Chronicles of Narnia's Netflix Reboot: Release, News & Everything We Know

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Chronicles of Narnia movie photos, Netflix logo

With streaming juggernaut Netflix owning the rights to the Narnia franchise, plans are in place to bring it to the big and small screens.

C. S. Lewis' sprawling fantasy novel series The Chronicles of Narnia has delighted fans for decades since they were first published in the 1950s.

Despite Lewis' noted objections to adapting The Chronicles Narnia for visual mediums (wanting Narnia to be a world that was read about, not seen) there have indeed been a variety of attempts to turn the books into television series and films.

Netflix Does Narnia

Back in 2018, the announcement was made (via Deadline) that Netflix had signed a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company to produce a variety of television series and feature films based on The Chronicles of Narnia.

The agreement was a landmark one, as it stood as the first time in history that the rights to all seven Narnia novels were under the same entertainment studio’s roof.

At the time, Netflix exec Ted Sarandos noted that the streamer was “thrilled” to serve as the home for the franchise:

“C.S. Lewis’ beloved 'Chronicles of Narnia' stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world. 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.”

Who Is Overseeing Netflix’s Narnia Projects?

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe cover
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Less than a year after the initial announcement form Netflix in June 2019, Matthew Aldrich, co-writer of Pixar’s smash hit Coco, was appointed Netflix’s creative architect for its forthcoming Narnia projects (via The Hollywood Reporter).

However, there has been radio silence on Aldrich’s involvement since then, much less any substantial movement on getting any Narnia-related productions off the ground. Perhaps tellingly, Aldrich’s representative’s website has also removed the writer’s association with Netflix.

Most recently, Greta Gerwig, director of summer 2023’s mega-hit Barbie, was reported to be helming at least two of Netflix’s Narnia movies (via The New Yorker).

During an episode of the Inside Total Film podcast, in which Gerwig was a guest, she remarked that she was "properly scared" of taking on the project

“I haven’t even really started wrapping my arms around it, but I’m properly scared of it, which feels like a good place to start. I think when I’m scared, it’s always a good sign. Maybe when I stop being scared, it’ll be like, 'Maybe I shouldn’t do that one.' No, I’m terrified of it. It’s extraordinary. And it’s exciting.”

Gerwig additionally commented to Time Magazine that she’s “interested in embracing the paradox of the worlds that Lewis created:”

“It’s connected to the folklore and fairy stories of England, but it’s a combination of different traditions. As a child, you accept the whole thing—that you’re in this land of Narnia, there’s fauns, and then Father Christmas shows up. It doesn’t even occur to you that it’s not schematic. I’m interested in embracing the paradox of the worlds that Lewis created, because that’s what’s so compelling about them.”

Ted Sarandos also hailed Greta Gerwig as an “incredible visionary” when it came to the task of breathing life into the Narnia series, promising that her films will be “bigger and bolder” than viewers anticipate. 

“It won’t be counter to how the audience may have imagined those worlds, but it will be bigger and bolder than they thought.”

When Will Netflix’s Narnia Movies Release?

As for a timetable on when Gerwig will begin shooting the films, Netflix’s Head of Film Scott Stuber indicated last year that filming would kick off in 2024:

“Well, I think people know that we’re aspirationally trying to get Greta Gerwig’s [The Chronicles of] Narnia together and get that movie, which will be next year.”

However, according to Deadline, Greta Gerwig’s first Narnia film won’t begin production until potentially late 2024, if not early 2025. If cameras roll within that timeframe, the earliest that the movie could debut on Netflix would be mid-to-late 2026.

What Will Happen in Netflix’s Narnia Movies?

Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia cover
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

It’s currently unknown which of C. S. Lewis’ tales Netflix will adapt first. Logic suggests the first novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as the most likely starting point, and it has already been turned into a film.

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four children are pulled into the mystical realm of Narnia through a magical wardrobe. Once there, they join up with the powerful creature known as Aslan to battle the villainous White Witch.

From there, the sequel could concern the plot of the second book Prince Caspian. The story in question concerns the same four children from the original novel venturing back to Narnia, which is now under the oppressive control of man.

Not Hollywood’s First Trip Through the Wardrobe

It’s very much worth noting that Netflix’s efforts have been far from the first time that the principles of big-budget filmmaking have been applied to The Chronicles of Narnia.

2005, 2008, and 2010 brought new movies based on the first three Narnia books through Walt Disney and later 20th Century Fox. Even though these films were met with mostly a mixed reception, plans were in place for more sequels until the studio responsible, Walden Media, lost the rights.

The world of Narnia has been left essentially untouched by Hollywood since then, but it would seem that Netflix still intends to move forward, in earnest, with their ambitions of bringing The Chronicles of Narnia to cinematic life.

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- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.