Writer-director Greta Gerwig recently signed on to create two films for Netflix’s reboot of the “Narnia” films. Disney originally adapted two of C.S. Lewis’ novels from “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” was released in 2005, “Prince Caspian” in 2008, and Fox later released “The Voyage of The Dawn Treader.” The films provided several early career roles for actors who went on to receive critical acclaim, notably James McAvoy, Ben Barnes, and Will Poulter. Liam Neeson and Tilda Swinton also appeared in starring roles.
Netflix acquired the rights to the late C.S. Lewis’ catalogue of works in 2018. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said, “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.” Gerwig made a name for herself with her five-time Academy Award nominated “Ladybird,” and her later successful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” (which boasted stars Laura Dern, Saoirse Ronan, Timotheé Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and more). Her most recent venture, “Barbie,” set to star Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the titular Barbie and Ken, is due to hit theaters later this month on July 21, after months of public excitement.
News of Gerwig’s “Narnia” adaptation is being met with mixed reviews. While some look forward to the new spin on the classic series, others question the director’s choice to sign with Netflix amid the ongoing WGA strike. Film and television screenwriters began striking in May in hopes of reaching a fair contractual agreement that would pay adequately in the streaming age, and offer more protections against using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to replace real writers.
— Dan (@danofaction) July 3, 2023
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Many fans of the “Narnia” franchise tie nostalgic childhood memories to the series. Some are wary of a new adaptation in general. Some feel that a reboot was not necessary, given the high quality of the original early 2000s franchise.
Can we stop “rebooting” films? Nobody wants to go see the same film “but updated” every 7-10 years. I’ll go rewatch the original if I wanted to see it again.
— Ems 🕊️ (@ebosse_) July 3, 2023
Others feel that the series will be in good hands with the director. She managed to deliver a period-accurate yet thematically contemporary “Little Women.” “The Chronicles of Narnia” take place between an early 20th century England and the fictional world of Narnia, which lends to medieval undertones.
GRETA GERWIG DIRECTING NOT ONE, BUT *TWO* NARNIA FILMS ??!! I USED TO PRAY FOR TIMES LIKE THIS pic.twitter.com/E51lpWeLCW
— liana 🏹 (@witchofcharn) July 3, 2023
and i’ll be seated for every single one pic.twitter.com/lQPoGG8u2d
— Lolo (@Lolo_GamerYT) July 3, 2023
Gerwig is known for her ability to write intricate female leads into her films. The original “Narnia” novels are an allegory for several Christian biblical tales, which include several misunderstood female characters. Some are excited to see the director examine the deeper undertones of the stories.
the themes of girlhood, the fear of losing your childlike sense of awe & wonder, sisterly love & siblings’ bond, finding love & acceptance only for it to be ripped away from you in the chronicles of narnia … no wonder greta gerwig wanted to direct pic.twitter.com/Hmwck5BdD6
— liana 🏹 (@witchofcharn) July 3, 2023
Elsewhere, others are setting the content aside and focusing on the deal. The longtime writer-director previously stated her support for the WGA strike. While it is likely that she negotiated the deal prior to the strike, some find it strange that it was announced amid the strike. Some feel it could lend to negative perceptions of the rising director’s allegiances in the entertainment industry.
greta no! i want you to stay the indie/oscar darling that you are forever!
— ras ali (@rasalistair) July 3, 2023
The director’s agent recently confirmed that she has ambitions to move out of the indie film space and into the major studios.
as much as i love greta the indie darling, if she pulls off Barbie as a commercial hit while maintaining her style and artistic voice (which is looking very likely) it seems like a net positive for the industry if she keeps doing studio films that are actually good https://t.co/jYdEHm96qc
— holiday barbie (@barbieklrs) July 3, 2023
Gerwig is yet to comment further on her choice to sign on with Netflix.