The fantasy arms race continues.
Netflix announced today it has acquired the film and television rights to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia novel series. Under the terms of a multi-year deal between Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company, Netflix will develop classic stories from across the Narnia universe into series and films for its members worldwide. All series and films produced through the deal will be Netflix productions, with Mark Gordon of Entertainment One alongside Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers for series and as producers for features.
The novels, about a group of WWII era school children who gain access to a fantastic parallel realm known as Narnia, have made the leap to other media before as a group of BBC miniseries and three feature films of varying quality. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are surprisingly well-made fantasy films, but The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian lacked for some of the charm of the other films. Producers involved in that film series had hoped to mount a production of the fourth novel, The Silver Chair, but with Netflix assuming command of the film rights, that version of the film will likely never occur.
“C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” said Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.”
The move continues a trend of streaming platforms buying up beloved fantasy series for their content stables. Just yesterday, Amazon announced it was going forward with a television adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. It also has a Lord of the Rings television series in development. In buying the Narnia rights, Netflix is positioning itself as a direct competitor to Amazon’s fantasy content, which will also include a Conan series; provided there’s any money left to go around once Rings and the The Wheel of Time are in production.