Narnia fans will once again get the opportunity to step through the wardrobe, thanks to Netflix. The streaming service announced on Wednesday that it will adapt C.S. Lewis' famed Chronicles of Narnia series, which will allow fans to enjoy the magical, Turkish Delight-filled world of the Pevensie children once more.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix hasn't yet revealed whether the series — which follows the World War II-set adventures of Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, who escape into an alternate magical world where they become kings and queens — will be adapted into full-length feature films or whether it would exist as an ongoing television series. However, in a statement released by Netflix, producer Mark Gordon teased the possibility of the deal resulting in "both stellar feature-length and episodic programming," and adding, "We cannot wait to get started on the multiple productions we hope to undertake."
Netflix is far from the first outlet to adapt the beloved fantasy series; most recently, Disney released a big-screen version of The Chronicles of Narnia in 2005 (starring Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Hensley as the Pevensie siblings), followed by Prince Caspian in 2008 and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010. Disney also had plans to adapt the fourth novel in the series, The Silver Chair, with filming proposed to begin in 2018, although it seems unlikely that it will begin production in the wake of this Netflix deal.
The Narnia adaptation will join the final season of Game of Thrones and Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings television series as one of the latest big-budget fantasy adaptations to hit the small screen, and with GOT taking home yet another Outstanding Drama Series Emmy award last month, it seems as if fantasy series are finally getting the kind of fair treatment awarded to their non-genre counterparts.
Could one of Narnia's adaptations be the thing to help Netflix finally win a major Emmy award? Only time will tell, but it appears as if many awards bodies are finally appreciating the scale and energy that goes into making fantasy stories come to life.
Despite this, some Narnia fans are apprehensive about the adaptations, according to EW, as past film versions have been criticized by Lewis fans for downplaying the Christian themes of his original novels. While there's no way to know yet just how loyal to the novels Netflix's planned adaptations will be, the streaming service's version of A Series of Unfortunate Events may offer some Narnia fans comfort in the months ahead of its production and release.
Like The Chronicles of Narnia, Lemony Snicket's novels about the Baudelaire children and their many misadventures in the wake of their parents' tragic death were adapted for the silver screen back in 2004, starring Jim Carrey as Count Olaf. However, many fans took issue with the film, which consolidated the first three books of the series into one film, and also played up the more comical elements of the story, rather than focusing on its wry, clever storytelling and wordplay.
By contrast, the Series of Unfortunate Events television series, which premiered on Netflix in 2017, expanded the scope of the adaptation (into 26 episodes, so that each book in the series gets its due) and which leant into the mystery at the heart of the story, as well as honoring the absurd and sardonic nature of the books, in order to give fans the adaptation that they had hoped for all along.
Since Netflix is known for giving the creative teams behind its programming full creative control, it's hard to imagine that the Narnia team wouldn't try and honor the themes and story from the books as best as they can. Sure, there's a chance that these adaptations may change the beloved stories completely, but with both feature films and series in the works, it's likely that Netflix's Narnia will have something to offer every fan who chooses to tune in.