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How are you feeling about Netflix running Narnia? Poll was created on Nov 14, 2020

  
  
  
Poll results: How are you feeling about Netflix running Narnia?
Voter(s): 41
Poll was created on Nov 14, 2020
My opinion hasn't changed.  -  votes: 18 / 43.9%
18
43.9%
I'm feeling more optimistic.  -  votes: 6 / 14.6%
6
14.6%
I'm feeling less optimistic.  -  votes: 17 / 41.5%
17
41.5%

How's everyone feeling about Netflix?

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Sir Cabbage
(@sir-cabbage)
NarniaWeb Newbie

I have been feeling quite excited by the prospect of finally getting all the books adapted by Netflix. I've watched a few of their programmes, which have been decent, and believe they could do a fair job of this if they really care about the source material. I have to be honest that just reading the comments here has made me a little nervous about it, though! If they can keep the heart of the books in there and manage to adapt all of them I will be happy enough. They don't have to be amazing adaptions -- decent will be good enough! That they do all seven books might be being too hopeful for the moment... maybe I shouldn't get too excited for that as yet! ? 

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Posted : February 23, 2021 3:44 pm
GracePevensie15
(@gracepevensie15)
Member Friend of NarniaWeb

I’m pretty skeptical about Netflix doing an adaptation of Narnia, honestly. I haven’t had Netflix for a while now, but I’ve heard a lot of negative stuff about their content. I’m just afraid that it won’t be family-friendly. Although CS Lewis wrote Narnia as a children’s book series, I feel like Netflix might not take that into consideration. I’m also wondering how true they’ll stay to the books. (Hopefully they won’t throw in a Caspian/Susan romance, and hopefully there won’t be a green mist. ?)

I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Life is short, live it well ♥️

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Posted : March 8, 2021 7:50 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

At the risk of opening up a whole can of worms, I am interested to explore in a bit more detail why some people have such strong objections towards Netflix in the comments so far.

As much as I understand it, Netflix is first and foremost a content provider, but not a content creator. The vast overwhelming majority of the content on their service is created by third parties, and then merely licensed to Netflix for a short term viewing window. This covers the majority of their movie offerings which are under license from studios like Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, etc, and some of their most popular TV shows which are licensed from channels like the BBC, NBC and CBS.

After this, there is the smaller subset of content which was created independently by a third party, but where Netflix then agreed to be the exclusive distributor. This applies to a lot of the "Netflix Original" movies, whereby the movie itself was already created and then Netflix just stepped in at the end to secure the distribution rights (e.g. the movie "Roma" was shot in 2016 but it was not until 2018 when Netflix entered the frame to secure the theatrical distribution rights). This also applies to shows like Star Trek Discovery, which is branded in the UK as a "Netflix Original", despite being originally produced by Paramount for the CBS All Access streaming service in the USA. By and large though, this subset of content is still stuff that Netflix itself had no direct control over the creative process.

Finally, there is perhaps the smallest subset of content on the entire Netflix platform - the movies and shows whereby Netflix directly commissioned a production studio to make something (although again, still no actual hands on production). So this would cover stuff like "House of Cards" and "Mindhunter" which were produced by David Fincher, and shows like "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones" which were produced by Marvel Television. This is perhaps the only content that Netflix as a corporate entity has any possible means of influencing.... and yet I have not heard a single story of a content producer for Netflix being strong-armed into any creative decisions that they were not happy with.

I follow the TV and Movie businesses fairly religiously, and stories of studio interference and friction with creative directors happen all the time - but never to the best of my knowledge when it comes to Netflix. Therefore I would find it strange if people had an objection to Netflix as a platform if their fear is that they would interfere with the creative vision of the production studio.

That is not to say that Netflix's entirely "hands-off" approach is always for the best however....

For example, when you compare Netflix to say the BBC (who also commission third party production teams to produce shows for them) I think its much easier to identify the hallmarks of a "BBC Show" regardless of who produced it due to 3 factors:

  • The BBC have rigorous quality standards, so BBC shows are usually of a fairly consistent standard.
  • The BBC have certain budget restrictions so BBC shows usually have a certain look and feel
  • The BBC have certain cultural obligations which means that BBC shows tend to reflect the core values of the institution (other UK broadcasters such as Channel 4 are able to push the boundaries a bit more due to differences in the way they are funded)

So the fact that Netflix doesn't seem to have those three things can be a negative (it can feel like you have to scroll though a lot of dross just to find anything good to watch on Netflix at times) but it can also be a huge positive - creators by and large seem to have complete freedom to make the sorts of shows they want, and Netflix usually are quite willing to splash the cash in their direction to make their vision happen.

Overall though, I would ultimately just see Netflix as a completely neutral entity. They are just the streaming platform. Some of their content is great, some of their content is not so great. But they seem to have very little say-so in terms of which is which. 

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Posted : March 11, 2021 8:00 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@icarus

Agreed! There's no reason to think that a show appearing on Netflix will necessarily turn out exactly like the majority of the show they stream.

To those worried about Narnia going R-rated, I can say that there have been statements from Netflix saying they want to expand their family-friendly content in future programming.

Netflix most likely had a lot of 'adult content' shows because those types of shows seemed popular. Now they're sensing an unexplored opportunity and are reaching out to the family friendly market. 

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Posted : March 11, 2021 10:07 pm
Courtenay liked
Eustace
(@eustace)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I am feeling less optimistic. I just seeing shows after books that tend to be dark and gloomy despite what the books or the series they are based on not being either one. Although, I would love to be optimistic that Narnia will be different, but, I can't see past these facts. Netflix is good at broody and dark shows, and sure MN could work as a gritty show, and SC could also work as a gritty show, but, not the whole series.


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Posted : March 14, 2021 2:25 pm
Ryadian
(@rya)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @icarus

I follow the TV and Movie businesses fairly religiously, and stories of studio interference and friction with creative directors happen all the time - but never to the best of my knowledge when it comes to Netflix.

This does seem to be a rare occurrence, but there was an incident last year. Netflix is in charge of the Avatar: The Last Airbender live action remake, and the original showrunners were working on the remake up until last summer. They apparently left due to "creative differences". I don't think the details were ever made public, though.

Posted by: @eustace

I am feeling less optimistic. I just seeing shows after books that tend to be dark and gloomy despite what the books or the series they are based on not being either one. Although, I would love to be optimistic that Narnia will be different, but, I can't see past these facts.

That's basically where I am, too. Maybe it's just a coincidence, or maybe they really just were too keen to greenlight the grittier shows for a while, but it seems like basically every Netflix Original I've seen has had that same sort of tone. Sometimes it just works best for the story being told, but I also have seen some of their adaptations that seem to have been painted with the "dark & gloomy" brush for no reason, except perhaps to make it more "binge-worthy". I have a hard time imagining "The Chronicles of Narnia: A Netflix Original" diverging from their "identity" that drastically.

It doesn't help that I also have a hard time believing Netflix cares that much about Narnia as a property. I know preproduction takes time, and I've never really had the patience to follow a movie/show before there are trailers... but it just feels like we've basically had radio silence from Netflix for the past couple of years. There was also that article on NarniaWeb last year or so (which I can't seem to find anymore) which indicated that Douglas Gresham hadn't heard much more than we had, which... does not seem like a good sign.

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Proud to be Sirya the Madcap Siren

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Posted : March 15, 2021 8:05 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
 Posted by: @rya

It doesn't help that I also have a hard time believing Netflix cares that much about Narnia as a property. I know preproduction takes time, and I've never really had the patience to follow a movie/show before there are trailers... but it just feels like we've basically had radio silence from Netflix for the past couple of years. There was also that article on NarniaWeb last year or so (which I can't seem to find anymore) which indicated that Douglas Gresham hadn't heard much more than we had, which... does not seem like a good sign.

The silence could be partly to do with the global pandemic, I was just thinking — I was reading an article somewhere recently about the massive negative effect it's been having on the filming industry everywhere. Production of so many shows has been cancelled or delayed, or been subject to major restrictions when filming does go ahead. That said, I think Netflix bought the rights to Narnia at least a year before the pandemic started and we didn't hear much at all during that time either, so who knows...

I'm still just keeping an open mind and waiting to see what happens. And if nothing happens and Netflix Narnia quietly gets scrapped, I figure we'll be no worse off than we are now... Wink  

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : March 16, 2021 1:51 am
KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut

@courtenay

I agree with what you said on Production being delayed all around the world because of the Pandemic. We can't give up that Netflix will not make a Narnia movie/series because the pandemic is still going on and it is hard to make a movie now. Maybe when the pandemic dies down a bit, we can hope for what Netflix brings for Narnia. Though to tell the truth, I am excited for what Netflix will bring. It is nice to see different adaptations on the films and what Narnia is for everyone. 

"But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." - (King Edmund the Just, Horse and his Boy)

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Posted : March 16, 2021 6:37 am
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

In 3 days time (June 12) it will be exactly 2 Years since Matthew Aldrich was announced as creative director. I know there has been a global Pandemic in between, but the fact that there has been no substantive progress on the Narnia Project since then is perhaps somewhat alarming.

Overall, it's been 2 Years and 8 Months since the project was announced (October 3rd 2018) and hiring Matthew Aldrich remains the only significant bit of development.

To put that in perspective: within the same time period, Netflix's adaption of "Shadow & Bone" was announced, filmed, released, and renewed for a second season.

At some point we may have to just acknowledge that Narnia has been confined to "Development Hell" where so many creative projects that get announced remain mired and never see the light of day.

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Posted : June 9, 2021 10:58 am
Col Klink liked
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a stalemate between the C. S. Lewis Estate and Netflix at the moment. The zeitgeist is expansive cinematic universes and, with the language Netflix executives have been using about Narnia, it sounds like they want to turn Narnia into one of those. The problem is, Narnia is not an expansive universe - it is a series of seven 200 page novels - and the only way to turn it into one is to go way "off book" and introduce a lot of new mythology, or at least greatly expand on what is already there. I find it hard to believe that Gresham would be enthused about the idea.

This post was modified 4 months ago by Reepicheep775

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Posted : June 10, 2021 4:58 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
Posted by: @reepicheep775

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a stalemate between the C. S. Lewis Estate and Netflix at the moment.

This is also what I'm thinking. At this point, I don't think that Narnia is greenlit at Netflix. If y'all don't mind, I'm just going to recap from the beginning of the year to sort out my thoughts... #newspostertherapy

In January, we had a couple of news stories that sounded promising: one where Mark Gordon said that his next project was Narnia and that they were "very excited" about it, and another where Scott Stuber, Head of Original Films at Netflix, mentioned Narnia with other upcoming big-budget action films in an interview.

In February, though, I started getting concerned when Hasbro (which owns eOne, the studio involved with Netflix's Narnia adaptations) didn't mention Narnia during its Virtual Investor Event. The event included a fairly long list of eOne's franchises/projects for 2021-2023, but there was nothing about Narnia. At minimum, it seemed to suggest that Narnia wasn't far enough along in development to warrant being included. Further, Hasbro has mentioned Narnia before: in a transcript from an investor update at the New York Toy Fair in February of 2020, Brian Goldner (Hasbro's Chairman and CEO) said they were "in development on a film and television universe based on the well-known family brand Narnia" at Netflix. So you'd think that in 2021, they would still be talking about it, but as far as I can tell there's been nothing this year.

In March, we did get a reiteration from Netflix France (@NetflixFR) on Twitter that Narnia series and films were still in development. However, I've never felt like Narnia France had much inside information and is likely going on Netflix's current list of upcoming projects, so I don't pay much attention to these tweets. The only thing they communicate, imo, is that Narnia hasn't been officially removed from their slate of upcoming projects.

In April, the thing that really threw me was when Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked), an official Netflix Twitter account, tweeted a graphic and list thread of current + upcoming Netflix projects and Narnia was nowhere to be found.

https://twitter.com/NetflixGeeked/status/1384174977268674560

Redwall is there, but not Narnia? Something isn't right.

And now, in June, we're at the conclusion of Netflix Geeked's virtual ComicCon-style event "Geeked Week" where, to my knowledge, nothing was said about Narnia. Given the lead-up to the event, I'm not surprised. One thing that's interesting is it doesn't appear that they said anything about Redwall, either, which makes me think that the graphic that was tweeted in April wasn't a program of what to expect from Geeked Week, but rather indicative of their current franchises and their greenlit projects.

So, based on what high-level executives were saying about Narnia at the beginning of 2021 compared with the (imo) suspicious silence the past several months, it seems the most likely story is that Netflix is currently having creative differences with the C.S. Lewis Estate. We know that Douglas Gresham had no problem walking away when Hollywood execs wanted to turn The Silver Chair into a girl power action movie, so something similar may be going on now.

Thus, I'm doubting that Narnia is greenlit. It does appear that Netflix wanted, and very likely still wants, to make Narnia films. However, it seems to me that Netflix doesn't know if they will be able to reach an agreement with the Estate, which is why Netflix, Hasbro, et al have nothing to say about it at this point in time.

What's happening right now could be very necessary growing pains for Netflix's Narnia adaptations. Netflix may be discovering they don't have the right creative team assembled and is working to fix that. Time will tell. Personally, given how enduring and internationally popular Narnia is, I expect that Netflix will try to make it work with the Estate if they are indeed having creative differences.

Btw, Netflix, if you'd like to make me look like Chicken Little and drop some major news tomorrow, that would be fine. Tongue

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : June 11, 2021 9:05 pm
Courtenay, Impending Doom, icarus and 1 people liked
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @rose
Posted by: @reepicheep775

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a stalemate between the C. S. Lewis Estate and Netflix at the moment.

This is also what I'm thinking. At this point, I don't think that Narnia is greenlit at Netflix.

.... based on what high-level executives were saying about Narnia at the beginning of 2021 compared with the (imo) suspicious silence the past several months, it seems the most likely story is that Netflix is currently having creative differences with the C.S. Lewis Estate.

 

On that note, another story which caught my eye this week was the sudden cancellation of Jupiter's Legacy at Netflix, barely a few weeks after it premiered. Although the critical reviews for the show were not "great" it was still a decent enough series, based on a critically acclaimed comic book property, at a time when Superhero content is highly in demand from audiences - therefore the decision to axe it so swiftly felt somewhat premature to me. It also seemed very revealing of just how ruthless Netflix can be if a show isn't perfectly hitting the mark when it comes to audience numbers - a powerful warning sign that Narnia may be lucky to get past 1 season if it doesn't hit the ground running.

Anyway, in the last few days more information has come out about the decision to axe the show, and whilst i know i've said before that Netflix have tended not to get too involved in the creative direction of their shows (preferring instead to give content creators a fairly liberal remit to do what they want) the one thing they do seem to be quite strict on is budgets, and in the end that is what it looks like killed Jupiter's Legacy.

‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Cancelled: Why Season 2 Was Killed at Netflix – The Hollywood Reporter

I actually remember thinking that Jupiter's Legacy looked fairly modestly budgeted from a visual perspective - if anything, it looked surprisingly "cheap" in comparison to other superhero shows such as Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus, or The Boys on Amazon Prime. There certainly weren't any massive signs of over-indulgence that usually send a show's budget spiralling upwards.

And that's what then brings me back to Narnia - you only have to think about Narnia for 10 seconds to reveal a list of all the things that add massively to a show's budgets:

  • Predominantly outdoor locations.
  • Limited number of reoccurring set locations.
  • A large number of fully CGI characters.
  • The requirement to film with children.
  • The requirement to film with animals.
  • Period costumes and non-standard fantasy costumes
  • etc. etc.

All of these sorts of things, in various different ways, can all serve to push a show's budget through the roof. I can very easily see that these could make for some difficult conversations when it comes to getting a green light. Essentially, the more money it costs, the greater assurances the studio would need that the show is not only going to rake in high viewer numbers, but also that it would be raking in the most lucrative demographics as well - which has traditionally been 18 - 30 year old males; the sorts of people with lots of disposable income willing to spend money on additional content and merchandise. High budgets and Family Friendly content often don't go hand in hand for these exact reasons.

Obviously its all just supposal at this point, but if we get to the 3 Year mark with no further news (October 3rd), i think i will probably resign myself to the project being moribund for now.

 

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Posted : June 12, 2021 1:32 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
Posted by: @icarus

All of these sorts of things, in various different ways, can all serve to push a show's budget through the roof.

This is actually something that came to my mind when pondering what any theoretical creative differences with the Estate might be. One of the easiest ways for Netflix to manage the costs of a Narnia series is to adapt some or all of the books with animation. Considering that there are already spin-off anime films in the works for series like The Witcher and LotR, it's not a huge jump to imagine Netflix taking a similar approach with Narnia. However, Douglas Gresham has been pretty adamant in the past about not approving of an animated Narnia, particularly an animated Aslan, saying that he only considered making Narnia films after seeing Star Wars and realizing that a believable CG lion was within reach.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : June 12, 2021 3:05 pm
Courtenay liked
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @rose

However, Douglas Gresham has been pretty adamant in the past about not approving of an animated Narnia, particularly an animated Aslan, saying that he only considered making Narnia films after seeing Star Wars and realizing that a believable CG lion was within reach.

Now that's interesting... I assume he wasn't consulted about the 1979 animated film of LWW, then? Wink (Which is sweet, and very faithful to the book overall, but it doesn't exactly have the "you are there, this is real" feel that a well-done live-action version can give the audience, especially with good CGI.)

Anyway, I've just been thinking — at the risk of sounding like Puddleglum ("a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it"), I reckon I'd honestly rather have Netflix not do Narnia at all than do it badly. And since, for all the reasons people have speculated on in this discussion, it's looking more likely that they won't do it at all than that they'll do a really really incredibly good job of it that actually does the books justice... Grin  

I mean, I think I've said this before, but for me, that's what it comes down to — the only things that are actually Narnia are the seven books themselves, as written by C.S. Lewis. Anything else — films, TV/internet series, stage plays, audio plays, rewrites for younger kids, or what-have-you — is just an adaptation or a spin-off, which some of us fans may like and some may not. But it doesn't change Narnia for me. If none of the screen or stage versions "do it" for me, I'll just pick up the books from my shelf and dive straight back in. Hug

(But I must give a shout-out to the Focus on the Family radio plays, which as far as I've heard them — I still haven't listened to the entire set yet!! — are the closest to a perfect Narnia adaptation that we have. It probably helps that they didn't have to worry about any visuals at all... Giggle )

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : June 13, 2021 6:14 am
Cleander liked
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @courtenay

I reckon I'd honestly rather have Netflix not do Narnia at all than do it badly.

Whether I agree or not, depends on just how bad we're talking. If it's just normally bad, I'd kind of want it to exist so I can enjoy discussing it on Narniaweb. If the adaptation is tear-your-eyes-out bad, on the other hand, I'd prefer it not exist.

If it has a lot of messages I consider bad, like Fantasia talked about in the OP, I'd also probably rather it not exist, but maybe that's selfish of me since other people would disagree with me about those messages and enjoy it. 

This post was modified 4 months ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
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Posted : June 13, 2021 8:16 am
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