Netflix plans to develop new series and film projects based on The Chronicles of Narnia, the beloved fantasy novels written by C.S. Lewis.
The multi-year agreement, announced this morning by The C.S. Lewis Company, calls for the projects to be executive produced by Mark Gordon of Entertainment One, who become the new steward of the franchise in 2016. The deal represents the first time the rights to all seven novels in the series have been held by the same company.
“It is wonderful to know that folks from all over are looking forward to seeing more of Narnia, and that the advances in production and distribution technology have made it possible for us to make Narnian adventures come to life all over the world,” Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson, said in a statement. “Netflix seems to be the very best medium with which to achieve this aim, and I am looking forward to working with them towards this goal.”
Debuting in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Chronicles of Narnia series spans seven children's novels, focusing primarily on children of the real world, who are transported to the magical realm of Narnia populated by talking animals and mythical beasts, and overseen by the Christ-like lion Aslan. The books' unlikely mishmash of Greek and Roman mythology, traditional fairy tales and Christian themes are both a reason for their appeal and a focus of criticisms.
The Chronicles of Narnia novels have been adapted multiple times over the years, for radio, television, stage and film, most recently with the three films produced by Walden Media: 2005's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2008's Prince Caspian and 2010's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The company lost the film rights in 2011, after which they were acquired by Gordon, who initially planned a big-screen adaptation of The Silver Chair.