By Ajnos Gamgee
Those of you who follow all the latest Narnia news, will have seen the recent flurry of discussion online around the upcoming adaptation of the fourth Chronicles of Narnia book, The Silver Chair. We have known since October 2013 that Douglas Gresham has been planning to make this fourth film in conjunction with a completely new production team lead by Mark Gordon.
While news on updates to the plans for the film has been fairly sparse since then, and somewhat confused by a fake Twitter post in June last year claiming the script was complete, we have recently had official updates from Douglas Gresham through a number of short video clips. In the last, he tells us that although some changes must be made when translating a book onto screen, he hopes we will “see the whole story of The Silver Chair is in the movie”.
Last week, the mainstream film and television website, Collider, brought us the first official statement from producer Mark Gordon himself. At a press conference covering his latest television series, Gordon was asked by a Collider reporter on the status of the next Narnia film.
Gordon confirmed (what we basically already knew), which is that it will be a “brand new franchise” produced by “different directors, and an entirely new team”. He also stated that the characters would be original, but when asked to clarify, explained that they would not be newly invented characters, but taken “from the world of Narnia”. It seems that by this he meant that they would be different characters from those in the previous films (which is to be expected since The Silver Chair book laregly contains different characters from the previous books). This does not necessarily mean that returning characters such as Eustace Scrubb, King Caspian, Trumpkin the Dwarf and Aslan will be absent from the movie, although there is potential for their being recast. Eustace will almost certainly have to be recast (since Will Poulter, who played him in The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, is too old to reprise the role). King Caspian could be played by Ben Barnes again, but only if he is artificially aged and Peter Dinklage would require some aging too to return as Trumpkin. There is no specific reason that Liam Neeson should not return as Aslan, but presumably the production team will consider the pros and cons of this when the time comes to deciding on the cast.
Following the covering of Gordon’s words at the press conference, there has been a spate of reports describing The Silver Chair film as a “reboot”. This is a phrase which may be somewhat misleading since “reboot” might imply that what went before is now irrelevant and that filmmakers are starting from a clean slate. This is true in the sense that Walden Media (and their partners with whom they made the last three films – first Disney, then Fox) are no longer involved, and writers, directors and actors will be different. But the story of Narnia will continue where it left off. Douglas Gresham has said on more than one occasion that he wishes to keep the film as close to the book as possible. He also plans to be more directly involved in this film than he was in the others and to honour his step-father’s works and message.
With Gordon’s willingness to speak about the film and Douglas Gresham’s updates, we can be sure that plans are advancing. We will continue to keep you updated as more concrete news comes through. Feel free to comment below on your thoughts and hopes for the upcoming film.
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