It was almost 12 years ago that The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released, and the beloved C.S. Lewis classic was finally brought to life on the big screen.
Following the success of the first film, two more adaptations followed with Prince Caspian in 2008 and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010. But given that there were seven novels in C.S. Lewis' series, in the six years since the last film, fans have been wondering when or if we will ever see the fourth installment in cinemas.
Will The Fourth Film Be The Magician's Nephew Or The Silver Chair?
There was much debate over what film would be the fourth installment of #TheChroniclesofNarnia film series, with C.S. Lewis's estate (the C.S. Lewis Company) wanting the next film to be The Silver Chair and Walden Media, the distribution company, hoping to produce The Magician's Nephew.
However, following the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010, the contract between Walden Media (who released the first three films) and The C.S. Lewis Company expired. The C.S. Lewis Company then teamed up with the Mark Gordon Company in 2013, and it was announced in October 2013 that the fourth film would in fact be The Silver Chair.
What Is The Silver Chair And Where Does It Fit Into The Series?
The Silver Chair was the fourth book to be published by C.S. Lewis, however chronologically it's volume six in the series. The story takes place decades after the events of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in Narnia, though less than a year later in England.
In Narnia, King Caspian X is now an elderly man, and his son and only heir to the throne, Prince Rilian, is missing. In an attempt to locate the Prince, Aslan sends English children Eustace Scrubb (yes, the same Eustace Scrubb from Voyage) and Jill Pole to try and find him.
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What Is Happening With Production?
Update 04/28/2017: It has been confirmed that Joe Johnston has jumped on board as director of The Silver Chair. Johnston has previously directed Captain America: The First Avenger and family classics Jumanji and Honey I Shrunk the Kid. The news was announced via Variety, along with a statement from producer Mark Gordon, who is full of faith that Johnston is the best choice to bring the film to the screen:
"Joe is a wonderful storyteller who is equally at home in the biggest franchises and the most intimate character pieces. Because C.S. Lewis’ story is iconic and epic but also tender, personal, and emotional, he’s the perfect choice to bring ‘The Silver Chair’ to the screen."
After the announcement that the fourth film in the series would be The Silver Chair, all went quiet on the Narnia front for more than a year before news started trickling in, mainly via screenwriter David Magee. On June 30, 2015 Magee took to Twitter to assure fans that the film was still very much alive and in active development:
Then on January 21, 2016 the screenwriter also revealed that a script had been written, though drafts were still being worked on:
This backed up what producer Mark Gordon said on a press tour earlier in January, when he revealed, "We’re hoping to be able to make the movie very shortly. We’re very excited about it."
Gordon also stated that none of the original cast would be reprising their roles. This was unsurprising in regard to Will Poulter, who played Eustace Scrubb, due to the fact that Eustace is supposed to be 12 years old in The Silver Chair and Poulter is now 23. However, it was a little more surprising in regard to the only other cast member who could have reasonably returned: Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan the Lion.
More recently, David Magee tweeted that The Silver Chair could go into production as soon as early 2017:
He also revealed that a director may be announced within the next few months:
It was confirmed in early August that The Silver Chair will be produced as a collaboration between Sony-based TriStar Pictures, Entertainment One, the Mark Gordon Company and The C.S. Lewis Company.
In December 2016, Narnia Web reported that Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C.S. Lewis, said that he believed production on The Silver Chair could begin in early 2017. Gresham also stated that he believed they had "the best Narnia movie script we have ever had," and that the film will in include the famous speech the character of Puddleglum gives after stamping out the queen's fire.
When Can We Expect The Silver Chair To Be Released In Cinemas?
With a director and cast yet to be announced, it still seems like the fourth installment in The Chronicles of Narnia will be stuck in development for a little longer. However, if David Magee's guesstimates are accurate and production begins in early-mid 2017, fans might be watching The Silver Chair on the big screen around Christmas 2018:
This would put the film in the company of the long awaited Avatar 2 and the yet-to-be-titled Animated Spider-Man film, both of which are eyeing a December 2018 release.
So, What's Next?
With The Silver Chair script nearing completion, it seems as though the next news Narnia fans can expect to hear will be on a director, and then the cast. Hopefully this will be announced within the next six months if the film hopes to begin production in 2017. So, with all of that in mind, keep your ears to the ground, Narnians, because all signs are pointing to good things for the future of The Silver Chair!
Are you excited to see The Silver Chair?