CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia enjoys the same level of respect and honor as the legendary Lord of the Rings series of books by J R R Tolkien. Netflix has decided to make a live action series based on the popular fantasy series. But there are some things we don’t want Netflix to do while other things we want Netflix to go along with at any cost.
Want: Remains Faithful to the Prequel
Many would mistake that the Chronicles of Narnia begin with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But CS Lewis wrote another prequel story to tell the story of the world of Narnia before the Pevenise Children entered the wardrobe and set foot on Narnia. It was called The Magician’s Nephew. The story was supposed to explain the first tale of Narnia. Lewis was a devout Christian and he introduced The Magician’s Nephew as a way to show the world how a pure and pristine land was corrupted by the release of Sin. The story is different than the ones told in the official Narnia series but it creates a very strong foundation for the rest of the lore. The series must absolutely touch upon this aspect.
Don’t Want: Sacrifices its Mythology for Shorter Sub-Plots
The Witcher is an example of a fantasy series adapted from the books and done right. It has great casting choices and some pretty amazing fan moments. It also suffers from a curse that has plagued literally ever Netflix adaptation. The short episodic format means most of the series is boiled down to eight or ten episodes. The Witcher was a victim of this phenomenon. The underwhelming fight with the Djinn is something to take notice of. The fantasy elements of The Witcher were watered down to agree to the Netflix Format. Narnia is not simple story. It is a saga that stretches across centuries. The last thing it needs is to be cut off from its tail.
Want: Explores the World of Narnia More
Narnia takes heavy inspiration from classic mythology. The Tolkien Universe is made up of elements taken straight from the Norse Mythology. The Songs of Ice and fire Novels take the Medieval Route going with dragons and harpies. Narnia took the classic route and showed Fauns, Centaurs, Minotaurs, and Water Spirits. There is much for the world of Narnia to show to the world. Disney left the series not at the end but right at the beginning when things were only starting to fall into place. More of the world needs to be explored and the series must not leave things abruptly.
Don’t Want: Drives Itself outside the Source Material
This is another curse that haunts many book adaptations. They tend to drive off course into unknown and untested waters. This is a risky gamble that almost always fails to deliver even though at first glance, it looks like a very juicy decision. But we need to ensure that the live action series does not follow the same precedents. Just take a look at the last season of Game of Thrones. It diverted from the source material and it ended up as an utter disaster. We do not need to see anything new. The Narnia Saga is enough new. Don’t sacrifice the potency of the story just to get some creative le space for experimentation.
Want: Creates its Own Niche
The Narnia Universe, like the Lord of the Rings Universe, or the Game of Thrones Universe, thrives on its unique fantasy elements. To an extent, The Witcher Series was a success because it managed to carve out a separate dark fantasy theme unique and distinct to itself. Narnia’s fantasy identity is classic and quirky. It is sometimes over the top peachy but also has some real world allegory. That is what the re-imagined Narnia Universe needs to show. It must make sure the audience does not see it as yet another attempt at recreating Lord of the Rings for Netflix. If so, then the series is already doomed.
Don’ Want: Trying Too Much
Narnia is first and foremost designed to be a Fantasy Novel series. But it is more than that. It is simple and easy to understand. Unlike the Lord of the Rings or The Witcher, you don’t need to be very good at understanding fantasy lore to become a fan. You can be anyone and you will still enjoy Narnia. That is why the first Narnia movie – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, clicked. It banked on simplicity as the ultimate sophistication. If you add over the top action scenes or mix a heavy dosage of Computed Generated Effects into the series, the series’ simplicity will be diluted and the loyal fans of the Narnia Universe will be doubly pissed.
Want: Adheres to C.S Lewis’ Vision
As we have already mentioned, CS Lewis was a devout Christian and a Man of God. He believed in a higher power and the notion of Karma. His Christian roots were what inspired him to come up with Narnia. Back then when Christian Pride ran high, Lewis’ Narnia books were a super hit. But in the modern times, Lewis’ works could be interpreted in not just one but multiple religions. God is everywhere and every religion could be respected via the Narnia series. That would also be a real homage to Lewis and his reason behind penning the best-selling series of books.
Don’t Want: Another Witcher Clone
There is a high rick when Netflix adapts a book into live action. They tend to work on the principle of precedents. If something of a particular formula worked in the past, Netflix does it over and over again till they have milked each and every drop of juice out of it before they move on to the next idea. After The Witcher we were introduced to Cursed – a series featuring Katherine Langford that also suffered from this practice. We have had enough of Dark Medieval Drama now. Netflix needs to let go of that tree and hug another one. Narnia will not look good dressed in the same garbs as The Witcher. It needs a warmer, more welcoming wardrobe.