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Narnia, Netflix, and Interactive Movies

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Narnia, Netflix, and Interactive Movies

Postby icarus » Mar 17, 2019 9:07 am

Most of you will probably be aware of Netflix's recent Interactive Movie episode of their Black Mirror series entitled "Bandersnatch" due to the fact that it co-starred Narnia's own Will Poulter and some of you may even have watched/played it yourself (for the record, my verdict on the episode was largely in-line with the review Collider published - i.e. conceptually interesting, but narratively shallow) however I have not yet seen much discussion on here regarding the wider implications for Netflix's overall corporate strategy and how that may or may not pertain to its intentions with Narnia.

For those that aren't aware, Netflix originally deployed the Interactive Movie technology somewhat under the radar with two shows aimed at kids - “Puss in Boots” and “Buddy Thunderstruck" - which from what I understand were fairly simple in their execution. However the executives at Netflix were very keen to develop the technology for adult audiences, and to use it as a means to provide complex branching narratives. Therefore, Netflix approached Charlie Brooker, creator of Black Mirror, to see if they could convince him to utilise it in an upcoming episode as a means to promote the technology with wider audiences, a decision which he initially rejected due to fears it was too gimmicky. It was only after he and his writing staff came up with a concept that they felt would fit thematically with the technology did they re-start talks with Netflix on the idea.

Anyway, since the success of Bandersnatch, Netflix are said to be "doubling down" on their Interactive Movie strategy, hiring people and companies specifically to develop and promote the technology, and have told fans to expect more and more interactive content over the coming years.

Therefore, given how hard Netflix pushed the Black Mirror team to take on the idea of doing an Interactive Movie in the first place, and given how much fanfare the company has made about its intentions to do more and more interactive content going forward, you would have to imagine it to be a near certainty that they now raise the idea of doing some form of interactive content with all of their creative partners, which obviously includes the Mark Gordon led eOne team developing the Narnia project.

Clearly interactive movies are not necessarily going to be the best fit for adapting stories with fixed, very well known, singular narratives like the Narnia Books (and i am not for a minute suggesting i would remotely be in favour of the idea) however, many people have noted the use of the phrase "Narnia universe" in the official press release and whether that leaves the door open for doing additional expanded universe content.

I can very easily imagine therefore that if I were a Netflix exec looking to push Interactive Content going forward, the idea of utilising a pre-existing universe that has built-in user awareness (and particularly one in which moral decision making is a key part of the books' overall ethos), that doing a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story set in Narnia would definitely be a very appealing prospect.

I'm interested to hear what people's thoughts are. I am not imagining there will be many people in favour of the idea, but it is certainly a realistic possibility of something that may happen, and therefore something worth considering.
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