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09 September 2010 @ 12:02 pm
Voyage of the Dawn Treader Guest Blog: New Characters Buzz, Fan Excitement  
The third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series will hit screens later this fall. Plenty of fan buzz is already making it likely that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will certainly not disappoint. Directed by Michael Apted (Amazing Grace), Dawn Treader will arrive in 3-D in December.

We spoke to Paul from Narnia Fans and asked him to give us a perspective on Dawn Treader and where it stands with the previous two movies from the beloved Narnia series of books by C.S. Lewis.

On December 10, 2010, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be released to theaters everywhere. This is the third in the series of films from Walden Media, and the first with 20th Century Fox. This first two, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian were released in 2005 and 2008, respectively, and both were produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

For viewers of the first two films, you'll find yourself right at home with returning characters, such as Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Reepicheep, King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and Aslan (Liam Neeson). The actors that originated each of the roles in prior films all return in this film with the exception of Reepicheep. There is no word yet on who is actually going to take the role in this film. Eddie Izzard had played him in Prince Caspian, and so far both Bill Nighy and Simon Pegg have been attached to the role.

If you haven't seen the first two films, don't worry: they aren't required viewing. Each of the stories in the Narnia series are completely different from the last. This adventure takes place on the sea, outside of Narnia, and features a quest to recover the seven lost lords. This time around, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie enter Narnia with their cousin, Eustace Clarence Scrubb (Son of Rambow's Will Poulter).

This Narnia film brings with it a new director in Michael Apted (Amazing Grace), as well as a new composer in David Arnold (Quantum of Solace). Also new to the production is cinematographer Dante Spinotti (The Last of the Mohicans). Michael Apted is a director that focuses on character development and story before anything else. He is perhaps most well known for the Up documentaries.

From what I have seen, this film should fit in nicely with the previous two films in the series, while also finding a voice of its own. It is based on the most popular of the Narnia books, next to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and is being handled as a return to the magic and wonder that was present in that film.

For those fans who were disappointed with Prince Caspian, you should find yourself well pleased with this entry in the series. This time out, the screenwriters didn't have to wrestle with a book that takes place almost entirely in flashbacks, like Caspian. Instead, we have a more linear story that has many emotional moments that will have the viewer smiling, cheering and perhaps even shed a few happy tears.

Many fans that have been watching the production so far are really excited about the return to Narnia, to visit the characters that they love. They're excited about seeing a powerful version of a story that they love, told very well. People are buzzing about the new character, Eustace, and cannot wait to see the journey that he takes unfold on screen.

Are fans worried about anything? Sure, there are purists that love the books dearly and wish that every word was allowed to appear on the big screen as written. Since Prince Caspian did not happen exactly on screen as it did in the book, mostly for one reason that I mentioned above, people are a bit apprehensive that the same will happen on Dawn Treader. There is also the matter of a character called Gael (Arabella Morton), who many fans call the mysterious little girl or “MLG.” Another couple of points of contention are the appearances of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) and Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) in the trailer.

Having spent some time on the set and with the creative team, there is nothing to worry about. The appearances of Peter, Susan and the White Witch are all with good reason and do not take anything away from the story. I cannot speak to the character of Gael, but fans should not fret about her. It's not the first time that the creative team has added a character to the story, and this one absolutely makes sense.

Remember, Michael Apted is first and foremost a storyteller. He won't put anything into the movie that doesn't help the story along, and is committed to making the return to Narnia into something special. If any fans are worried about the handling of the character of Reepicheep this time around, they have no need to be. Reepicheep is Michael Apted's favorite character and he wants to make sure that they get Reepicheep right. This has the potential to be the best of the Narnia films so far, and I couldn't be happier with what I have seen.

Paul Martin