“It’s a wonderfully nostalgic story,” adds Adamson. “Basically the children have come back to a place that they’ve longed to be, the place they ruled for 15 years. Everything has changed. Cair Paravel is in ruins. The people they know have been driven into the wild. Aslan hasn’t been seen for a thousand years. They’ve got to come to terms with that, and at the same time, try to restore Narnia as they know it.”
That theme intrigued the screenwriters as well. “It’s an area Lewis left mostly untouched,” offers screenwriter Markus. “Lewis memorably examined what it would be like for a 1940s school kid to become King of Narnia. However, he didn’t much consider what it would be like for a King of Narnia to return to being a 1940s school kid.”
“Their year back in London must have been awkward at best,” adds writing partner McFeely. “Given their different personalities, each Pevensie handles the situation with varying levels of success. Their sudden return to Narnia pushes different buttons in each.”
And, how do the experiences of the four young British actors compare to what their screen counterparts encountered in the new story?
The eldest of the foursome, 21-year-old William Moseley, says his anticipation and anxiety to get back in front of the movie cameras echoed what his character Peter endured in the time between his fifteen-year reign of Narnia and his return to the kingdom in the new story. Just like his character, the handsome British native returned to secondary school.
“Finishing the first film was an amazing experience,” he says. “Then it was all taken away. Even though I didn’t react the same way Peter does, I can really understand how he feels.”
Once the senior sibling returns to Narnia, “he becomes slightly arrogant,” the actor notes of his character. “There's fighting within the group. Peter cannot accept Caspian. His plans are not set from his heart, but from his ego. Even when he doubts himself, he still is too stubborn to back down and accept that he might be wrong. And ultimately, he pays the highest price.
In the process, Moseley says, his character becomes a man. “When he gets back to Narnia, it’s 1,300 years later and people don't know he's a high king. They just see a boy. Peter has to prove who he is to the Narnians.”
“When we cast William as Peter, he was just 15 and had never done anything like this before,” Adamson notes. “William’s transformation was not dissimilar to that of his character Peter in the story, from this 17-year-old boy into a young man. I don’t think he’d even been on a movie set before. He was just this really great kid you wanted to be your big brother. And now, William has turned out to be a handsome and capable young man.”
Adds co-star Anna Popplewell, “Although William is 21, he's playing a 16- or 17-year- old. But he's an adult now. I had my first audition with him when I was 13. And we really have sort of grown up together. Everyone has grown up a little bit, and changed a little bit,” she observes.
However, Popplewell did notice how the character of Susan had changed when she read through the script. “Susan gets to be involved in a bit more action this time,” the actress enthuses. “I loved doing the fighting scenes. I loved being in the raid and the battle and getting my teeth into some of the stunts. I didn’t get to do much of that in the first movie.”
The film marks the end of Narnia’s road for the eldest Pevensies, Susan and Peter. Popplewell admits, “I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience, a fantastic time. And I'd so much rather have been here than not been here. But, at the same time, it's really sad that I won't be coming back. ”
After finishing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Popplewell concentrated on her secondary school studies and landed a coveted spot at Oxford’s Magdalen College, the same school where author C.S. Lewis served a three decade tenure from 1925-54, although she did not know of Lewis’ longtime connection to the college until she read a biography of the famed author.