Disney Abandons ‘Narnia’ Franchise, Third Film Now In Doubt

Rumors swirled all summer that Disney was no longer interested in continuing the Narnia franchise after “Prince Caspian” failed to ignite the box office. Disney denied such talk, but later confirmed they would end the series as a trilogy with “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” But it looks like the rumor machine was right after all. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has jumped ship on the third “Narnia” film, leaving Walden Media without a co-financier.

The third installment was already in the pre-production stages, with director Michael Apted taking over for Andrew Adamson, and the film’s stars — Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell — set to return for the third film. It was set to begin shooting in spring, with a planned release date of May 2010.

While Walden Media is shopping the film around, the loss of Disney’s participation casts some doubt on all that assembled talent. It’s very likely that Fox will pick up “Dawn Treader” under their Fox Walden banner.

It’s certainly disappointing news for “Narnia” fans this holiday season, isn’t it? While the series didn’t seem to ignite pop culture the way “The Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter” has, it had its fans. Disney’s goal of filming all seven books was an impressive one, and suggested fantasy geeks would have something to tide them over between “Potter” films.

Even if you found the films lacking (and I did), it’s disappointing to see them pull the plug — especially before “Dawn Treader,” which was my personal favorite. Maybe we’ll see another studio sail the Narnian seas, but for now, you’ll have to content yourself with the paperbacks.

MTV readers, are you disappointed that we might see the end of the Narnia saga? Or at least the end of Ben Barnes’ Prince Caspian? Share your thoughts below!