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WIRE BUZZ: Netflix's Narnia franchise sets architect, Don Cheadle joins Quibi sci-fi project, more

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Jul 15, 2019, 12:01 PM EDT (Updated)

Last year, Netflix announced an agreement with the C.S. Lewis Company to generate new adaptations of the author's enormously popular The Chronicles of Narnia series. The Netflix incarnation will take the form of both new films and new series focusing on Narnia and its many characters, and now the whole project has one mind at its center.

Matthew Aldrich, best known as the co-writer of Pixar's Oscar-winning hit Coco, has been tapped by Netflix to oversee all development and creative decisions made on the upcoming Narnia projects, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Aldrich won the job after a massive search by Netflix, and will be in charge of a still-unknown number of feature film and TV series projects within the Narnia universe.

The Narnia world has been adapted numerous times already, with the biggest effort being a trio of films adapting the first three books in the series released between 2005 and 2010. Those films grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and now Netflix is taking a big swing at an even more ambitious adaptation effort.

There's no word yet on exactly how the films and shows will intertwine, or what we'll see from the Narnia project first.

The upcoming shortform streaming service Quibi has added another major star to its growing roster of content. Variety reports that Don Cheadle, fresh off the triumph of Avengers: Endgame, has joined the platform's sci-fi drama project Don't Look Deeper. Set "fifteen minutes into the future," the series will center on a teenage girl who realizes that something is not quite right with her, and that she may not be human. This realization triggers a chain of events that throws her life into danger.

Cheadle will star in the series alongside Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns) and Helena Howard (Madeline's Madeline). Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) will direct the series, while Jeffrey Lieber (Lost) will serve as showrunner.

Quibi is short for "quick bites," and is set to feature serialized stories delivered to consumers in the form of 5-10 minute "chapters." The platform is set to launch next April from founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, and already includes a roster of major talent including Guillermo del Toro and Steven Spielberg, who's writing a new horror series for the platform. Quibi hopes to release 7,000 pieces of content within its first year alone.

Last year we learned that Warner Bros. Animation was planning an ambitious new slate of Looney Tunes cartoon shorts, and now we've finally seen the first fruits of that labor.

Warners took more than a dozen of the new Looney Tunes shorts, the first major push of its kind in decades, to the Annecy International Animation Festival this week and showed them off in a presentation on Wednesday. After the presentation Warner Bros. released one of the shorts to the press, and you can check it out now.

Titled "Dynamite Dance," the worldless short features the classic pairing of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny as the hunter once again falls prey to his target, with Bugs generating increasingly elaborate ways to blow Elmer up with dynamite. The short is the first one we've seen of what will ultimately be more than 200 short films comprising more than 1,000 minutes of new Looney Tunes content. In a press release accompanying the short, Warner Bros. noted that the cartoons, released under the banner Looney Tunes Cartoons, will be released in a variety of ways, "including digital, mobile and broadcast."