Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

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Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby JFG II » May 29, 2019 10:34 am

Polly, Digory, Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, Shasta, Aravis, Caspian, Eustace, Jill & Tirian: There are 12 main human characters in The Chronicles. All are different ages. Or so we all thought. I’m interested in this topic, one that’s been posted elsewhere already. However, this time, I wish to focus on what we Narnia fans will expect from the Netflix adaptations, regarding the different ages of the child characters from the books.

As a kid reading the series, I imagined Peter in LWW was about 12 years old, Shasta & Aravis in HHB were both about 12, Digory & Polly in MN were both about 10 years old, and Eustace & Jill in SC both about 12... and then 13 in LB

I was surprised when I read C.S. Lewis’s timeline, which implied Jill & Eustace we’re both 9 years old in SC instead of 12 (and 16 in LB instead of 13), while Shasta is 14-15 years old, instead of 12 (he’s older than Peter in LWW, who’s 13.)

[Also, the timeline itself is different than what I imagined as a kid: Instead of LB taking place 1 year after SC, which I thought takes place 1 year after VDT, LB takes place 7 WHOLE YEARS after SC, which itself takes place only a few weeks after VDT.]

If those are the ages Lewis imagined for the characters, I will accept that. However, I am not at all obligated to, because Lewis never actually states the ages of the characters, leaving it to the imagination (except for Tirian who’s 20-25 in LB which is around Peter’s age in that book).

I hope the Netflix adaptations bring some variety and purpose to the different ages of the kids, particularly if they decide to film the books in chronological order.

One such possibility:

MN (2020)
Digory & Polly: 13 & 12 years old

LWW (2021)
Peter & Susan: 14 & 13 years old
Edmund & Lucy: 11 & 9 years old

HHB (2022)
Shasta & Aravis: 15 & 14 years old

PC (2023)
Peter, Susan & Caspian: 16 & 15 & 16 years old
Edmund & Lucy: 13 & 11 years old

VDT (2024)
Caspian: 17 years old
Edmund & Lucy: 14 & 12 years old
Eustace: 11 years old

SC (2025)
Jill & Eustace: Both 12 years old
Caspian Cameo: 18 years old

LB (2026)
Tirian: 20 years old
Jill & Eustace: Both 13 years old
(Acting Cameos:)
Digory & Polly: 19 & 18 years old
Peter & Susan & Caspian: 19 & 18 & 19 years old
Edmund & Lucy: 16 & 14 years old
Shasta & Aravis: 19 & 18 years old

And that’s assuming the same acting kids reprise their roles in all adaptations!
Sorry, this is so long. I’m done now, thanks! :ymblushing: :ymblushing:
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby decarus » Jun 23, 2019 7:05 am

I think making the characters teenagers at the very least is the way to go. I think that if they go all the way through all the stories, the goal would be that the actors not change too much over the time, so that they are recognizable when they meet Aslan in The Last Battle. I like the idea of Lucy being younger, but, in general, child actors are terrible and then become worse before they get better. For me, that means that even if they cast well for Lucy, she is going to get steadily worse as the seasons go on and they should try to take that into account by having some older actors that can hold their own against the problem of the younger actors.

Though, I really would rather them not have the characters to be too old. Caspian was way too old in the movie, but the Pevensies were the right age as was Eustace, though he could be a little older, but Caspian was nearly thirty which was way too old.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby coracle » Jun 23, 2019 10:16 am

Goodness, what have you got against child actors? :-\

In my experience, when they hit adolescence the lovely natural child actors get rather stiff and unreal, and just can't do what they did at 9 or 10. In which case, using young teens as children is awful.

Far better to have good child actors who are well trained and still know how to be natural. I've watched a lot of good BBC children's serials over the years, and back in the 70s they stuck to the young ages, instead of the 90s productions using adolescents of 14 or 15 who just look wrong playing as little kids.

Will Poulter was an exception: he was in his mid teens by the time they filmed VDT, but mercifully he'd not done his growing yet, or they would have had to cast another Eustace. He delivered a believable child character who was supposed to be younger than Lucy.

Caspian was meant to be the same age as Peter. The casting director had problems finding the right teenager, and ended up getting an adult in his late 20s, who'd been a child actor earlier on.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby Cleander » Jun 23, 2019 7:09 pm

coracle wrote:Goodness, what have you got against child actors? :-\

In my experience, when they hit adolescence the lovely natural child actors get rather stiff and unreal, and just can't do what they did at 9 or 10. In which case, using young teens as children is awful.

Far better to have good child actors who are well trained and still know how to be natural..


I may risk angering a lot of fellow fans by saying this, but I think this happened with Georgie Henley in VDT. She was SO good in the first two, but I think she eventually got more into "acting" rather than truly being the character. I suppose poor writing may have also had something to do with this, but it seemed like she was a little more forced than before.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby jewel » Jun 23, 2019 7:26 pm

For me, it's good either way. But the children in the pictures of the books do look much younger than those in the Disney movies.
While this maybe off topic, I wish they had added more well known cast into the Narnia movies.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby decarus » Jun 24, 2019 5:09 am

It is nothing against child actors. I just think that when they are young they are just doing it and if you find the right kid and have good direction then it works, but then they get a little older and go through what everyone goes through and they either get bored of the process or they get stuck in their head and not in the moment. It isn't about them as an individual person, but just having to go through the process of growing up while working must be a lot.

I also think that Georgie Henley got worse as it went on. Which is not a knock against her. Acting is hard and when they are in the awkward age, there is little chance that they will be able to do anything great at that time. Just think about the Harry Potter kids, who got bored for awhile and then stuck in their head for awhile, or like Henry from Once Upon A time, who got really bored of the process and never really got back into it.

All I was trying to say was that they need to have some older actors to counterbalance having the younger ones who won't be able to hold their own in the same way as they get older. That is just something they should think about when casting for age that maybe having the kids be a little older and more settled as actors is not a bad thing.

I, also, get why they picked Ben to play Caspian, but he was way too old and it never worked for me, especially as a counter to Peter which hopefully they will not do again and as a love interest to Susan which please let's hope they never do again.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby fantasia » Jun 24, 2019 7:59 am

I'm less concerned about a specific age than I am about ages relative to other characters.
Almost all of the Walden character actors were spot on, with the exception of Ben Barnes as Caspian in PC (he was a perfect age in VDT). I want Caspian in PC to be Edmund's age, not older than Peter. It changed the whole dynamic of how he interacted with the Pevensies.
I think Shasta and Aravis could stand to be older, like 16ish. Digory and Polly I'd like to see younger, around 10 where Lewis puts them.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby Jonathan Paravel » Jun 28, 2019 1:49 am

decarus wrote: Caspian was way too old in the movie, but the Pevensies were the right age as was Eustace, though he could be a little older, but Caspian was nearly thirty which was way too old.


Yes, in Walden's VDT, Caspian seemed much older than Edmund and Lucy. Compared to Eustace he was much much older. In the Netflix adaptations, I would like to see the same actor play Caspian in PC and VDT, but have him look literally 3 years older. (I thought I heard that it was 3 Narnian years between the two stories. Please correct me if I am wrong.)
In the BBC miniseries, I really liked the actor who played the older Caspian in VDT. And I like the fact that they chose a young boy to play him in the PC parts. I would hope for the best of both worlds this time around, and have him perhaps 13 in PC and 16 or 17 in VDT.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby decarus » Jun 28, 2019 6:29 am

I don't want them to recast any of the actors if they can help it. Peter even felt too old in PC. Though that had a lot to do with his behavior with all the eye rolling and just general nonsense and that he was standing opposite Caspian who was way too old made him feel even older.

Even with Digory and Polly if they show older versions of themselves, i think it would be great if they turned back into the younger versions of themselves when they entered Aslan's country.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby JFG II » Jun 28, 2019 12:10 pm

With regards to recasting characters (going from younger actors to older actors) in the middle of filming a TV series, I’m only OK with it if it is used tastefully and sensibly. Examples:

If Magician’s Nephew & Lion, Witch and Wardrobe are Season 1, it makes sense to recast Digory & Polly (both 11-12) with adult actors (both 50+) halfway through the Season.

It makes sense to show Shasta & Aravis (both 13-14) as adults at the end of Horse and His Boy.

If Prince Caspian & Voyage if Dawn Treader are Season 2, it makes sense to recast young Caspian (13-14) with an older actor (16-17) halfway through the Season.

If Silver Chair & Last Battle are Season 3, it makes sense to recast Eustace & Jill (both 9-10) with older actors (both 16-17) halfway through the Season.

Of course that could be emotionally jarring (you’d lose actors you grow to like) so maybe i’d avoid it. But it COULD work, in theory. Aslan would be the only consistent actor in the TV series (if that’s what it is).
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jun 28, 2019 1:49 pm

JFG II wrote:With regards to recasting characters (going from younger actors to older actors) in the middle of filming a TV series, I’m only OK with it if it is used tastefully and sensibly. Examples:

If Magician’s Nephew & Lion, Witch and Wardrobe are Season 1, it makes sense to recast Digory & Polly (both 11-12) with adult actors (both 50+) halfway through the Season.

It makes sense to show Shasta & Aravis (both 13-14) as adults at the end of Horse and His Boy.

If Prince Caspian & Voyage if Dawn Treader are Season 2, it makes sense to recast young Caspian (13-14) with an older actor (16-17) halfway through the Season.

If Silver Chair & Last Battle are Season 3, it makes sense to recast Eustace & Jill (both 9-10) with older actors (both 16-17) halfway through the Season.

Of course that could be emotionally jarring (you’d lose actors you grow to like) so maybe i’d avoid it. But it COULD work, in theory. Aslan would be the only consistent actor in the TV series (if that’s what it is).

I think it would be emotionally jarring for me in some of these cases. It wouldn't make sense to not recast Digory and Polly given the dramatic age difference.

I don't think it's necessary to recast Shasta and Aravis for the Great Reunion scene. We could just rely on Star Wars Special Edition logic for that (e.g. having Hayden Christensen appear as a Force ghost instead of Sebastian Shaw).

The ones I would have a problem with are Jill & Eustace and Caspian. I don't think it adds too much to the story to have Jill and Eustace be teenagers, so I could easily see them being younger in LB. Caspian is maybe a bot more of a stretch because you might want to show the passage of time between PC and VDT, but I don't think it's worth recasting personally.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby decarus » Jun 28, 2019 8:16 pm

Well with Digory and Polly who are like 50 years older between MN and the rest of the books, sure you recast. I don't think they should recast anyone else. I, also, think it works a lot better with doing MN as flashbacks later in the shows run. I don't think that i would split the stories up into seasons quite so neatly as all that. I would rather run it all together into one long story.

I can't imagine they will do that. Especially with Douglas Gresham still involved and if they are actually thinking about trying a new beginning even though MN is not the beginning.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 28, 2019 8:34 pm

Here's a bit of a crazy idea regarding Caspian... what if they cast the actor for PC around the same time as the actors for LWW (about the same age as Peter's actor), and shoot his PC scenes concurrent with (or even a bit before) filming LWW? Caspian doesn't appear in very many scenes with the Pevensies in the book, and they do an awful lot with green screens nowadays to bring characters together when the actors have never been in the same room. This way, when VDT rolls around, the boy playing Caspian will have aged a few years, whereas those playing Lucy and Edmund will only be a little older than they were for PC.

Seems like it could work in theory, but it would probably be a nightmare in terms of scheduling, contracts, et cetera. And kids don't always age at the same rate, too, and that would be a lot of trouble and money down the drain if it worked out that way. They'd get points for doing something ambitious, though.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby decarus » Jun 29, 2019 5:17 am

That's a good idea. It is too bad that they will probably be unwilling to film more than one season at a time because they will probably want to see what comes of the first season first. That is always the biggest issue. That they will probably be unwilling to take the chance on filming multiple things at a time. Though, honestly, i am not sure how much it matters whether or not Caspian is three years older or not in VDT. They could just continue on with him being the age he is after PC.
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby JFG II » Jun 29, 2019 12:15 pm

Reepicheep775 wrote:I think it would be emotionally jarring for me in some of these cases. It wouldn't make sense to not recast Digory and Polly given the dramatic age difference.

I don't think it's necessary to recast Shasta and Aravis for the Great Reunion scene. We could just rely on Star Wars Special Edition logic for that (e.g. having Hayden Christensen appear as a Force ghost instead of Sebastian Shaw).

The ones I would have a problem with are Jill & Eustace and Caspian. I don't think it adds too much to the story to have Jill and Eustace be teenagers, so I could easily see them being younger in LB. Caspian is maybe a bot more of a stretch because you might want to show the passage of time between PC and VDT, but I don't think it's worth recasting personally.


Thanks for the ideas, guys!

Caspian doesn't have to be recast - especially if all the adaptations are filmed a year apart from each other. Instead of going from age 13 to age 16, he could go from age 14 in PC to age 15 in VDT. Young, yes, but closer in age to Edmund (12-14), Lucy (10-12) and Eustace (9-11).

Also 15-year-olds (sometimes) can look much older than 14-year-olds, especially if 14 acts younger than he is, and 15 acts older than he is. Might work.

And... Yeah - I guess it doesnt add much to show Eustace and Jill as Teenagers (unless - similar to the original Lion King - showing the children meeting the Pevensies and growing into adults over a Season resonates with viewers), so instead of going from ages 9 to 16, do the middle ground: Go from ages 12 to 13.

I have no idea what's in store for Narnia in the 2020's: I just know that when we get word on what the plan is in adaptating the books, I'll be making ALL SORTS of weird predictions!
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Re: Ages of the Kids - Books vs Adaptations

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 30, 2019 10:02 am

Mod Note: Just now realizing that this discussion belongs in Cast and Character Discussion. ;)) Moved. :)

JFG II wrote:I have no idea what's in store for Narnia in the 2020's: I just know that when we get word on what the plan is in adaptating the books, I'll be making ALL SORTS of weird predictions!


Welcome to the club. ;))

I'm a little surprised, but Caspian's age is a bit of a sticking point for me — I think it's because he seems a lot more childlike in PC, and is coming into his own as king in VDT. It feels like there should be more of an age difference there. Maybe the most straightforward solution is to cast a younger actor for Caspian in the early PC scenes when his Nurse is still around and when he first meets Doctor Cornelius.
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