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If you could only choose one, which of these Lost Narnia Adaptations would you most like to see... Poll was created on Jun 08, 2024

  
  
  
  
  
Poll results: If you could only choose one, which of these Lost Narnia Adaptations would you most like to see...
Voter(s): 9
Poll was created on Jun 08, 2024
The three remaining BBC adaptations  -  votes: 4 / 44.4%
4
44.4%
The mid-1990's "Modern Day" version of LWW  -  votes: 0 / 0%
0
0%
The "Leaked Script" version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  -  votes: 1 / 11.1%
1
11.1%
The Joe Johnston / David Magee version of The Silver Chair  -  votes: 4 / 44.4%
4
44.4%
The Matthew Aldrich Netflix adaptations  -  votes: 0 / 0%
0
0%

The Lost Narnia Adaptations

icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru

Since its been another slow news week / month / year, here is a hypothetical question I've been pondering to pass the time...

If you could choose one "lost" Narnia adaptation from history to see right now, which one would it be?

It doesn't necessarily need to be "which one do you wish had actually been released at the time it was supposed to?", but rather can be "which one would you be most intrigued to see right now, as a historical artefact"

The options are as follows:

 

1. The 3 Remaining BBC Adaptations - If the BBC had had the budget to continue, and if they continued at the same pace of one adaptation a year, we would have ended up with three additional 6-part TV series for 'The Horse and His Boy' (1991), 'The Magician's Nephew' (1992), and 'The Last Battle' (1993). Therefore you get to see three adaptations with this option, however you have to imagine that they would all have been adapted in the same visual style and format as the previous BBC series, and with approximately the same production budget and level of visual quality, so definitely factor that into your choice.... if you can specify exactly which one of the three you would most of liked to see in the comments, that would be really interesting.

2. The mid-1990's "Modern Day" LWW Adaptation - This vote is to see the mid-1990's version of 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' which was being developed by Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. This was the version that was planned to be set in the then modern day of Los Angeles. You can read all of the specific details about this adaptation here. For the sake of the poll choice here, you have to imagine this would have been a big-screen adaptation that was roughly in line with the visual and tonal quality of other big mid-1990s blockbusters such as 'Hook' (1991), 'Jurassic Park' (1993), 'Jumanji' (1995) and 'Independence Day' (1997). Also, this vote is just for the one film.

3. The "Leaked Script" version of VDT - This vote is to see the a filmed version of the original script for Michael Apted's 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' (2010) which contained all of the additional plot elements relating to the Lady of the Green Kirtle. You can find alot of the details for that version here,  You can also still see lots of elements of this version of the movie in various pieces of concept art, as well as certain vestiges of abandoned plot-arcs in the final movie itself. As a potential sweetener for this option, I will allow you to imagine that potentially this film could have been the version of VDT adapted by Andrew Adamson in some alternate timeline... however it still has to be consistent with the original script by Markus & McFeely - soul eating cave and all.

4. The Joe Johnston / David Magee Silver Chair Movie (2017) - This vote is to see the adaptation of The Silver Chair that was planned to be directed by Joe Johnston and based of a script written by David Magee. You can find details of this version here. Although we don't know a lot about this version, it would have been the fourth entry in Walden Media's Narnia franchise, so you have to imagine something of the same quality as the first 3 Walden films, as well as something that is tonally consistent with Joe Johnston's other directorial work, so things like 'The Rocketeer' (1991), 'Jumanji' (1995) and 'Captain America' (2011)

5. The Matthew Aldrich Netflix Adaptations (2019 - 2022 ish)  - This vote is to see whatever Matthew Aldrich had planned for Netflix. Based on this blog post he wrote in 2023, it perhaps seems that he started to write a feature film, only to be told to then break it up into an 8 part TV series. Therefore for this option you have to imagine 8 episodes per book, over 7 seasons. I'll let you imagine all 7 books for this option, however, quality wise it has to be consistent with Matthew Aldrich's other work, and visually it has to be roughly in line with similar made-for-streaming Fantasy Adaptations of the time in terms of budget, so imagine something like 'The Witcher' (2019+) at Netflix, or 'The Wheel of Time' (2021+) at Amazon... i.e. don't get too carried away in terms of quality, but imagine something that is perfectly serviceable....  also, don't vote for this option simply because all 7 books are on the table - ideally I'd be more interested to see people make a strong preference as to why they specifically want to see Matthew Aldrich's vision and/or want to see Narnia adapted in an early 2020s streaming-series format.

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Topic starter Posted : June 8, 2024 5:22 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Cool topic! I voted for David Magee and Joe Johnston's Silver Chair movie. I'm not thinking it would be great or anything since neither Magee nor Johnston have made a lot of movies that I've loved. But they don't seem terrible or anything and it sounds like David Magee was enough of a fan of the source material that the movie would have been OK in my estimation sheerly by hewing close to it. And I'd just really like to see a theatrically released movie adaptation of The Silver Chair! It feels like one of the Narnia books that would lend itself the most to a popcorn movie. 

Can I quibble with a bunch of things from the OP? Giggle  

I'm not convinced BBC adaptations of the three remaining Narnia books were ever "lost." The fact that they moved Aslan's speech about having another name in our world from the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to the end of The Silver Chair really makes me think they always intended that to be the big finale. Can anyone produce an interview with the writer saying that they wished to adapt all seven books, but the network wouldn't let them or something like that? 

Would the Joe Johnston/David Magee Silver Chair really count as part of the Walden Media series? I thought we got an interview with Joe Johnston saying he wanted a complete break with the previous continuity. I do remember a producer at Mark Gordon also said they didn't want to do anything that would contradict The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) since it was so popular though I'm not sure how it could have contradicted it anyway since, except for the character of Aslan, there is pretty much no crossover between the stories of LWW and SC. Giggle I think it would have made more sense to interpret the hypothetical movie as a one-off. I'm also not convinced it would have had the exact same quality as the Walden Media since it would have had a new creative team behind it. 

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 : June 8, 2024 9:09 am
coracle and icarus liked
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @col-klink

Cool topic!

Thanks!

 

Can I quibble with a bunch of things from the OP? Giggle  

Not a problem! 🙂 

 

I'm not convinced BBC adaptations of the three remaining Narnia books were ever "lost." The fact that they moved Aslan's speech about having another name in our world from the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to the end of The Silver Chair really makes me think they always intended that to be the big finale. 

True enough. However for the purposes of this intellectual exercise I feel there is enough of an defined artistic vision for what the BBC Narnia series looked like, that it feels like enough of a credible "what if" moment for us all to collectively imagine what would have resulted had they finished the series... I didn't want to go too far down the route of hypothetical adaptations, such that the debate wouldn't be anchored in at least some known artistic vision for each project, so the "missing" BBC volumes felt like credible contenders.

 

Would the Joe Johnston/David Magee Silver Chair really count as part of the Walden Media series?

Again, you are probably correct in that sense, and that it was aimed to be a "reboot" of sorts, however again just for the purposes of the intellectual exercise, and in order to anchor all of the options in a specific artistic vision (i.e. not just our own personal dream adaptations) I think it's a fair assumption to imagine that his Silver Chair adaptation wouldn't have been a million miles away from the Walden Series (especially since it's picking up where they left of) in terms of things like budget, format, scope and probably production design.

Ultimately again it's just so everyone is working from the same basic "jumping off" point in terms of imagining what might have been... Happy for people to expand on any of the ideas and concepts though.

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 8, 2024 9:24 am
Col Klink liked
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

I've voted officially for the last three BBC adaptations, mainly for sentimental reasons — I was in early primary school (and had recently finished reading all the Chronicles for the first time!) when they were originally released on TV, and as I'm always quick to point out to younger viewers these days, believe me, the production quality and "special" (???) effects were hilariously hokey even back then. But I just loved those shows anyway, because they were the best screen adaptations we had at the time (and the only screen adaptations we had of any of the Chronicles other than LWW), AND — most important to me — they were almost 100% faithful to the books. Other than some scenes being left out or shortened, understandably, there were no significant changes to or deviations from the plots of the books, and nearly all the dialogue was lifted straight from them as well. For all their faults and technical limitations and budgetary constraints, the BBC team were clearly determined to adapt the stories that C.S. Lewis wrote, not what some hotshot modern director reckoned C.S. Lewis should have written.

I remember someone did find evidence fairly recently that the BBC confirmed, after the production of SC, that that one would be the last and they weren't intending to do the other three. That's understandable, given that HHB with its Talking Horses, MN with the creation scene, and LB with the huge battle and then the wonders of Aslan's country, would have been a huge challenge to do justice to in a live-action production with the technology of the early 1990s, even for a top studio with a massive budget, let alone the dear old Beeb. So yes, I do shudder a bit to think what they would have done with those scenes and those aspects, and how laughable they might have ended up. But I've always felt those BBC productions definitely had their heart in the right place, and I would love to be able to see what they might have made of the last three Chronicles, if only they'd given them a go.

Now I said I "officially" voted for those, because I'm aware of one more "lost" adaptation that hasn't been included here, and while I can't quite decide, I might possibly like to see it done even more than the BBC ones. It's the proposed animated version of The Magician's Nephew that was put forward in the early 1980s but got no further than some basic yet very intriguing storyboards... you can read the NarniaWeb article about it here — and more info on The Lion's Call website, including images and a video of the artwork!

That would just about equally get my vote for the "lost" adaptation I'd like to see, especially because MN is close to being my absolute favourite of the Chronicles, and it's never been made into a screen version at all so far. Especially given that with the technology of the 1980s, even hand-drawn animation could have done more to capture Lewis's remarkable vision of the creation of Narnia than any live-action production could have at that time... I'd just love to see how that one might have turned out. Smile  

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

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Posted : June 8, 2024 3:56 pm
icarus liked
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Guru

If the three remaining books had been adapted by the BBC they probably would have shown here in America as three long movies instead of three miniseries. I chose the BBC version as my favorite of all of the unfinished Narnia productions.  I would have liked to have seen them made as longer movies with complete stories even with the small budget that was available. Dividing the programs into short episodes does seem to interrupt the continuity. Releasing the shows on DVD solved that problem since you can watch the entire movie in one sitting.  But of course viewers had to wait more than ten years for the first four stories on DVD, although the VHS was released only a few years later.  Today it might not have taken so long.

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Posted : June 8, 2024 9:02 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @courtenay
 
Now I said I "officially" voted for those, because I'm aware of one more "lost" adaptation that hasn't been included here, and while I can't quite decide, I might possibly like to see it done even more than the BBC ones. It's the proposed animated version of The Magician's Nephew that was put forward in the early 1980s but got no further than some basic yet very intriguing storyboards... you can read the NarniaWeb article about it here — and more info on The Lion's Call website, including images and a video of the artwork!

Ah, I knew id end up forgetting something. Always the way with polls. Oh well.

In terms of my own choices, my heart would love to say the last 3 BBC adaptations, however my head knows they probably wouldn't have been able to do them justice, so therefore these are probably best left in my imagination.

I am also dying to one day read the full original VDT script by Markus and McFeely, no matter how bizarre it sounds. However I think I can probably just about piece together in my mind what that would have looked like based on all the evidence we have available to us, so I won't waste my magic genie wish on that.

Oddly enough there is, in retrospect, very little about the idea of Matthew Aldrich and a Netflix TV series that really fires up the imagination - I'm sure it would have been fine, it just doesn't really excite me too much.

The Silver Chair adaptation also isn't an entirely heart-pumping proposition, however I do think Joe Johnston has a sold track record of doing high-quality family friendly blockbusters, therefore I have every confidence this would have been decent enough - the thing that ultimately might swing my choice in this direction was that I really really loved the overall production design (sets, props, costumes etc) of the Walden Series, therefore would have been keen to see something similar extend though to Silver Chair.

The one wildcard on the list however is the mid-90s adaptation, and to be honest it just sounds so wild and crazy that I think I would be genuinely intrigued to see it on a sort of schlock B-Movie type vibe. A "so bad it's good" sort of thing. 

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 9, 2024 5:34 am
Courtenay liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

This is a tough one. I would have liked to see a continuation with The Silver Chair, though I'm not sure how Joe Johnston would have turned out the project.

It would have been nice to see a continuation of the BBC, if they would have kept going. Though I reckon that, particularly The Last Battle, would've been too complex. It's a very complex book in comparison to the other six.

Not so sure about the modern "90's" LWW adaptation, where it had Edmund wanting cheeseburgers instead of Turkish Delight.

So, I'm not so sure what lost Narnia adaptation I would have liked to see.

 

"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

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Posted : June 10, 2024 8:25 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I'd like to write about what my second choice would have been if I could have had two votes. It would have been the mid 90s movie. (That or the Magician's Nephew adaptation Courtenay mentioned and that's mostly because it'd have been an adaptation of one of my favorite Narnia books.) Mind you, I don't think such an adaptation would have been good, especially since of the points of comparison Icarus mentioned, it sounds the most like Hook and I think Hook is a lame, boring movie. (Sorry if that's a controversial opinion.) But it sounds...interesting. From excerpts of the leaked script, I can imagine what it would be like, and it wouldn't be good. The 90s LWW would also likely have been bad, but I can only imagine a vague version of it. And who knows? Maybe it would have been good. Remember that it would only have been the parts in England that would have been modernized and Americanized. The Narnia parts could conceivably have been truer to the book. Those cheeseburgers though... Sick Giggle  

Posted by: @icarus

Oddly enough there is, in retrospect, very little about the idea of Matthew Aldrich and a Netflix TV series that really fires up the imagination - I'm sure it would have been fine, it just doesn't really excite me too much.

Yeah, it's funny how I've never felt like mourning the Matthew Aldrich show. Giggle   It's not that I was expecting it to be terrible or anything. But unlike David Magee or Greta Gerwig, we didn't get even the briefest of interviews with Aldrich. The whole project was and probably will always be such a mystery that I just don't care about it. (The fact that we heard about another Narnia adaptation at the same time we heard about it being cancelled probably helps.)

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 : June 11, 2024 7:37 am
Courtenay liked
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @col-klink

I'd like to write about what my second choice would have been if I could have had two votes. It would have been the mid 90s movie.... Mind you, I don't think such an adaptation would have been good,

To be fair, yes - the name of the game was "which one would you be intrigued to see"  not "which one do you think would have been good" - so I kind of have to agree here.

There's just something so potentially crazy and "out there" about it, that it just begs to be seen - Cheeseburgers and all. 

And yeah, maybe the rest of this adaptation could have been good if you ignored the handful of modern elements ... But I guess overall I'm probably imagining something quintessentially 1990s and over the top like "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" - complete with a big cheesy power ballard theme tune.

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Topic starter Posted : June 14, 2024 4:14 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

Back to the BBC adaptations for a moment, and the technological limitations they were up against, I've just thought of an intriguing "what if" scenario. As @icarus points out in the original post, if the BBC had continued the series from where they were up to at the same pace of one serial a year, we would expect to have had HHB in 1991, MN in 1992 and LB in 1993. As it was, they made clear enough at the time that SC (1990) was to be seen as the end of the series and was the last one they intended to do.

But I was just thinking... what if someone at the BBC had decided to revive and continue the series just a few years down the track? In 1995, the movie Babe came out with the then ground-breaking use of CGI over footage of real animals to animate their mouths digitally so it looks like they are realistically talking. If the BBC, that same year, had decided to revive the Narnia series and film HHB in 1995 — well, that immediately takes care of the biggest problem (at the time) for filming that story: having realistic Talking Horses. (It also, incidentally, would have finally fixed the long-standing issue with Aslan's animatronic face being unable to lip-sync!! Giggle )

What would further help with this series continuation is that the last three books (in publication order) don't follow on in immediate chronological order from the first four and mostly have different characters, so there's less of a concern about bringing back the same actors — although they would undoubtedly have brought back Barbara Kellerman as Jadis in MN. And CGI had also come along far enough by then that it could have been used to some extent in the creation scene for MN, which in this speculation would probably have been made in 1996. And then by the time they got to LB in 1997... that's 9 years after the filming of LWW (1988), and in a perfect coincidence, in Lewis's Narnia timeline, LB is set 9 years (in our world's time) after LWW. Which means all the child actors who played Jill, Eustace, Peter, Edmund and Lucy (and Susan, if they decided to do a cameo with her), in the earlier BBC adaptations, would have aged exactly the right amount, canonically, to come back for that final instalment!

Honestly... does anyone know where I can grab a TARDIS and go back to 1995 to have a persuasive chat with some BBC executives??? Grin  

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

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Posted : June 14, 2024 5:15 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Guru

@courtenay 

I wonder if the BBC would have used the same puppet for Aslan if they had decided to continue making the Narnia series. I thought the puppet was kind of nice except for the artificial movements of the mouth. It may have been possible to add CGI movements a few years after The Silver Chair was made, but the creators of the series may not have had the money in their small budget.  And usually when a series ends without being complete it is very hard even a few years later to get the same people to work on it again. If all seven books were completed it most likely would have to be done with different artists and technicians and a whole new staff. It may have been best that the BBC chose to end the production when they did. It may have been impossible for the people involved to continue and produce a good adaptation of the books. The BBC Narnia is the series that I would most like to have continued, but I don’t think that it could have been filmed at that time or even a few years later with the resources that were available.

 

 

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Posted : June 16, 2024 4:18 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

@narnian78 Yeah, I realise all that — and I doubt the Beeb's budget would ever have stretched far enough to do anything like justice to those last three stories, even if they had waited till better technology was available. But it's fun to pretend sometimes... Wink  

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

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Posted : June 16, 2024 5:01 am
Narnian78 liked
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru

You can get some sense of what the BBC might have been able to achieve with the remaining books (budget wise at least) by looking at the other Children's fantasy adventure series they produced in the subsequent years...

  • The year after Silver Chair, they did an adaptation of E Nesbit's "Five Children and It" in 1991 which was directed by Marilyn Fox (the same director as the BBC's LWW).
  • In 1993 they did the sequel "Return of the Psammead", also based on the E. Nesbit book, and also directed by Marilyn Fox.
  • In 1994 they did "Earthfasts", based on a book by William Mayne, and again directed by Marilyn Fox.
  • In 1995 they did an adaptation of "Elidor", based on the book by Alan Garner.

After that, in 1997, they did "Aquila", based on a book by Andrew Norris, though that's starting to feel like a slightly different era of Children's BBC productions to me. There could have been other children's fantasy adaptations in this era, but those are the ones that stick in my mind from childhood at least.

This post was modified 2 days ago by icarus
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Topic starter Posted : June 16, 2024 8:48 am
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