthew Aldrich to the Narnia/Netflix team.
There was also a flurry of excitement in May 2020, when another Twitter account shared fan art creations that appeared so professionally done that people thought they were the real deal. (They aren’t…but they are nice to look at.)
Of course, none of these things give us what we really want—facts about the adaptations, ranging from how much content we’ll be seeing to who will play the much-loved roles of our favorite characters.
There is, of course, a huge demand for fantasy TV at the moment, considering two main factors: 1) we’re all stuck inside thanks to Covid and need an escape, and 2) GOT left a huge gap in the industry…one that needs to be filled with powerful and satisfying content and not a backstabbing dumpster fire. The added bonus of the Narnia canon is that it’s more family-friendly than, say, The Witcher.
A few possible reasons for the lack of updates are that the breadth of work is pretty big (not LOTR-big, but still seven books, each with their own distinct progression and plot). Additionally, and the reason that worries me the most, filming and production have been stalled, slowed down, and even outright canceled for a variety of media thanks to the Covid pandemic. It’s difficult to create something on the large scale that Narnia deserves when you’re supposed to be socially distant—and while some shows managed to pull it off (or not pull it off, as the case may be…*cough*Supernatural) there is always the fear that a show or film set might end up becoming an accidental super spreader despite testing and the necessary precautions.
While I’m hesitant to speculate on the adaptations themselves in terms of how close they will be to the source material or how they will fare in a post-GOT world, I am still delighted at the prospect of an immersive Narnia universe. We might finally get to experience The Magician’s Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, or The Final Battle! Or…we may not. I guess only Aslan knows. But I do know this is the perfect time for stories like Lewis’s to grace our small screens, and that gives me hope.