We haven’t heard anything about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair since late April, when director Joe Johnston signed on. Sony hasn’t issued a formal release date at this time, but the filmmaker put in an appearance at Paris Comic Con, where he not only confirmed that production will begin next winter, with prep work starting next July, but also that this will be his last movie as a director. Here’s what he had to say, when asked during an interview if this will in fact be his last directorial effort, while also confirming the production schedule.
“That’s the plan. It will take a couple of years to make the film as we won’t be able to start shooting next winter in New Zealand, on the South Island, which will be summer down there. And post and the visual effects will take another year and it’ll be 2019, and I think I’m ready to go do something else. I have a lot of dogs, and they demand long walks every day, in the country.”
Barring a change of heart, The Silver Chair movie will mark the end of quite the iconic career. Joe Johnston got his start in 1977 as an effects illustrator and designer on the groundbreaking Star Wars: A New Hope, rising through the ranks to become an art director on both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He also served as a production designer on the TV movie spin-offs The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: Battle for Endor, while serving as the art director on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He got his start as a director in 1989 with Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and The Rocketeer in 1991. He went on to direct a diverse array of films, such as Jumanji, October Sky, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo, The Wolfman, Captain America: The First Avenger and Not Safe For Work. We reported way back in 2013 that writer David Magee (Life of Pi) was writing the script, although it isn’t known if other writers have come aboard since then. In a separate interview at Paris Comic Con, the director reiterated the production schedule, while teasing that it would be darker than the other Narnia movies.
“It’s the fourth film in the series. It’s a totally new, different studio. It’s Sony and Mark Gordon Company. We are planning to shoot it in New Zealand next winter, so we’d probably start prep maybe in July and then shoot in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s a little bit darker than the other Narnia films. I think The Silver Chair was the darkest of the books. It’s classic literature, really. I think the work of C.S. Lewis is amazing, even though they were written for children, it’s classic literature, and I just thought that this would be fun. I love New Zealand, too.”
Producer Mark Gordon confirmed last January that The Silver Chair will reboot the Narnia franchise, with Joe Johnston reiterating that he not only doesn’t want his movie to “look like the other films,” but he doesn’t even want to reference them, adding that, “It’s like starting a whole new thing.. Take a look at two video interviews from Paris Comic Con, courtesy of Narnia Web. You can skip to 6:30 mark of the first video, and 7:03 of second video for all of his applicabe Narnia comments.