For the last few years, moviegoers have been left unsure when they would be getting the chance to go back to Narnia. American audience numbers slacked off over the course of the two sequels following 2005’s megahit The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but the foreign box office remained strong. As a result it wasn’t really a surprise when the Mark Gordon Company and the C.S. Lewis company announced last month that an upcoming adaptation of Lewis’ The Silver Chair was in the works, and they’ve now hired the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter David Magee to pen this third sequel in the franchise. Perhaps they’re hoping they can make up in critical acclaim what ticket sales may fail to bring in.
Magee’s two nominations came from adapting Allan Knee’s Finding Neverland in 2005 - when he lost out to Sideways - and for last year’s Life of Pi - which lost to Argo at the latest awards show. The only other produced screenplay he wrote was 2008’s Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which I’d admittedly forgotten existed. Such major accolades for two out of three scripts is a huge deal, and it could mean The Silver Chair will have a sharper story to accompany all of the proper fantastical goings-on.
Saying he "could not be more excited about it," Magee said in satement via Deadline, "I have always loved The Chronicles of Narnia and I endlessly imagined myself finding my own passage into Narnia someday." Projects with such invested creative minds are usually amazing or disastrous, and Magee’s pedigree gives one confidence that his efforts will fall more towards the former description.
The plot for Silver Chair takes place predominantly in Narnia decades after the events of the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and follows Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole trying to solve the mystery of King Caspian’s missing son and future heir. Given the time difference, this is essentially a series reboot that’s able to continue the narrative properly; a rarity to say the least. Magee is definitely a step in a new direction, as this will be the first Narnia film that won’t be co-written by the duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Since Fox isn’t involved, this sequel doesn’t yet have a distributor, but you can bet Magee will bring in a credible director and the studios will be chomping at the bit. Here’s a reminder of what director Michael Apted did with the last film.
And here’s a video by the band Silverchair, for obvious reasons, and also because I can’t believe this video is 18 years old.