Producer Mark Johnson believes the second film has surpassed the original in many respects. “This movie is bigger than ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,’” he says. “It’s bigger in terms of the number of people behind the camera. It’s bigger in terms of the number of people in front of the camera and, most importantly, it’s bigger dramatically. The themes that we’re playing out here, and the relationships, are much bigger and a bit darker than they were in the first film.”
Director Adamson explains: “PRINCE CASPIAN tells the story of Narnia 1,300 years after the Pevensies left. The Telmarines have taken over Narnia and driven all the creatures into the forest. Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne, has been ousted by his uncle Miraz. Caspian blows Susan’s horn to bring the Pevensie children back to Narnia to save the land from Miraz, this unrightful king.”
The story reminds Johnson of the films he loved as a kid. “It harkens back to some of those movies that were full of adventure and swashbuckling and brave characters. We even have a castle and a moat! On top of that, it takes place in Narnia, so it involves C.S. Lewis’ imagination.”
Unlike the first movie, which deliberately started small and built to the epic battle scene, PRINCE CASPIAN starts big and gets even bigger. “We’ve seen that epic world now,” notes Adamson. “So, at the beginning of this movie, we had to start epic and then get more epic. We had a lot more exterior locations. We had castles and kingdoms created by a new race of men, the Telmarines. So there was this whole new world to design. Also, this film is probably a little darker and grittier than the last one, partly because the children are older, making the story more adult in nature.
“In the last film, I think we went to some pretty dark places,” he adds. “Aslan’s death, certainly, is one of the darkest moments in the film. I think this movie has the potential to be even more sinister. Miraz is potentially someone that we might actually see in real life, which makes him and the story that much darker.
“’The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ is a very emotional story about sacrifice and forgiveness,” Adamson says. “In some ways, this is a more personal story, a story of these kids returning to a place that they love, but that no longer exists. This is more about coming to adulthood, about growth and adventure.”
That idea resonated with the director on a personal level. Although born in New Zealand, Adamson spent his formative teen years in Papua New Guinea “which no longer exists as I remember it growing up. For me, it’s a similar experience for these four children as they venture back to Narnia, a world that is not the same as when they first went there.”
“When I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child, I remember getting to the end of it and thinking, ‘well, hang on a sec’,” Adamson recalls. “These guys were kings and queens. They ruled Narnia for fifteen years. They fought battles. They won wars against giants and now they have to go back to school? I wanted to see what happened next.”
“PRINCE CASPIAN is a completely different story from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’” producer Johnson explains. “The children have adjusted to a varying degree to being British school kids again. All of a sudden, they’re brought back to Narnia because they are needed to help save the land once again.”