Back in October, we reported The Silver Chair, the fourth installment in the Chronicles of Narnia film series (and an adaptation of the sixth book) was in the works. It’s still not clear who will be distributing the film (Disney handled the first two, and Fox the third), but now we do at least know who’s writing the script: screenwriter (and frequent book adapter), David Magee.
If Magee’s name sounds familiar, then maybe you saw the Academy Awards of 2012, when Magee received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for his Life of Pi screenplay (based on the book of the same name by Yann Martel); or maybe it was the 2004 Academy Awards, when Magee was first nominated for his adaptation of Allan Knee’s play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan – adapted as Finding Neverland. Magee also co-wrote, with Simon Beaufoy, an adaptation of the Winifred Watson novel, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.
The Chronicles of Narnia has been like a fusion of two other fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter – being classical swords and sorcery oriented like the latter, but mixing in teen and preteen protagonists and coming-of-age themes like the latter (actually, Narnia author C. S. Lewis was a friend of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit author, J. R. R. Tolkein). However, the Narnia films have never quite been able to match the success their fantasy film brethren. That’s not to say they’ve done poorly at the box office – Voyage of the Dawn Treader grossed over $400 million against a budget that was around $150 million, and they’ve managed to get past he first entry in the series, which is more than something like Inkheart or The Golden Compass can boast.
Given the acclaim Magee received for Finding Neverland, in particular, he does make sense on the Narnia series. Stay tuned to see if The Silver Chair, and its writer, can bring the series to new heights.