One of the most underrated films (as far as we can tell) hitting this summer is the fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. We've hardly given it much of a mention, besides the first trailer, but all of that is about to change.
If you've watched any of the trailers and been confused by who is who and what exactly is going on, we've got some much-needed clarification. AOL published a complete character guide and we've included some of the more interesting and lesser-known characters from Prince Caspian below, including first look photos of Reepicheep, Trufflehunter, and Lord Sopespian.
To get everyone up to speed, here is the complete synopsis. One year after the incredible events of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the Kings and Queens of Narnia find themselves back in that faraway wondrous realm, only to discover that more than 1300 years have passed in Narnian time. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz, who rules the land without mercy.
The four children will soon meet an intriguing new character: Narnia's rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian, who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne.
The Good Guys:
An honorable Centaur (is there any other kind?), Glenstorm is also an astronomer charged with watching the skies for portents. And he's good at his job. Glenstorm knows what Caspian will try to achieve before he even attempts it. At the Narnian Council, the centaur encourages the old Narnians to trust in Caspian's commitment to bring freedom to all.
Reepicheep, voiced by Eddie Izzard, stands proud as the Chief Mouse among the Narnian soldiers. The first to answer Prince Caspian's clarion call, he's a force with which to be reckoned. "I stole liberally from Reepicheep when I created Puss In Boots in 'Shrek,'" Adamson says. Although hardly a Latin lover like Puss, Reep is a confident, sword-wielding "cutie-pie."
An honest and faithful badger, Trufflehunter helps young Caspian evade Telmarine soldiers in the Great Woods and then ministers to the wounded Prince. But Trufflehunter's skills far exceed dressing cuts and giving Telmarines the slip. "He's the keeper of knowledge," says Adamson, "a walking and talking Narnian library and totally old-school."
Good things come in small packages, but sometimes you have to wait for them. Red Dwarf Trumpkin (voiced by Peter Dinklage), one of the old Narnians, starts out as a total cynic who doesn't believe in magic, Aslan or the Pevensies. But he gradually comes around and transforms into a steadfast friend, especially to Lucy, who melts his curmudgeonly defenses.
The true heir to Narnia and sworn enemy of his evil uncle Miraz who usurped the throne, Caspian asks the Narnians to help him restore justice to the kingdom. "'Caspian' is a coming-of-age and, to some degree, a loss-of-innocence story," Adamson says, "with Caspian starting out quite naïve, then craving revenge and finally letting go of the vengeance."
Caspian's teacher is a wise old dwarf/Telmarine hybrid versed in ancient lore and possessing magic chops to boot. He helps Caspian escape Miraz's clutches, and in a case of quid pro quo, the prince springs the doc from captivity during the raid on Miraz's castle. Says Adamson, "Think Aristotle tutoring a young Alexander the Great and you've got it."
The Bad Guys:
After the Pevensies disappeared, Telmarines invaded Narnia, and all who remained loyal to Aslan were banished to the Great Woods. Says Adamson, "The Telmarines began as pirates, and their code of conduct — if you could call it that — is an underhanded free-for-all with everyone plotting against each other to gain position." Sounds like good times.
"The villains in this film are fascinating, with Miraz the primary big bad [guy] to Caspian's shining beacon of virtue," Adamson says. Miraz's obsession is to remain King of Narnia so that he can pass the throne on to his heir apparent — his son, of course. That means snuffing out the infant (and true heir to the throne) Caspian.
The evil lord conspires with Glozelle to kill Miraz in order to make his own play for the Narnian throne. "In some ways Sopespian turns out to be the real bad guy of the film," Adamson says. "Where it seems that Miraz has the upper hand at the beginning, we see that Sopespian - like Shakespeare's Iago - is trying to manipulate the situation."
"If you think Trumpkin's cornered the market on cynicism, meet Nikabrik," Adamson says. A Black Dwarf consumed by anger, Nikabrik's first knee-jerk response is to kill Prince Caspian because he's a Telmarine. With an allegiance that shifts as easily as a gust of wind, underestimating this pint-sized conniver's capability to double-cross could be fatal.
Wearing a dark cloak to conceal his intentions, the Werewolf is a fallen Narnian who tries to manipulate Caspian into allying with a dangerous old enemy. It's reputed that the Werewolf can "drink a river of blood and not burst" and that when fully transformed into his lupine state, his bite can turn a man into a, well, you know.
Stay tuned for even more coverage as we lead up to the May release of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Don't forget to check out the complete character guide over at AOL for photos and information on every last character, including the Pevensie siblings.
While it's not anywhere near the top of my most anticipated list for this summer, Caspian is still a movie I'm very much looking forward to. I didn't love the first one, but this second one looks much darker, deeper, and entertaining. The characters, as we can see above, are incredibly dynamic and there seems to be a very good story, similar to Lord of the Rings. I'm certainly hoping this one isn't a let down.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is co-written and directed by Andrew Adamson, who directed the first Chronicles of Narnia as well as Shrek and Shrek 2. The movie is based on the second book in C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series. Prince Caspian arrives in theaters everywhere on May 16th!