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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): 51
Poll was created on Nov 14, 2020
My opinion hasn't changed.  -  votes: 19 / 37.3%
19
37.3%
I'm feeling more optimistic.  -  votes: 7 / 13.7%
7
13.7%
I'm feeling less optimistic.  -  votes: 25 / 49%
25
49%

How's everyone feeling about Netflix?

Page 6 / 8
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

So it certainly could be the case that Narnia is the exception that proves the rule - that Narnia is exactly the sort of high prestige, big name franchise that Netflix needs to steady the ship, and the reason they are cancelling shows left-right-and-centre right now is precisely to make more room in the budget for something like Narnia....

Except that nothing I've read so far gives me any confidence in that being true. Take this article by the Hollywood Reporter for example (note, does contain strong language):

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/digital/netflixs-big-wake-up-call-the-power-clash-behind-the-crash-1235136004/

It paints a picture of behind-the-scenes chaos at the executive level - an environment where short term decision making is king, and "growth at all costs" is the aim. Nothing about this sounds like a sensible environment in which the careful planning and curation of a vast multi-series committment to a prestige project like Narnia is going to thrive.

In fact, perhaps most worryingly, is that in all the articles I've read about Netflix's current crisis, that literally none of them have mentioned Narnia at all. Granted no-one is saying they've abandoned the project just yet, but equally no-one has cited it as something on the horizon to turn things around. Given how many articles have quotes from insiders, and how well sourced they are, the fact that no-one at Netflix is talking about Narnia suggests to me it's a non-entity for the company.

Again, all just my own speculation, but it all looks a bit worrying....

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2022/04/netflix-subscription-competition-password-sharing/629682/

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 3, 2022 3:44 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @icarus

In fact, perhaps most worryingly, is that in all the articles I've read about Netflix's current crisis, that literally none of them have mentioned Narnia at all. Granted no-one is saying they've abandoned the project just yet, but equally no-one has cited it as something on the horizon to turn things around. Given how many articles have quotes from insiders, and how well sourced they are, the fact that no-one at Netflix is talking about Narnia suggests to me it's a non-entity for the company.

 

I can't help suspecting you're right, Icarus. The thing that has bugged me these past few years about Netflix is that since the big initial announcements that they'd bought the rights to all seven books and appointed a creative director, we have heard next to nothing more. Very, very occasionally there's been a throwaway mention of Narnia in some statement or other from Netflix, but no actual details at any time. I guess we've all been hoping that they're just deliberately keeping tight-lipped about it all while preparing to make a sudden big splash when the time comes, but there's such a thing as TOO tight-lipped... they haven't even given away any teasers or made ANY clear, definite, open statements on what they're planning to do at all. It's got to the point where I honestly suspect it's gone the way of Walden's plans for The Silver Chair — that for whatever reasons, the project has been stalled for so long that it'll eventually be scrapped entirely (with a lot of relief on Netflix's part that they didn't say too much in the first place). All these reports of Netflix's financial woes just make it, to me, look even less likely that Narnia will ever go ahead.

I could be wrong — and I won't mind being proved wrong if I am! — but there it is... Sad  

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

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 8, 2022 12:50 pm
icarus liked
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Tomorrow, October 3rd 2022, will make it exactly four years since Netflix first announced their Narnia deal.

https://www.narnia.com/narnia-news/netflix-to-develop-series-and-films-based-on-cs-lewis-beloved-the-chronicles-of-narnia

Since then, as we have discussed, the only piece of substantive news has been the hiring of Matthew Aldrich in June 2019. There have been no other crew hires, no production companies formed, no casting calls issued, no locations scouted, no deals secured, no pre-production work of any kind undertaken. Industry trade papers such as Production Weekly tend to track active productions long into the future, and yet there is not a peep of news to be found anywhere on the internet. 

For reference, Amazon acquired the rights to the Lord of the Rings in November 2017 and released the first episode of "The Rings of Power" 4 years and 10 months later, whilst also being busy on shooting Season 2 already.

Similarly, Netflix themselves acquired the rights to Roald Dahl's back catalogue nearly 2 months after their Narnia announcement (they bought out the entire Roald Dahl Estate a couple of years after that as well), and yet they are not only set to host the World Premiere of their Live Action Matilda Musical Movie on Wednesday, but they have stars and directors attached to a bunch of other in-work productions.

In fact, since Netflix announced Narnia on October 3rd 2018, Netflix have managed to announce, produce, and release a whole bunch of similar fantasy adaptations on their platform, including The Witcher, Shadow & Bone, Sandman, Locke & Key, and Slumberland.  (I've linked the trailers for these last two because the Narnia similarities are exceptionally strong in my opinion)

Netflix have therefore had ample opportunity to do something with the Narnia property. Countless Comic-Cons have come and gone without any news, Netflix have hosted several of their own "Geeked Week" and "Tudum" fan-events with similarly nothing to report, and despite all of the interviews with top Netflix Executives, Netflix Creatives, and other Netflix insiders about their recent business woes, not a single one of them has mentioned Narnia as being something in the pipeline.

Therefore it would be unfair to say that this is just a slow moving production. I would go so far to say that the production is officially dead. That doesn't mean it wont come back to life at some point, but at present, this has to be considered a dead production.

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 2, 2022 3:59 am
rainyweather
(@rainyweather)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @icarus

Given that Narnia is both Kids / Family oriented and high-budget, coupled with the lack of any movement on the project for nearly 4 years, I would put good money on Narnia being headed for the chopping block.

Hopefully fortune will prove me wrong...

Honestly, I'd be more surprised if Netflix didn't bail on Narnia than if they did. Though I was initially quite excited about the prospect of Narnia being adapted once again, I now consider the past announcements and Netflix's purchasing of the rights to be false hope. It's been so long since any word on the adaptations that it's hard for me to see them happening any time soon (or even at all). Thus, I've lost any excitement and hope for seeing any adaptations of Narnia from Netflix. For the present, I am focusing instead on other upcoming book-to-screen adaptations of series I love, such as Angel Studios' Wingfeather Saga series and Disney's Percy Jackson and the Olympians, both of which have the authors closely involved in the ongoing production.

"We shall all, in the end,
be led to where we belong.
We shall all, in the end,
find our way home."

- The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 2, 2022 4:48 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I am in a slight skepticism of Netflix being able to do Narnia. Some other company might pick it up eventually. I don't know if it would be movies or series.

I'm not expecting "word for word" adaption, because you can't exactly do that on screen. If it's done right, it's a plus.

As @rainyweather just mentioned, Disney is doing a series on Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I've seen the movie, The Lightening Thief, and while it is a good movie, it's still not perfect. I think even Disney acquire the rights to the Chronicles of Prydain series, so I think it will be interesting how they will approach that, as a movie franchise or a series.

Now, back to Narnia, it will be interesting how this will all be approached. I think the one book that would probably take the most risk is The Last Battle. It deals with heavy themes like last days, manipulation, slavery (it's in The Horse and His Boy, too, though), abuse of power. Even though it's a children's book, it's almost over your head, compare to the six others.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 2, 2022 6:52 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Guru

@icarus, While the overall silence on the production could be interpreted as the onset of rigor mortis, I'm still holding out hope. Not solely because I'm an optimist, but also because, as of August last year, there was some assurance (albeit highly confidential) that the production was moving forward: https://www.narniaweb.com/2021/08/source-netflixs-narnia-still-in-development/.  

That doesn't mean we can't entertain suspicions that the production is dead - after all, it has been a year, and no details were given as to the exact progress. However, I wonder if the production is just at a really early stage which doesn't warrant any major press release yet. It's even possible Netflix is or was considering cancelling the project - but if that was the case, we would have at least heard that they'd dropped it by now. 

I also don't think that Narnia's family-friendly nature necessarily spells its doom. Netflix has in the past discussed an expansion into more G/PG content. And even if the market is crowded with productions of the opposite nature at the moment, that's just one more reason to put out something unique! (Also, just because it's family-friendly doesn't mean it has to be all garish or cheesy - it can still have a pull for all audiences). 

The project, at worst, may be dying. I wouldn't call it dead until Netflix pronounces it so.

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Cleander

PM me to join the Search for the Seven Swords!
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ReplyQuote
Posted : October 4, 2022 1:01 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @the-mad-poet

The project, at worst, may be dying. I wouldn't call it dead until Netflix pronounces it so.

 

At this stage I do kind of hope they just put everyone out of their misery and formally axe it, because whilst there may be no official confirmation of death, there is certainly no evidence of life either.

Yes the quote from last year does give me *some* hope, but overall it feels more like a "yeah, we might get around to doing something with that at some point" sort of quote rather than a "We are hard at work on this and making excellent progress and hopefully will have some exciting news to share with you real soon!" sort of quote.

From all the articles I've read about Netflix's evolving corporate strategy over the past few years, this would be my guess as to what happened to Narnia:

  • November 2017 - Amazon wins the bidding war for Lord of the Rings and Netflix figures it needs to get a foothold in that market as well, so goes on the hunt for alternatives.
  • October 2018 - Netflix announces its Narnia deal. At this stage I believe they fully intend to proceed full-steam ahead with Narnia in order to compete directly with Lord of the Rings as a near simultaneous release.
  • November 2018 - Netflix announces initial Roald Dahl deal. I believe this signifies that at this stage Netflix still has a strong commitment towards delivering high-quality family-oriented content.
  • June 2019 - Netflix announce Matthew Aldrich as "Creative Architect" of Narnia. At this stage, everything appears to be moving along with the sort of momentum you would expect from an active production, and would put it on a par with the development timescales associated with other Netflix shows being developed around this sort of time as mentioned above.
  • August 2019 - Netflix fire their head of Kids & Family Original Series. Although it was mentioned at the time that this was not expected to result in a downturn in Kids and Family programming, we have subsequently seen that when Netflix needs to make staff cuts for financial reasons, it always tends to come from the Kids & Family division or the Animation division.
  • November 2019 - Disney Plus launches, and the streaming market is suddenly starting to look like a very different place then it did just over a year ago when Netflix first announced its Narnia deal. By all accounts at this stage, Netflix has been gradually starting to shift its corporate strategy for a while in order to adjust to this new reality, particularly as all the major studios are starting to withdraw their own content off Netflix in order to put it on their own studio-backed streaming services.
  • March 2020 - the Pandemic halts work on almost everything.
  • September 2020 - Netflix fires Cindy Holland, the VP in charge of Original TV content. Numerous Netflix insiders have since cited this as the symbolic moment that Netflix definitively moved away from its old approach of producing high-quality (and expensive) Emmy-award winning shows, towards producing a greater volume of low-quality (and much cheaper) "meme-worthy", trashier content favoured by the algorithm. If Netflix had been slowly drifting away from expensive prestige productions for a while then, I believe that after this moment it would have been virtually impossible for a production like Narnia to get off the ground - a filmmaking project which is inherently costly in just about every regard, and yet unlikely to really deliver the massive subscriber growth they crave. 
  • April 2022 - Netflix announces a decline in subscriber numbers and loses almost $50 Billion from its share price.
  • April 2022 - Netflix lays off most of its Animation Division and cancels a whole bunch of family-oriented content including one of its Roald Dahl productions (The Twits). Its seems though that most of the other Roald Dahl projects have been able to survive up to this point as unlike Narnia they are the sorts of stories that can be produced relatively cheaply, even in live action.
  • September 2022 - Netflix lays off more people from its Animation division. Again I think this emphasises that at this stage, due to its precarious financial position, Netflix is having to ruthlessly prioritise certain types of content that drive subscriber growth the most (i.e. not content aimed at Children and Families)

 

I really do hope that by this time next year I'll be able to add a few extra steps onto this Timeline that explain how Narnia re-emerged like a Phoenix from the Flames to save the day, but I think its more than likely I will be adding on the steps that explain how Netflix's financial house-of-cards came crashing down on them.

Please prove me wrong world. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 4, 2022 3:51 pm
fantasia, rainyweather, Courtenay and 1 people liked
Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Nut

@icarus I admittedly haven't been following Netflix Narnia news for quite a while now, but it definitely looks bleak to see it quantified like that. 

This month makes it four years since the initial acquisition announcement. Four years. Comparing it to other streaming series on other platforms (and even other Netflix series) shows that this lack of progress in that amount of time is not normal.

Something is definitely wrong and it might be for the better. I really don't think Narnia is a series that should be developed by a streaming platform that's hemhorraging money left and right (and partially due to their own hubris at that) And it definitely deserves better than to be adapted because of some sort of "corporate strategy". 

I am at peace that whatever happens, we'll always have the books. 

 

This is the journey
This is the trial
For the hero inside us all
I can hear adventure call
Here we go

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Posted : October 4, 2022 6:25 pm
icarus, KingEdTheJust, Cleander and 1 people liked
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Guru

@icarus , At this point, I agree that an axe announcement might be more of a relief right now than continued silence.

Given the hits to Netflix's Kid's Media and Animation departments, I wonder if the Narnia project (if, of course, it is still underway) would be less directed toward kids and involve less CGI... which for some folks would be the best case scenario!

PM me to join the Search for the Seven Swords!
Co-founder of the newly restored Edmund Club!
Check out my site: https://madpoetscave.weebly.com

signature by aileth

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 5, 2022 2:25 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Interestingly, there is an article in The Hollywood Reporter today which sheds some light on Netflix's involvement in the Lord of the Rings bidding war:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/the-rings-of-power-showrunners-interview-season-2-1235233124/

Netflix pitched doing several shows, such as a Gandalf series and an Aragorn drama. “They took the Marvel approach,” said one insider to the talks, “and that completely freaked out the estate.”

.

Sources say the staggering number that’s been widely reported ($250 million) was actually Netflix’s bid and that Amazon’s number was tens of millions less (albeit, still staggering)

 

As well as confirming what I said in my previous post (that Netflix's interest in Narnia was purely as a result of missing out on LOTR) the fact that they actually outbid Amazon also really emphasises what a different company Netflix was at the time - a company that was in rapid growth, had money to burn, and had ambition to produce the most expensive, highest quality content on the market.

That sadly is not the Netflix of today, and that is the predicament that the Narnia project finds itself in - it was acquired under the old "Free Spending" regime and now finds itself stuck under the new "Financially Frugal" regime.

 

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Posted : October 5, 2022 3:30 pm
Skilletdude
(@skilletdude)
Member Moderator Emeritus

I can't imagine I'm alone when I say that I've felt a "regime change" in the entertainment world in the last 3-5 years. In the past, most mainstream films were made for the general public. They usually didn't delve too far into social or political issues for fear of losing their audience and their profits.

But now we seem to live in a time where studios aren't just using their smaller scale productions or independent films for edgier content, they are now ready and willing to risk their box office numbers and their reputations on what I would consider to be very divisive and controversial material in many of today's biggest films/tv shows. It's a stronger push and a very different "storytelling" focus, one that turns me off completely. Movies used to bring people together, now so many of them are being used to divide us.

A respectable Netflix 'Narnia' adaptation is unlikely in a climate like this anyway. I'm also hoping to see it canceled.

Mary Jane: You know, you're taller than you look.
Peter: I hunch.
Mary Jane: Don't.

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 6, 2022 2:01 am
Son of Eve
(@son-of-eve)
NarniaWeb Newbie
Posted by: @skilletdude

A respectable Netflix 'Narnia' adaptation is unlikely in a climate like this anyway. I'm also hoping to see it canceled.

Well, personally, I'd like to see what would be Netflix's approach, what they could do with Narnia. I'm still holding out hope. Better any adaptation than no adaptation. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 6, 2022 2:54 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @son-of-eve

Better any adaptation than no adaptation

Can you explain why?

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : October 6, 2022 7:25 am
Son of Eve
(@son-of-eve)
NarniaWeb Newbie

@col-klink 

Because it just might turn out to be a great adaptation, and if it's bad, I have no problem putting it out of my mind. If they never do anything with it, it's just a bit of a shame. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : October 6, 2022 9:21 am
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @icarus
Posted by: @the-mad-poet

The project, at worst, may be dying. I wouldn't call it dead until Netflix pronounces it so.

 

At this stage I do kind of hope they just put everyone out of their misery and formally axe it, because whilst there may be no official confirmation of death, there is certainly no evidence of life either.

Yes the quote from last year does give me *some* hope, but overall it feels more like a "yeah, we might get around to doing something with that at some point" sort of quote rather than a "We are hard at work on this and making excellent progress and hopefully will have some exciting news to share with you real soon!" sort of quote.

From all the articles I've read about Netflix's evolving corporate strategy over the past few years, this would be my guess as to what happened to Narnia:

  • November 2017 - Amazon wins the bidding war for Lord of the Rings and Netflix figures it needs to get a foothold in that market as well, so goes on the hunt for alternatives.
  • October 2018 - Netflix announces its Narnia deal. At this stage I believe they fully intend to proceed full-steam ahead with Narnia in order to compete directly with Lord of the Rings as a near simultaneous release.
  • November 2018 - Netflix announces initial Roald Dahl deal. I believe this signifies that at this stage Netflix still has a strong commitment towards delivering high-quality family-oriented content.
  • June 2019 - Netflix announce Matthew Aldrich as "Creative Architect" of Narnia. At this stage, everything appears to be moving along with the sort of momentum you would expect from an active production, and would put it on a par with the development timescales associated with other Netflix shows being developed around this sort of time as mentioned above.
  • August 2019 - Netflix fire their head of Kids & Family Original Series. Although it was mentioned at the time that this was not expected to result in a downturn in Kids and Family programming, we have subsequently seen that when Netflix needs to make staff cuts for financial reasons, it always tends to come from the Kids & Family division or the Animation division.
  • November 2019 - Disney Plus launches, and the streaming market is suddenly starting to look like a very different place then it did just over a year ago when Netflix first announced its Narnia deal. By all accounts at this stage, Netflix has been gradually starting to shift its corporate strategy for a while in order to adjust to this new reality, particularly as all the major studios are starting to withdraw their own content off Netflix in order to put it on their own studio-backed streaming services.
  • March 2020 - the Pandemic halts work on almost everything.
  • September 2020 - Netflix fires Cindy Holland, the VP in charge of Original TV content. Numerous Netflix insiders have since cited this as the symbolic moment that Netflix definitively moved away from its old approach of producing high-quality (and expensive) Emmy-award winning shows, towards producing a greater volume of low-quality (and much cheaper) "meme-worthy", trashier content favoured by the algorithm. If Netflix had been slowly drifting away from expensive prestige productions for a while then, I believe that after this moment it would have been virtually impossible for a production like Narnia to get off the ground - a filmmaking project which is inherently costly in just about every regard, and yet unlikely to really deliver the massive subscriber growth they crave. 
  • April 2022 - Netflix announces a decline in subscriber numbers and loses almost $50 Billion from its share price.
  • April 2022 - Netflix lays off most of its Animation Division and cancels a whole bunch of family-oriented content including one of its Roald Dahl productions (The Twits). Its seems though that most of the other Roald Dahl projects have been able to survive up to this point as unlike Narnia they are the sorts of stories that can be produced relatively cheaply, even in live action.
  • September 2022 - Netflix lays off more people from its Animation division. Again I think this emphasises that at this stage, due to its precarious financial position, Netflix is having to ruthlessly prioritise certain types of content that drive subscriber growth the most (i.e. not content aimed at Children and Families)

 

I really do hope that by this time next year I'll be able to add a few extra steps onto this Timeline that explain how Narnia re-emerged like a Phoenix from the Flames to save the day, but I think its more than likely I will be adding on the steps that explain how Netflix's financial house-of-cards came crashing down on them.

Please prove me wrong world. 

Thanks for taking the time to compile these news stories. It's been so long since there's been a steady stream of news that the current status of Narnia adaptations is vague in my mind: "Netflix has the rights. They might make adaptations someday." So seeing this all laid out is enlightening, if a little depressing. If we are to ever get good Narnia adaptations, the best thing might be a cancellation of the Narnia/Netflix project, so that someone else can purchase the rights.

Then again, I don't know how much I even want Narnia adaptations right now. There are a lot of recent projects based on things that I love that I'm surprisingly apathetic about. If I knew that the adaptations were coming from a place of passionate love for the books I'd feel differently, but I have a sinking feeling they will be adapted simply because they have name recognition and can be used to create "content" for a Narnia cinematic universe. Sorry to be a downer. I just feel like there is a big emphasis on quantity over quality right now.

This post was modified 4 months ago by Reepicheep775

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Posted : October 6, 2022 10:19 pm
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