[M]uch of the prerelease chatter about “Prince Caspian” has been about a new element that the filmmakers contributed: a romance between Caspian and Susan. [Ben] Barnes said he initially shared the concerns of many die-hard Narnia fans: “I was deeply concerned about [the romance].”
Director Andrew Adamson carefully defended the plot addition. “I think it’s very sensitively handled,” he said. “The kids are growing up. If you look at Ben and you look at Anna, it seems really implausible that they wouldn’t have some feelings for each other.”
Plus, when you’re trying to foist your unknown, valiantly cleft-chinned British lead on the public, giving his character a romantic angle is just another way to appeal to the girls in the audience. Still, if you’ve read through the Narnia books, you may remember that Susan is the character who in the final volume is punished, punished, punished for growing up and turning her attention to boys and become “interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations” by being, essentially, left out of heaven. So one would guess the fans’ issues are less with the fact that the puppy love in question wasn’t in the original book, and more that its addition treads on what was famously harsh (and emotionally scarring) treatment of one of the series’ initial main characters from author C.S. Lewis.
[Photo: Ben Barnes and Anna Popplewell in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” Walt Disney Studios, 2008]