The Chronicles of Narnia is a criminally underrated movie franchise. Anyone born in the 1990s has seen The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) countless times. For some, it was the very first fantasy epic that captured their attention like no other. It’s almost like a literary (and movie) stepping stone to The Lord of the Rings.
Between The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian (2008), and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), The Chronicles of Narnia franchise grossed over $1.5 billion at the box office. Though the films were expensive to make, their financial success was astounding. The first film, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, brought in nearly $750,000,000 at the box office. The sequels were unable to pull in as much money despite having higher budgets but should be considered success stories in their own right.
With the first movie in the franchise coming out over 12 years ago, it’s important to look back on some of our favorite characters to see where they are now. For many of the young actors, The Chronicles of Narnia was their break into the movie business. For others, it was just another movie credit on an already impressive resume.
15. Georgie Henley — Lucy Pevensie
Georgie Henley appeared as Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when she was only 10 years old. Could she have asked for a better blockbuster to break into the movie world? Probably not.
Since moving on from The Chronicles of Narnia series, Georgie has only acted in three other movies. The films, Perfect Sisters (2014), The Sisterhood of Night (2014), and most recently, Access All Areas (2017), found moderate success. However, Henley has found great success acting on the stage rather than on the screen. While studying at Cambridge University (and working toward a Bachelor of Arts in English) Henley appeared in a number of productions both onstage and behind the scenes. As of recently, Henley has taken a great interest in directing. In 2015, she directed and wrote her first film, TIDE.
14. Peter Dinklage — Trumpkin
Due to the absurd success of Game of Thrones, you’re probably already familiar with Peter Dinklage. You may not, however, recognize him from Prince Caspian. Though Trumpkin was crucial to the plot of Prince Caspian, he’s only briefly mentioned in any other books in The Chronicles of Narnia, and doesn’t appear in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
With a lengthy and diverse portfolio of acting work, Peter Dinklage has managed to turn himself into a household name. In the early stages of his career, a number of roles he was offered revolved around being a person with dwarfism — for example, when he appeared as Miles Finch in Elf (2003). But Dinklage is comfortable enough in his own body to take these roles in stride. One of few roles that Dinklage was offered that did not have to do with his dwarfism was Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).
13. William Moseley — Peter Pevensie
At 30 years of age today, William Moseley was the oldest of the Pevensie children. Moseley landed the role of Peter Pevensie after the casting director hired him as an extra in 1998 as part of a TV movie. Fast forward seven years later, the casting director, Pippa Hall, recognized Moseley and immediately recommended him for the role of Peter Pevensie.
Unlike some of his onscreen younger siblings, Moseley has gone on to have a respectable movie career. He’s appeared in small roles on television and landed a number of large roles in European movies that have had varying success.
You can expect to see Moseley in a live-action version of The Little Mermaid set to be released on Netflix sometime in the next few months. This version of The Little Mermaid is based on the original novel by Hans Christian Andersen — not the Disney classic that we all know and love. Sorry, no singing crabs.
12. Tilda Swinton — Jadis, The White Witch
There’s a lot you can say about the illustrious career that Tilda Swinton had before she appeared as Jadis, the White Witch. Though she was only a main character in the first Chronicles of Narnia film, she made cameo appearances in Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Nonetheless, she absolutely killed her role as the White Witch. She scared children all around the world with her manipulative, menacing, and diabolic depiction of Jadis. It was incredible.
Today, Swinton keeps adding a number of successful films to her IMDB page. Every movie she appears in seems to be a home run either critically or commercially. Most recently, you will have seen Tilda Swinton in Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Snowpiercer (2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Hail, Caesar! (2016), and the Netflix orginals Okja (2017) and War Machine (2017).
You can catch Tilda Swinton in her next film, Isle of Dogs (2018), that’s guaranteed to be a success. The movie is filled with A-list celebrities and is directed by Wes Anderson, who never fails to disappoint.
11. Anna Popplewell — Susan Pevensie
Anna Popplewell, 28, was the second-oldest Pevensie sibling. She was 17 years old when The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was released. Popplewell had established herself as a young actress in the years building up to her role as Susan Pevensie. You may recognize her from Mansfield Park (1999), The Little Vampire (2000), or the universally loved (just kidding) movie Thunderpants (2001).
Since appearing as Susan Pevensie, Popplewell has seemed to focus her career on television roles. She starred in the hit web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn as Chyler Silva. The following year, Popplewell starred in Reign (2013-2016). Her role in the critically acclaimed series last 62 episodes over 3 seasons.
10. James McAvoy — Mr. Tumnus
When James McAvoy appeared in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, he was in the early stages of his career. While he had credits to his name (including one Bollywood film), he hadn’t become a household name. That, seemingly changed, after he wowed audiences with his role as Mr. Tumnus. Believe it or not, C.S. Lewis (the author of The Chronicles of Narnia) said that the entire series was inspired by a mental image he had in his head. That image was a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy forest.
Like I said before, McAvoy’s career picked up after appearing as a faun. He starred in The Last King of Scotland (2006), Becoming Jane (2007), and Wanted (2008), the latter of which seemed to make his career falter slightly. Regardless, McAvoy became a household name a few years later when he appeared as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class (2011). In the same year, McAvoy was offered the role of Gnomeo in the critically acclaimed animated film, Gnomeo & Juliet. For a movie with a terrible pun in the name, it’s a surprisingly enjoyable watch!
9. Will Poulter — Eustace Scrubb
By no means is Will Poulter a household name, but everyone recognizes his face. When he appears on screen, most people comment, ‘Oh! It’s that kid.’ Due to how many high-profile films Poulter has appeared in, it seems like he’s been around a lot longer than he has. His appearance as Eustace Scrubb in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was his second film role. Since then, he’s been making a name for himself.
If you tend to avoid movies directed toward children and teenagers, you may recognize Poulter from his role in We’re The Millers (2013). The movie was funnier than it had any right being, and Poulter won audiences over when he successfully rapped Waterfalls by TLC. Besides showing off his comedic chops, Poulter proved he could act when he appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in The Revenant (2015).
If you’re a fan of movies based on books, you’ll be looking forward to seeing Poulter reprise his role as Gally in the final installation of the Maze Runner series. Maze Runner: The Death Cure is set to be released in February 2018.
8. Skandar Keynes — Edmund Pevensie
Skandar Keynes, now 25, was an awkward 14-year-old when he first appeared as Edmund Pevensie. Though The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe wasn’t Skandar Keynes’s first acting role, it was his big break. A little-known fact about Keynes is that while filming The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, his voice began to change due to puberty. The director, Andrew Adamson, used Keynes’s sister, Soumaya, to voice some of her brother’s lines in the movie!
Despite starting his career in such a promising way, Keynes announced that he was retiring from acting in 2016, two years after his last acting role, The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty: In Freedom’s Cause.
Skandar Keynes, who’s the great-great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, nephew of two Cambridge professors, and great grandson of two Nobel Prize laureates, shifted his career to focus on politics. Today, he works as a parliamentary adviser to Crispin Blunt, MP. Maybe he’ll become the first child star turned Prime Minister!
7. Jim Broadbent — Professor Kirke
Jim Broadbent has been an actor for so long that he just has a face that everyone recognizes. There’s no doubt that British film fans know his name, but to anyone who’s only seen Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Gangs of New York (2002), or Hot Fuzz (2007), he’s just a familiar face. He may never have a main role in the movies we love, but he’s familiar enough that everyone recognizes him. Based on his current career, it’s not surprising that he was offered the minor role of Professor Kirke in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Keeping his career simple, Broadbent continues to land roles that aren’t minor, but they aren’t always starring roles either. Nonetheless, the roles he lands are always in blockbuster films. Most recently, you would have seen him in Paddington (2014), Brooklyn (2015), Eddie the Eagle (2016), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), and Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016). You can expect him to reprise his role as Samuel Gruber in Paddington 2, set to release later this year.
6. Kiran Shah — Ginarrbrik
Overcoming insane odds, Kiran Shah managed to find work as a Kenyan-born stuntman, who happens to be a dwarf. He’s often confused for Deep Roy (I made this mistake), another Kenyan dwarf actor who played the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).
Though Shah set the record for world’s shortest stuntman (appearing in 37 movies), he also has found work as an actor. His most famous work as an actor is, without a doubt, his role as Ginarrbrik in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. With that in mind, you’ll be surprised to know how many other of your favorite movies he’s appeared in.
For example, Shah worked as Elijah Wood‘s stunt double and stand-in in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He appeared again as a hobbit (this time Bilbo) in The Hobbit films directed by Peter Jackson. He’s only one of three actors to have a titular role in The Hobbit films.
5. Michael Madsen — Maugrim
Michael Madsen was the voice of one of the scariest wolves ever seen on the big screen. Maugrim is the captain of the White Witch’s Secret Police. One of the tensest scenes in The Chronicles of Narnia franchise is when Maugrim and a few other wolves are sent to search the home of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, ordered to kill anyone that they find.
For Michael Madsen, the role of Maugrim was something that he would’ve taken just for the fun of it. He’s an established actor in his own right, known for working on a number of Quentin Tarantino films such as Reservoir Dogs (1992), Kill Bill (2003), Sin City (2005), and most recently, The Hateful Eight (2015).
Besides working with Tarantino, Madsen has had a number of personal issues — and his movie roles reflect that. In 2009, Madsen had to borrow $1 million from Quentin Tarantino and another $25,000 from Pierce Brosnan to help pay off some debt. In 2012, Madsen was arrested for assaulting one of his sons. A few months later, he was arrested for drunk driving and was forced to spend 30 days in a rehabilitation center. In 2013, Madsen was ordered by the IRS to pay $400,000 in tax from the mid-nineties.
4. Liam Neeson — Aslan
Liam Neeson‘s filmography is so vast that it needs its own Wikipedia page. Quite a few of these roles are pretty badass. If you line up the majority of Neeson’s roles, you could have them duke it out in some sort of battle royal, and it would be difficult to predict a winner. For example, he played Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) and also landed the role of Zeus in Clash of the Titans (2010). Then again, he trained Batman in Batman Begins (2005) and fought an alpha male wolf with nothing but a poorly made shank in The Grey (2012). And, of course, Neeson used his beautiful Irish accent to voice the mighty Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia series. If they ever remake them, either as a TV series or whatever, they need to cast Neeson as Aslan again.
At 65 years old, you may expect Neeson to slow his acting career down. It seems like he’s aware of the physical limitations that he has because of his age because he’s started taking a number of more ‘tame’ roles. These roles include work as the Narrator in The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016) and playing a priest in Silence (2016).
3. Ray Winstone — Mr. Beaver
Roger Ebert once called Ray Winstone “one of the best actors now at work in movies.” Though Winstone only used his voice for his role in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it’s safe to say that he won the audience over. Seriously, Mr. Beaver has to be one of the best characters to come out of that franchise. He was just so lovable. It’s probably because he was a simple beaver doing everything he could to rid the world of evil.
Compared to the rest of Winstone’s career, Mr.Beaver was a very tame role. For the most part, Winstone is known for playing the tough guy in movies. Since wrapping his role as Mr. Beaver, Winstone went back to being a tough guy in The Departed (2006) as Arnold a.k.a. Mr. French. Though he’s done some more voice work (including a role in Range (2011) and Killzone 3 (2011), Winstone continues to shine on screen.
2. Dawn French — Mrs. Beaver
Much like her beaver husband, before appearing in The Chronicles of Narnia, Dawn French had made a name for herself in the British film industry. With 7 British Academy Television Awards nominations on her resume, French has spent her time focusing on her theater and television career more than her film career.
Her most famous role was Geraldine Granger in the television series The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007) where she earned a majority of her awards nominations. It’s surprising that someone with a career such as hers took on such a minor role in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but we’re glad that she did.
Since wrapping The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, French voiced Miss Miriam Forcible in Coraline (2009) and has been focusing her attention on her television and theater performances. At nearly 60 years old (and her career slowing down), it seems that French is getting ready to retire.
1. Ben Barnes — Prince Caspian X
For such a young actor, Ben Barnes has really made his name known in the British entertainment industry. Without a doubt, his role as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was the start of his career. It was the role that put him into the limelight, though he had spent most of his teenage years (and young adult life) performing in plays.
After appearing in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as King Caspian X, Barnes continued to find work in movies for a few years. However, his last film roles were back in 2014, and it looks like he’s now focusing on his career on television and in music. As a talented singer, Barnes sang 9 songs for the soundtrack of Jackie & Ryan, one of the last movies he appeared in.
If you’ve been keeping up with your comic book Netflix series, you may be excited to see Ben Barnes play Billy Russo in the upcoming series The Punisher. It’s a vastly different role from King Caspian, so we’re hoping that he nails the role. The first season of The Punisher is set to be released later this year.
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