Up next in the series is The Silver Chair. It’s a fun story (probably one of the best in series), that entails a search for Caspian’s son, who went on a quest to avenge his mother 10 years previously but never came back. So once again, the story is jumping ahead in some significant time. The difference this time however, is none of the Pevensie kids are in this book. Instead Eustace (who makes his first appearance in Dawn Treader) takes up the lead role to save everyone.
The hard part is getting an audience, who’ve dutifully followed the Pevensie’s for three films (only 2 are in Dawn Treader) and instead get behind a fairly new character, that wasn’t very likable to begin with. It seems a hard way to follow up, but that’s really their only upcoming option. In the books, the story is more about the world of Narnia and the characters in there, it’s not all about the children. The transition between the lead characters is fairly smooth, but the movies haven’t focused on those things as much. So it’s going to be much harder to leave those characters behind.
After Silver Chair, it gets even harder. The Horse and His Boy is really a story that doesn’t mesh with the others. Sure it takes place in Narnia (around the time of the Pevensie’s reign as Kings and Queens) but it’s a much smaller story. It’s really an escape story, and it’s was first mentioned in Silver Chair as a tale the Narnians tell. The story then, is basically a giant explanation from a previous reference that does very little to move the overall story along. It once again removes all of the main characters who have been established and takes place earlier in the timeline. I could see many people getting confused by this sudden shift.
Then, The Magician’s Nephew. This is actually a prequel to the entire series. It tells the story of the first encounter with Narnia from the people of our world, and how the magical Wardrobe came to be. Once again, it’s more of a setup for everything, and at this point, won’t do much to further the story.
So what the hell are the filmmakers supposed to do with these 2 stories? It’s not an easy choice, but if the filmmakers want to keep following with the books, they’re going to run into several issues. As much as I love all of the books, from a filming standpoint, I think they’d do best to skip those two stories over for movies. Let’s do The Silver Chair and then jump right into The Last Battle.
Chronologically it would make a lot more sense, and I think it would financially too. Despite some impressive box office numbers, the Narnia series hasn’t ever been considered a ‘success’ for some reason. So the idea of making all seven books into movies probably isn’t something the studios are wanting to commit to. However, by excluding two of the books, they could wrap up the entire series cinematically in two films.
There will be plenty of fan outcry. The C.S. Lewis purists will cry fowl at breaking up the series, but if the studios want to finish this story, it’s about the only solution. Now, that’s not to say that those stories could never be revisited. Maybe once the series is all done and over with, and the franchise has gained more popularity (hopefully) there will be a demand for those stories, and could be fun individual movies that expand on the other movies. They don’t have a direct influence on the last book, so it wouldn’t be so hard to remove them, yet they are so ingrained in the lore of the books that bringing them back later wouldn’t feel forced either.
Personally I hope this is the plan they use. As desperately as I want to see all 7 books adapted for film, I want to see the story told to the finish line even more. The Horse and His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew unfortunately would bring the franchise to a halt. There wouldn’t be enough in there continuity-wise with the first films to keep fans and movie-goers coming back. So in the effort to tell the story, studios need to let them go.