The Old Script for the LWW Movie

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The Old Script for the LWW Movie

Postby Col Klink » Oct 03, 2018 12:04 pm

(WARNING: the following post is super long but hopefully interesting.)

I may be the only one but I really enjoy reading screenplays. It's fun to compare what I imagine based on them to what the director came up. And when you're looking at an old draft as opposed to the final one, it gives an interesting glimpse into the evolution of the writers' ideas for the story. The 2003 draft for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe screenplay is a great case in point. http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/Chro ... Narnia.pdf Here's my analysis.


Bombing

This scene starts out on the ground rather than in the air as it would in the final script. Honestly, I kind of think it makes more sense this way. We don't really need to see the bombers and it was probably an extra expense for the moviemakers to show them. But it's not like I dislike how it plays in the movie. The whole mood of this scene is a lot more quiet and tense here than it is in the movie where it's more frenetic. We don't see any explosions until Edmund is in the house. There's hardly any dialogue. (Maybe the actors were supposed to adlib.) In this script, Mrs. Pevensie guilts Peter into going after Edmund where ultimately he would go voluntarily and even against her will. The girls stop their mother from going after Edmund herself but apparently they don't stop Peter. Glad they changed this. It makes it look like no one cared about Peter dying in this old script. ;))

Train Station

In this version, we see the Pevensies leaving their house and heading to the station. We actually see some burned out houses getting hosed down which I don't feel was necessary. There's some excessively heavy handed foreshadowing when Lucy sees a lion statue which I'm also glad was cut. Mrs. Pevensie doesn't give individual goodbyes to all her children here as she does in the movie. I'm glad they added that though I understand why the writers initially felt it would make the scene too slow. She tells Edmund to be good rather than to listen to his brother. I think the brother line helped establish that Edmund doesn't like having older people in charge which is important to his character though they could have established that in other ways. After initially refusing to hug his mother, Edmund runs back and does so. This was a bad idea. It made Edmund seem too nice.

Arriving at the Professor's

The dialogue when they meet Mrs. Macready is a bit different. Lucy speculates that the professor has forgotten them and when Edmund sees Mrs. Macready, he says he wishes he had. :-?? I don't get that line. Is Edmund just embarrassed about riding in a buggy? Mrs. Macready explicitly says that she is professor's housekeeper here which is sort of nice for people who haven't read the book. And book fans can appreciate that she talks about tourists coming to see the house. Susan's reaction ("Really? Why") is kind of ridiculously rude though. A sensitive actress could have made her seem genuinely curious and not incredulous, I guess. The scene in Lucy's bedroom was changed a lot in subsequent drafts and, I must say, for the better. In this version, Edmund seems too cheerful and the humor, such as Peter telling Lucy that her bed is so big because she's shrunk, isn't very funny. (Too be fair, a lot of the jokes we tell kids to comfort them probably aren't that funny.) I do wish they had kept Peter's line "there's no telling what we'll find."

Hide and Seek

This scene was mostly unchanged through the writing process, it seems. The main changes were for the better. Peter's agreeing to play the game was shown with a really cliché cinematic joke. Edmund also supports Lucy's idea for what to do which makes him seem too nice. Also here, they have him actually get to his hiding place ahead of Lucy instead of pushing past her. They really don't do a good job of establishing Edmund as a jerk early on. It's like he changes into a different character after Lucy returns from Narnia.

Lucy Meets Mr. Tumnus

This section was definitely the most improved in the final movie. :-bd The pacing of it here is too fast. We don't really feel like the characters are developing a bond between them and we don't get a feel for the what Narnia is like as we do in the book and the movie. It's so obvious that Tumnus is tricking Lucy and feels guilty about it that we can't really relax and enjoy the scene. There are also some really awkward lines, mainly Lucy asking Tumnus if the world around her is real. I do like Tumnus's line "It's not every day I get to have tea with a human" better than the corny "It's not every day I get to make a new friend." Interestingly, Tumnus smashes his pipes here which could imply that they are evil. (In the book, I got the impression that the fauns' music was good, just not what Tumnus was doing with it.)


Lucy's Return

They cut a good bit of dialogue from the beginning of this scene for the final script. Edmund sarcastically thanks Lucy for ruining his hiding place and we hear a more detailed description of Narnia from Lucy. Cutting these lines was a good idea; we really didn't need them. Peter's reaction to the ordinary wardrobe is closer to his reaction in the book which is nice. ("Good one, Lucy. Had me going.") Lucy runs out the room immediately after Edmund makes fun of her. Peter and Edmund's confrontation is very brief here. (The dialogue from this part of the movie actually appears a little later in this script.) I really like how this version of the scene ends with Susan firmly closing the wardrobe door, symbolizing how the door to Narnia has been closed for the characters, though I prefer the scene from the movie on the whole.


Edmund Meets the White Witch

There's a dumb joke about Susan snoring when Lucy sneaks out to search for Narnia. (Good call cutting that.) Edmund's dialogue when he tries to tease Lucy is a little bit different too. I like the way the final dialogue emphasized him trapping himself in the wardrobe, unlike Lucy, but both versions are fine. The staging of the White Witch's first appearance is a little different. Here Edmund sees her right before she tells Ginarrbrik to let him go. In the movie, he sees her right after. Personally, I think the final version is better. It allows us not to be worried about Edmund while we're taking her in for the first time. As in the book, Edmund tells the Witch about his brother and sisters and Tumnus while he's eating Turkish Delight. I like this better than having him just blurt everything out when he first speaks with her. Feels less awkward. Lucy says, "The others will have to believe in Narnia now that we've both been here." I know that line was from the book but I really don't feel it was necessary.

Edmund Lies About Narnia

Mrs. Macready is in this scene which feels...weird to me. It kind of makes it seem like Edmund lies because he doesn't want her to know about Narnia rather than to hurt Lucy. Peter and Edmund have their argument here rather than after Lucy's first visit to Narnia. While this way is closer to the book, the pacing of the final film works better for me.

Advice From the Professor

This scene is staged closer to the book. Peter and Susan go to the professor deliberately during the day instead of accidentally meeting him at night. (In both versions, Peter doesn't want to talk to the professor. I kind of wish that was closer to the book.) The professor's line that accusing someone of lying is a serious charge comes across as glib here rather than serious as it does in the book. That kind of bugs me though a thoughtful actor could have avoided that. The professor has a dumb line about the word impossible being bad. Other than that this very close to the final scene. Afterwards, we get a brief but unnecessary bit of Peter and Susan reacting to the professor's advice in private.


Mrs. Macready Chases the Children


This scene is very different from its counterpart in the final movie. Instead of playing cricket, Susan and Peter cheer Lucy up by playing ping pong with her. This makes it feel closer to the book where the Pevensies were starting to make up with each other before they all went to Narnia. This version of the chase is halfway through the metamorphosis from the book version to the movie version. The Pevensies both try to avoid Mrs. Macready's tour (Peter has a funny line about the group seems to be following them) and accidentally break the suit of armor. Actually, the suit is broken by Edmund who briefly goes crazy and tries to kill Peter. That was a bit overdramatic. But in general I think I like this scene here a little more than I do the final version.


The Pevensies in Narnia

Peter not only insists that Edmund apologize to Lucy but twists his arm to make him do so. I feel like this was a little overdramatic. Edmund doesn't suggest that they take a look around Narnia. That was a good addition to the final script because it showed that Edmund wanted to bring the others to the White Witch. Lucy suggests that they take the fur coats as well as Peter. (Poor Susan doesn't get to suggest it in either script like she does in the book.) Edmund has an insensitive line about Mr. Tumnus's trashed home. This is similar to a line from the book but I feel like it would have been awkward on screen with no one reacting to it. I don't like Lucy's line "Mr. Tumnus has been arrested for not handing me over!" I don't know why. It just sounds clunky to me. The Pevensies actually meet Mr. Beaver inside Tumnus's house instead of outside. While she seems suspicious, Susan isn't vocally opposed to following Mr. Beaver like she is in the movie. Edmund and Peter have a conversation about the credibility of the Narnians which is very similar to the book. I wish it had been kept because it provides insight into how Edmund justifies his actions.


The Beavers' Dam

Mrs. Beaver's introductory joke is a little bit different. Instead of "If I find you've been out with Badger again, I'll...those aren't badgers," she says, "It'd better be those fish I asked you to get. Those aren't fish." I think the joke in this version is funnier though neither is hilarious. But I like that they introduce the Badger earlier in the movie because it gives his "stoning" more emotional impact. This version includes Edmund asking whether Aslan can be turned to stone and the beavers give a response similar to the book. This really should have been kept because it explains in part why the Narnians are excited about Aslan returning. Weirdly, the beavers don't explain about the prophecy in this scene. This makes their expectation of four random kids helping them fight the Witch initially awkward. There's an extra bit of dialogue between Peter and Mr. Beaver as they search for Edmund which doesn't add anything. I don't like that Lucy is the one who decides that they seek help from Aslan rather than Peter or Susan, mainly because I feel like the Narnia movies idealize Lucy too much. That is especially true of this draft.


The White Witch's Castle

The lion which Edmund scribbles on is actually the first statue he comes across. (And it's a tiger.) This makes his graffiti feel more like a natural reaction. Edmund doesn't actually sit on the Witch's throne here; he just looks at it. That was a good addition to the final movie. This scene changed little in the creative process except for the Witch sending the wolves before Edmund asks for more Turkish Delight. In a way, it makes more sense that way. She would naturally want to kill or capture the humans as soon as possible. But ending the scene with wolves leaving makes more pacing sense, I feel. What do you think?


Escape Through the Beavers' Tunnel


Mrs. Beaver is the one who asks about jam and Mr. Beaver is the one who responds in this version instead of Susan and Peter. Peter gets the cliché, and happily cut, line "if there is a later." Upon hearing where the secret tunnel leads, Mrs. Beaver says, "And his barrel of ale, I shouldn't wonder" instead of "You told me it led to your mum's!" I like the joke in this script better though again neither joke is any great shakes. It takes a while for the characters to realize that the villagers have been to stone here which I think would have come across as really awkward in the movie. There are two satyr characters in this version who use Susan's coat to throw the wolves off the trail. I suppose this makes the story more believable but it's also rather complicated and I can't blame the writers for cutting it eventually.

Campfire

The animals tell the Pevensies about the prophecy here instead of at the dam. I guess the writers felt the atmosphere would be cooler around the campfire than the dinner table. The idea of the Deep Magic is established here rather than later. Since it's the weirdest part of the story I can understand why they wanted to get the audience used to it as soon as possible. I like that the characters are seen eating the bread and jam that Mrs. Beaver packed. A nice bit of continuity. After Lucy and the animals are asleep, Peter and Susan have a private conversation about their situation. While quiet scenes exploring the characters' inner lives can be good, I think the writers realized that they could convey every idea in this scene through the prior dialogue. One thing in this scene that wouldn't be in the final movie is the idea that Peter and Susan are worried that the animals will attack them if they don't agree to fight the Witch. /:) I'm glad that was cut. It made the story unnecessarily unpleasant.


The White Witch's Dungeon

This scene is actually intercut with the scenes of the Pevensies and the beavers. The way it plays in the movie is closer to the book and I like that though I can understand why the writers had it way they originally did. Both Edmund's bread and water contain bugs. I think this would have been a good detail to include though I understand that it would have been expensive. This scene is very close to the movie version except that Ginarrbrik is the guard rather than an ogre. (And he is reluctant to unchain Tumnus for some reason.)


The Dryad

OK, this is just the dumbest scene! =)) Peter somehow wakens the spirits of the frozen trees and one them encourages him and tells him that Edmund is still alive. It may not sound so bad when summarized but, trust me, it's hilariously cheesy. If I were the estate, I would refuse to approve this draft solely on the basis of this scene. And if I were in charge of Walden Media, I would fire the screenwriters because they wrote it. Anyway, the fox accompanies the children to rock bridge from which they can see their destination. Before he leaves, he and Mr. Beaver, who still hasn't warmed up to him at this point, share a cliched moment of bonding. Mrs. Beaver, incidentally, doesn't nurse the fox after his neck was clamped by the wolf. While the bath day line was dumb, I like that they added that to the final movie. It increased the wolves' menace and Lucy's interest in it foreshadowed her getting the healing cordial.


Father Christmas

Peter seems more genuinely annoyed when he complains about Mr. Beaver telling them to hurry where his tone would be more humorous in the movie. (And he threatens to use his tail for a cricket bat instead of making him a big fluffy hat.) The order in which Father Christmas hands out the gifts is different from both the book and the movie. In the book, he gives in order of the oldest to youngest. In the movie, he gives in order of youngest to oldest. In this script, it's...a totally random order. I think the movie order worked best especially since it allowed Susan to ask "what happened to battles are ugly affairs?" I do wish they could have kept the line where he tells the beaver that their presents are waiting for them at home. Interestingly, Lucy asks about Edmund's gift. I wonder if Edmund not getting a Christmas present was something that really bugged the writers since his torch ended up practically becoming his gift in the later movies. Instead of Peter immediately realizing that the bridge is melting, the scene ends with the line "I told you he was real."


The Fox Is Turned to Stone

This scene takes place here rather than after the melting river scene and we see the wolves catch the fox rallying the witch's enemies instead of just hearing about it. I'm kind of torn about this change. I feel like the pacing in the movie works a lot better. But I like the fox's dialogue when he pretends not to know what the Witch is talking about. And it makes more storytelling sense for the Witch to find out the location of Aslan's camp here. It's what tells the wolves how to cut our heroes off from Aslan. I don't understand why it would be a bad thing for her to find out about when she does so in the movie. If he's raising an army, I doubt he intended to keep it a secret for long.


The Melting Waterfall

A lot of the dialogue in this scene is annoyingly hammy. ("We'll never make it." "Not if we keep talking about it." "I'm not losing them again.") But the dialogue in the final scene was annoyingly hammy too so it's hard for me to decide which version is better or worse. Susan doesn't listen to Maugrim's offer which I know some people prefer since it was out of character for her to be so irrational in the movie. (My interpretation was that she had been trying so hard to be sensible in the movie that the stress had made her snap and go completely insane. Not sure whether that was what the moviemakers had in mind but it works for me.) Unlike in the movie ("Your brother's got you well looked after"), Mr. Beaver is angry at Peter for not killing Maugrim. In general, Mr. Beaver is a lot crankier in this script than in the movie. (Maybe he's hungry. ;)) ) This makes the arrival of spring more of a comical moment than you would expect. Not sure why they wanted that and I guess they didn't either since they ultimately changed it.


Spring

This is longer in this script. We see the Witch being unable to use her sleigh and having to walk. The wolves being able to survive the river is presented as a twist here. I suppose that's nice though the way they reveal them strikes me as cliché. Instead of having the wolves summon the Witch's army, a bunch of harpies do it. It's admirable how much more efficient the final script would be, accomplishing in one scene what the script takes three scenes to do. The book fan in me really likes seeing the White Witch and Edmund be forced to walk though.


The Stone Table

The beavers and the Pevensies reach the Stone Table and are surprised not to find Aslan. It turns out that his camp is below the hill. While this scene isn't amazingly well written, I wish it had stayed because it's weird how in the movie they say Aslan's army is at the Stone Table but we don't see the Stone Table until Aslan's sacrifice. It's nice that they also explain what the carvings on the Stone Table are in this scene. In the movie, they're kind of a subtext.

Aslan's Camp

The Pevensies see naiads instead of dryads and there's no dialogue when they arrive at the camp. The way Aslan is revealed is more like a jump scare. I think it might have been cool that way in the movie but I loved the scene as it turned out. As in the book, our heroes argue about which one of them will address Aslan. That's nice. But I don't like that Lucy is the one to do so. You can have characters besides Lucy do something positive, scriptwriters. 8-| Lucy is also the only one who can look Aslan in the eye. I'm not a fan of that since everyone is supposed to be intimidated by Aslan. The dialogue between Peter and Aslan is different though the content is basically the same. I think I like how it sounds better in the movie though I'm not crazy about either version.


The White Witch's Camp

The Witch tells Ginarrbrik that she doesn't want Edmund to die unless it's on the Stone Table. I think this should have stayed because it explains why the Witch doesn't do the sensible thing and immediately kill Edmund. Especially since that would have stopped the prophecy from being fulfilled or at least slowed it down until the good guys could find another potential king.


Maugrim Attacks

Susan and Lucy's dialogue is a little bit different. I think the final draft was an improvement though this version isn't bad. We also see more of their struggle to get to the horn. Like in the book, Peter doesn't immediately know what the horn sounds like. I feel that's more believable. (Maybe he just knew Susan's general location in the movie.)


Edmund's Rescue.

In this version, the White Witch's army is not wholly assembled when Edmund is rescued. This makes it a lot more believable that the centaurs would be able to grab Edmund and get away. This version includes the Witch using magic to protect herself and Ginarrbrik (though they don't look like a tree and a boulder.) The harpy massacre is a bit much. We see Vardan, the non-Maugrim wolf, die, something we don't see in either the book or the movie. I'm neutral on that. The Pevensies actually see Edmund being brought back at night rather than waking up and finding him back in the morning. Lucy runs over and gives him a hug before he talks with Aslan. Peter's dialogue with Edmund afterwards (also at night) is very similar to the movie but the tone here implies that he's still angry with him. The final scene felt a lot more true to the book.


The Pevensies Decide to Stay and Fight

Unlike in the movie, Peter doesn't advocate the others going back and himself staying. I think the movie version made his character development more interesting. Susan vocally advocates them returning here. I actually like that she doesn't in the final version because it's different from what you'd expect based on her character up until now. I like it when things are a little different from what you expect. Also having Peter, Edmund and Lucy advocating the same thing makes it feel like Susan agreed out of peer pressure rather than because of a genuine change of heart. The unicorn talks in this version which is nice because unicorns talk in The Last Battle. It's also nice that Peter expresses concern with riding a creature with human intelligence even if he still does it. This version includes the detail about Aslan insisting the Witch leave her wand behind. Part of me wishes that was in the film though I appreciate the dramatic impact of cutting immediately from hearing about the parley to it actually happening.

The Meeting

The main difference between this scene and the movie version is that Lucy vocally criticizes Aslan for acquiescing to the Witch's claims. I really don't like this. It downplays how intimidated everyone is supposed to be by Aslan. (In the book, all Susan can do is hesitantly ask if they can do anything against the deep magic.) Mr. Beaver is the one who says, "try and take him then" and Aslan gets a line from the book in response. Another interesting change is that the White Witch taunts Edmund with the details of the bargain the two of them made. I wouldn't have minded if that had stayed in the script. On the whole, this scene wouldn't change much during the creative process.


Aslan and Peter Prepare for the Battle

In this deleted scene, Aslan preps Peter for the next day. I really wish this had stayed. It's a nice scene that's similar to the book and I really like the joke that Aslan makes. The only thing I dislike is Aslan saying that Peter's suggestion of moving the camp in case of a surprise attack is "worthy of a general." That's a pretty obvious thing to worry about. Peter doesn't deserve that much praise. (Maybe Aslan meant a thought worthy of a mediocre general.)

Aslan's Sacrifice

This scene wouldn't be changed that much in between drafts. The details that are different from the finished movie in this script tend to be closer to the book (like the hags being the first ones to attack Aslan.) I wish the beginning of the White Witch's speech had remained the same. "And now, Aslan, who has won?" sounds better to me than "You know, Aslan, I was a little disappointed in you." However I like that "Narnia is ours" went back to "the great cat lies dead." This script includes the moment from the book of the Witch's army going past the girls. That was a cool moment though it was probably too expensive to include in the final movie. Lucy trying unsuccessfully to revive Aslan with her cordial would be added later in the writing process. I liked that addition. The scene ends as soon as the girls realize that the mice are cutting the cords. It feels too abrupt for such a dramatic scene.

Before the Battle

In this version, Peter and Edmund don't hear about Aslan's death. They just wake up and find the girls and Aslan gone. I wish they could have kept Edmund's line to Peter, "you're sure a better choice (for a leader) than me." That would have been a good way to show Edmund's character development. There's a humorous moment where Peter forgets one of his shoes. I don't think that would have fit at all especially since we cut back from it to the dead Aslan. There's a nice conversation between Oerius and Edmund which I like but don't mind its deletion. There's also a moment where the Witch offers to withdraw her troops if Peter and Edmund give themselves up to her but the Narnians refuse. It's so obvious that the Narnians aren't going to agree that this is really pointless and I'm glad it was cut.

Aslan's Resurrection

Aslan's explanation for his non-permanent death is a little different here. He says that the deeper magic goes beyond rules to what is right and wrong. I'm not sure if that's profound or ridiculous. (Aren't rules supposed to be about right and wrong? :-? ) Susan and Lucy's reunion with Aslan is actually its own little scene. We then cut back to Peter and Edmund and then return to Aslan and the girls. I kind of like that Aslan's return is a separate scene. It gives it a greater impact than it has in the movie when the focus quickly turns back to the conflict with the Witch. But I'm not a fan of Aslan returning to camp, finding the army has already left and then going to free the statues. Having him go directly to the Witch's house makes it seem like he was planning this along.

Unenchanting the Statues.

Man, I wish the movie could have ended up being more like this! When Lucy and Susan are riding Aslan, we get the see the beavers' dam thawed which is cool. And we get to see Aslan leap over the wall or at least imply it. The freeing of the statues is slower paced and feels more like the book scene. This appeals to me since it's one of my favorite descriptions in the book. I also like how they intercut it with the battle here. (They go from Lucy being shocked at the sight of the stone Tumnus to a whole battlefield of the Witch's victims.) We even get Rumblebuffin smashing the walls.

The Battle

We explicitly see Peter's unicorn die. (I'm assuming it died in the movie too since it got shot but here we see it.) It's actually the one who kills the White Witch's general. (I believe Oerius does that in the movie.) The part where Edmund's siblings find his body is a little longer here, needlessly so. Both Aslan telling Lucy she has to leave Edmund and help other wounded soldiers and Edmund being knighted are included here. As a book fan, I appreciate this especially since it makes Lucy slightly less idealized compared to the other Pevensies. But I feel like the movie's pacing makes more cinematic sense.(That's a great thing about books. They don't have make cinematic sense.)

Coronation Celebration

This part is slower paced than the final movie would end up being. There's a pleasant scene of the characters walking towards Cair Paravel before the coronation. And afterwards, we see more of the ensuing celebration including a humorous moment with Edmund. I like these scenes (though Susan dancing with the fox would have looked weird) but I'm not choked up about them being cut. Instead of Tumnus being the one to crown all the kings and queens, each one is crowned by a Narnian with whom they have had a special relationship. An interesting idea but perhaps an overcomplicated one.

Hunting

Before the Pevensies hunt the White Stag, we get a brief scene of them as adults hanging out at Cair Paravel. Oerius and Tumnus are also present. Weirdly, they talk about the White Stag as if it's really important but they never say why. (A line from Susan implies that instead of granting wishes to its captors, it gives them great wisdom. :-?? Don't ask me why they made that change.) This script follows the book by having the adult Pevensies speak more formally than their young selves though the dialogue isn't from the book for the most part. This slower paced look at their adulthood might have been nice but I think the movie turned out fine without it.

Back at the Professor's

The dialogue between Peter and the professor is very similar to the movie's. But the tone is humorous rather than serious. I love the ending in the movie but I don't think I'd have minded if they'd kept with the comedy. After all, the book's ending is pretty humorous. This script doesn't include the professor's line about the Pevensies most likely returning to Narnia when they aren't looking for it. I'm glad they would add that to later drafts because it makes his advice more like that of his literary counterpart.

Final Thoughts

There are some things that I prefer about the old script and some things I prefer about the movie. On the whole, I think they made the final script was an improvement because the overarching characterizations were superior. But sometimes I still wish parts of the movie were closer to this version.
P.S.
Now that the Netflix series has been announced, no one is going to bother to read this topic. All that typing for nothing!
For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen
Col Klink
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Re: The Old Script for the LWW Movie

Postby Anfinwen » Oct 04, 2018 11:46 pm

Thank you for the link! I didn't know a previous draft was out there available to read! So cool! And thank you for the run down as it may be a while before I take a look at it myself.
Col Klink wrote:P.S.
Now that the Netflix series has been announced, no one is going to bother to read this topic. All that typing for nothing!

There's so much Netflix discussion right now that I feel a little overwhelmed!
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