Big budget fantasy seems to be all the rage on the small screen, as HBO continues its commitment to Game of Thrones with plans for spinoffs, and Amazon is working on a Lord of the Rings series. Netflix already had a toe in the genre with Bright and its upcoming sequel, as well as Matt Groening’s Disenchantment, but now the streaming giant just sealed a deal with a juggernaut franchise in the fantasy genre. Netflix has joined forces with the C.S. Lewis Company and will develop new TV shows and films based on The Chronicles of Narnia.
The multi-year deal between the Netflix and C.S. Lewis company is a landmark agreement, and is the first time any one company has secured the rights to all seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series at one time. Ted Sarandos noted the series lasting appeal as a reason for Netflix’s interest in the franchise, and stated that the streaming service will be the home for C.S. Lewis’ iconic works for years to come. Netflix will serve as producer for each project, with Mark Gordon of Entertainment One, and Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers on each completed film or television show.
As far as which books will be adapted into shows and which will be films, it’s not entirely clear at the moment. A year ago, it was reported that The Chronicles of Narnia films were making a comeback with The C.S. Lewis Company signing a deal with Tristar Pictures to adapt The Silver Chair. Any plans for that film might be scrapped now that Netflix is planning on adding the franchise to its original programming, especially considering the company has the rights to the entire shebang. Given that, it seems likely Netflix would like to shape the entire franchise around its own vision as opposed to using plans that may have been based or stylized after the previous film franchise.
Because Netflix acquired of all 7 books, it gives the company the opportunity to shape its adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia in many ways. For example, it’s possible one specific part of a story could be drawn out over the course of a series, with one big moment taking place over the course of a film.
Another possibility is that a series could focus primarily on the story of the Pevensie children, Eustace, and Jill (whom a current Netflix star was once rumored to be portraying), while the books somewhat outside the main story like The Magicians Nephew and The Horse and his Boy could serve as standalone films. Netflix didn’t reveal how it plans to tackle the works but will have plenty of time to mull it over given the length of the deal and their lack of a timetable for when we should see one of the first projects.
The Chronicles of Narnia series and films are in development at Netflix, but audiences might have to wait a while to see them. Luckily, fall television is in full swing and there are plenty of shows premiering each and every day. Check out the latest of what television has to offer with our fall premiere guide.