The four Pevensie children (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley) return to Narnia 1000 years in the future to aid Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) in his struggle for the throne against his corrupt uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). The film was released on May 16, 2008 in the United States and on June 26, 2008 in the United Kingdom. The screenplay based on the novel by C. S. Lewis was written by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus.
This was notably the last Narnia film to be directed by Andrew Adamson, who held over the reins to Michael Apted for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Disney opted to drop the franchise after this film and it was picked up by 20th Century Fox.
- 0% Approval Rating: Miraz is not a very popular lord and king. Members of his council goad him into accepting Peter's Duel to the Death, and disobey his instructions to seal his victory via treachery should the fight go sour. Sopespian, his Number Two, outright murders him after the duel concludes with no fatality.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In spades. In the book, none of the Pevensies seemed too affected by abruptly leaving Narnia and becoming children again, after having ruled as kings and queens for over a decade and all but forgetting their old lives. In the film, both Peter and Susan have been affected badly - Peter getting into fights and Susan becoming anti-social. Peter and Caspian likewise have a rivalry that isn't in the book.
- Adaptational Badass:
- The River God goes from a minor spirit asking Aslan to free him from the Telmarine bridge to a powerful water deity that drowns the Telmarine army and swallows Lord Sopespian.
- Susan was given the moniker "The Gentle" for a reason, and had a very passive role in the book. Here, she becomes a total Action Girl, killing the enemies with arrows just by throwing them and holding off a group of soldiers alone with her bow and quiver of arrows. She's also seen fighting alongside the guys in just about every battle sequence.
- Adaptational Context Change:
- We find out that Miraz murdered Caspian's father earlier in the book, and this is why Caspian knows what his uncle is capable of. In the film Caspian finds out much later, and is prompted to try and take revenge for it.
- Miraz's attempted assassination of Caspian is likewise different. In the book Miraz is already king and only targets Caspian to secure his son's claim on the throne, having previously been content with Caspian as his heir. Here Miraz is just the Lord Protector and targets Caspian in order to become King after the birth of his son secures the future succession.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Queen Prunaprismia in the book is a harpy that despises Caspian. In the film she shows no ill-will towards him — and expresses genuine horror at learning that Miraz murdered his brother.
- Glozelle is also depicted as a reluctant follower to Miraz, with all his evil deeds given to Sopespian.
- Zigzagged with Sopespian himself, whose motives for trying to get Miraz killed are more open to interpretation than they were in the book.
- Adaptational Ugliness: The hag in the book is able to pass for an old woman, and the BBC adaptation had her as mostly humanoid. Here she has a parrot-like beak and a far more alien appearance.
- Adaptational Villainy: The Miraz of the book didn't demand his nobles secure his victory via treachery if he failed to overcome Peter.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- Miraz seems to be a less effective schemer than his book counterpart who was able to make himself king before the story starts, having quietly disposed of any Telmarine lord who would support Caspian and getting his sycophants to support his claim. Here he's still the Lord Protector and still has to answer to the Council of Lords and isn't able to become King until after Caspian's attack on the castle.
- He's also less effective as a combatant in the film. Miraz eventually loses his duel with Peter despite calling a break to try to get the drop on Peter and stab him In the Back. In the book, Peter never manages to beat him: the duel was stopped after Miraz tripped and his own lords backstabbed him.
- Adaptation Expansion:
- In the book, Nikabrik, the hag and the werewolf only suggest resurrecting the White Witch and are stopped before they can go through with it. In the film, they partially succeed, and the Witch is very nearly liberated from the spirit realm. Peter himself seems tempted by the Witch's offer to help them, until Edmund destroys the portal.
- Miraz’s wife and son are featured more and they willingly leave to another world along with General Glozelle after Miraz's defeat.
- The raid on the castle takes up a considerable portion of the second act. In the book, the idea was only discussed, and was quickly abandoned.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
- In this version, the pirates from Earth that became the Telmarines in Narnia were Spaniards, if not conquistadors outright: it still shows in their people, who are portrayed by actors of ethnicities from all around the Spanish Empire, as well as their weapons and armors, which are distinctively from the 16-17th century Spain. However, it is not explained why this cultural heritage doesn't extend to their names, as all of them retain the very Anglo-Saxon-sounding names from the original book (Caspian, Glozelle, Sopespian...), or why they use solely Narnian language, which literally came from English in-universe. Considering the Spain of the period was almost constantly in war with England, adopting local names and languages that sounded like English of all things would have been the most baffling decision for them.
- Like in the book, Trumpkin still deduces right away that the four children who save him from drowning are the ancient monarchs of Narnia, summoned to help by Queen Susan's magic horn. However in the film Trumpkin was not immediately present when the horn was blown, as he charged off to fight the soldiers pursuing Caspian, and was not present for the explanation of the horn's power either. In the book the horn was blown much later, with all of Caspian's supporters present, and Trumpkin was specifically sent to Cair Paravel, as it was predicted that the help would likely arrive there.
- Adaptation Personality Change:
- Trumpkin is more cynical and snarky than his book counterpart.
- Miraz in the book was a traditional evil yet cowardly monarch, whereas in the film he is cold-blooded, calculating, and seems unafraid of anything.
- Adapted Out: Caspian's Nurse, Bacchus and Silenus, Aslan's journey with Lucy and Susan
- Age Lift: Caspian in the book is simply described as a boy as old as Peter — though the BBC adaptation depicted him as a young boy. The film ages him up considerably. This happens with the Pevensies too, although only a year has passed. They are much older than they were in the book.
- Animals Not to Scale: The tigers are far smaller than they should be, being not much bigger than the wolves. The mice are much larger than ordinary mice, but this is justified as Narnian mice apparently grew when they became sentient (according to the book The Magician's Nephew).
- Any Last Words?: Reepicheep tells Prince Caspian to choose his last words carefully.Caspian: You are a mouse.
Reepicheep: (sighs) I was hoping for something a little more original. Pick up your sword.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The sinister magic words the hag uses in her ceremony to summon the White Witch? They're actually the lyrics to an Arabic love song! According to the director's commentary, the actress's grandmother used to sing her that song, which she then used for the chant.
- Ascended Fridge Horror: The film decides to explore the psychological affects of living as an adult monarch for fifteen years and then being plonked back into a child's body.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Intentionally invoked. With a few cutting remarks, Edmund gets Miraz to accept Peter's duel challenge.Edmund: So you're bravely refusing to fight a swordsman who's half your age.
(King Miraz's arrogant grin vanishes)
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Miraz. And how! The soundtrack alone in that scene makes it worthy.
- Bad Boss: Miraz, ever so much. He constantly denigrates his closest advisers, abuses (both physically and verbally) his lieutenants (especially Glozelle), and spends the lives of his troops like nothing. It's no wonder Sopespian stabs him in the back near the end.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Peter and Caspian each decline to execute Miraz, the one believing it Caspian's right and the other holding to If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!. Sopespian, who's had enough of his tyrannical king, murders the guy and takes over as the enemy commander.
- Badass Longcoat: Miraz sports one.
- Big Bad: Lord later King Miraz, Prince Caspian's Evil Uncle. Surprisingly, he gets taken out before the Final Battle even begins, and his murderer enjoys a very brief stint as main antagonist.
- Big Damn Heroes: Caspian arrives just in the nick to save Susan from the attacking Telmarine horsemen. To be perfectly accurate, Susan had already taken out the rest of them before Caspian got there, but the remaining one had her dead to rights.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted. There is a slit of blood on Caspian’s hand when Nikabrik, the hag and the werewolf cut it open to resurrect Jadis.
- Bottomless Magazines: A variation. Susan never seems to lose any arrows from her quiver. And they're all the same red-tipped arrows, so she can't be taking strays up from the battlefield. Presumably part of the magic.
- "Five more minutes"
- When the Telmarine cat gets Bound and Gagged by the mice, it's a reference to when the white witch and her henchmonsters tied Aslan up in the first film.
- Call That a Formation?: Averted with the Telmarine army which marches in lockstep and use shield walls to hold effectively against charging Centaurs and Minotaurs, and form an Advancing Wall of Doom.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder/The Starscream: Miraz falls victim to treacherous Telmarine lords who don't like to be ordered around by a king.
- Combat Pragmatist: In the second round of their duel, both Peter and Miraz are not above using some dirty moves (like punching the opponent in a wounded knee).
- Combat Tentacles: The walking Trees use their roots to grab Telmarine soldiers and smash their catapults.
- Composite Character:
- In the film Lord Glozelle and the unnamed Telmarine who takes up Aslan's offer of going back to the island from whence the Telmarines first came are combined. This is achieved by giving Glozelle Adaptational Heroism, portraying him as a reluctant follower of Miraz.
- Dr. Cornelius is combined with Caspian's nurse (who is the one that first told him stories about Narnia's history).
- Dark Is Not Evil: Minotaurs were portrayed as an evil race in the first film, but are now on the side of the protagonists in this one.
- The above is lampshaded by the scene where the Pevensies meet Caspian and his forces, and Edmund in particular, who has very bad memories of the Minotaurs from the White Witch's army, gives one an understandably shocked look. Trufflehunter, noticing this states, "A common enemy unites even the oldest of foes."
- Darker and Edgier: This film is arguably the darkest of the series, is significantly more vicious and horrifying than you'd expect a PG film to be, and is exponentially darker than the book. This was lampshaded in the trailer:You will find Narnia a more savage place than you remember...
- Dashing Hispanic: The Telmarine culture is very obviously based on Golden Age Spain, so Caspian qualifies as an example. Ben Barnes even based his characterization on Inigo Montoya.
- Deadpan Snarker: At least every other phrase Trumpkin speaks is laced with raw snark.Edmund Pevensie: [looking down a cliff over the water] Is there a way down?
Trumpkin: Yes. Falling.Trumpkin: [after being saved by Peter] "Drop him?!?" That's the best you can come up with?
Susan: A simple "thank you" would suffice.
Trumpkin: They were doing fine drowning me without your help!
- Demoted to Extra: Pattertwig the squirrel and Bulgy Bear have only a handful of lines between them. Bulgy Bear had a bigger scene but it was cut.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Miraz dies before the Final Battle kicks off. His death is, in fact, its impetus.
- Dragon Ascendant: Sopespian after he slays Miraz.
- Embarrassing Nickname: The Pevensies take to calling the caustic, yet loyal and ultimately lovable Trumpkin "DLF", which stands for "Dear Little Friend", mocking his height and abrasive personality. But as there's really no vindictiveness behind it at all, and as the Pevensies truly adore the Dwarf, this doubles as Affectionate Nickname — though he still grumbles about it.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Miraz dotes on the infant son he longed to have, and seems close with his wife.
- Exact Words:Prunaprismia: I thought you said your brother died in his sleep?
Miraz: That was more or less true.
- In the book it is not mentioned whether Prunaprismia was aware of her husband having murdered Caspian's father, although it probably wouldn't have bothered her anyway.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Prince Caspian meeting Peter for the first time. Justified, given the time difference. Played for laughs by Reepicheep later on.
- Faceless Goons: Telmarine soldiers, wearing face-concealing Rage Helms.
- Faith in the Foe: Edmund is sent with a guard and a white flag to King Miraz in order to offer the terms of a one-on-one battle between Miraz and Peter. When the enemy sees him approaching, Miraz's advisor wonders if the boy is coming to surrender. Miraz knows that the Pevensies care far too much about Narnia to leave it in his hands."They are much too noble for that."
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Telmarine culture is stylized to resemble Golden Age Spain. Much like in the book, Hand Waved by explaining that Telmar was founded by Earth pirates (in this case Spanish ones) who accidentally found their way to Narnia. Likewise, Narnia itself has "Merry Old England" vibes.
- Foreshadowing: While Caspian is convincing the Narnians to side with him, Nikabrik remarks that he would gladly fight alongside the White Witch again to rid Narnia of the Telmarines. Later, he helps to try resurrect her.
- Hollywood Tactics: Played straight with the Leeroy Jenkins approach to the castle raid (though granted that's only after Caspian deviates from the plan), but the final battle has both sides pulling various tricks, such as the Narnians leading the Telmarine cavalry into a pit trap, while the Telmarines have fire support in the form of trebuchets and surround the Narnians during the battle with the intent of crushing them between the advancing companies.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Caspian with Miraz.
- Improbable Use of a Weapon: During the castle raid, Susan throwing an arrow at a soldier and having it sink in and kill him.
- Killer Rabbit: Reepicheep is a cute, adorable (albeit overgrown) mouse... which does not change the fact that he spends most of his screentime killing people and has probably the highest body count of all characters in the movie. Oh, and don't even think about calling him "cute" or "adorable" in his presence — he will not take it well.
- Last-Second Joke Problem: When the Pevensies have returned to their own world, Edmund looks at his siblings and asks, in a serious tone, "I don't suppose there's any way to get back?" When they look at him in concern, he explains, "I left my new torchnote in Narnia!" This gets a Call-Back when Edmund and Lucy go back to Narnia in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: one of the first things Caspian does is return the torch, much to Edmund's amusement.
- Made of Iron: Honourable mention goes to Asterius, the minotaur who led the Foe-Tossing Charge into the castle in, and held up the portcullis while getting shot several times as the others escaped.
- Magical Negro: Glenstorm the centaur is notably the only member of the species portrayed by a black actor, and he's also the wisest and most moral of them.
- Mask Power: The Telmarines now sport badass baroque metal masks with fearsome visages of bearded Conquistadors on them.
- Mexican Standoff: Caspian points a sword at an unarmed Miraz, and his wife responds by pointing a crossbow at Caspian. Susan, in turn, aims a bow and arrow at her.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Glozelle.
- Mook Horror Show:
- Reepicheep and his followers, being mice, attack and summarily massacres a whole troop of Telmarine soldiers surreptitiously, as they cannot see mice coming in the tall grass and ferns; all they know is that they are getting cut down like wheat by something they can't even make out.
- The attack of the Walking Trees and the River God on the Telmarines at the end also qualifies.
- Mythology Gag: In a deleted scene, the Pevensies would pass by a dryad dying as her tree was cut down. This is taken from something that happens in The Last Battle.
- Nay-Theist: Trumpkin. In the book he's cheerful, and loyal to Prince Caspian, in spite of not believing in Aslan or the old kings and queens. In the movie he's presented as sour and miserable, who believes in Aslan but blames him for deserting Narnia.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Peter had a hard time becoming one again, after being High King. Indeed, both of the older Pevensies had a hard time of this, with Susan noting that she'd only just got used to being back in England. Edmund and Lucy are more ambiguous, with Edmund apparently rolling with it, while Lucy apparently always had faith that they would return to Narnia.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Downplayed with Caspian and Susan. They flirt and share a kiss, but don't end up together.
- Putting on the Reich: Word of God states that Telmarine aesthetic was designed to give them a fascist feel.
- Race Lift: The Telmarines in this version descend from 16th century Spanish pirates, and as such are usually portrayed by actors hailing from the lands formerly belonging to the Spanish Empire, like Hispanics and Italians. In the books, the pirates' ethnicities weren't mentioned, but there was nothing in their descendants to indicate they were from a distinct origin than the original Narnian humans, who hailed from England (piracy is an activity much more popularly associated to the English than the Spaniards after all, which might be the reason why the pirates are implied to have been conquistadors instead in this version).
- Rage Helm: In the movie, the Telmarine armies. In the behind-the-scenes material, it is explained that the helmets were used to make the Telmarines look less human and thus make mowing down scores of them less morally questionable.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Trumpkin gets a short but effective one in the film; when he's brought before Miraz and Miraz insults him and the Narnians and then hits him across the face for pretty much no reason, Trumpkin gives Miraz a Death Glare and simply says "And you wonder why we don't like you?"
- Peter and Caspian deliver these to one another after their failed attempt at capturing Miraz' castle.Caspian: You could have called it off. There was still time!
Peter: No, there wasn't, thanks to you. If you had stuck to the plan, those soldiers might still be alive!
Caspian: And if you had stayed here like I suggested, they definitely would be!
Peter: You called us, remember?
Caspian: My first mistake.
Peter: No. Your first mistake was thinking you could lead these people.
Caspian: HEY! I am not the one who abandoned Narnia!
Peter: You invaded Narnia! You have no more right to rule it than Miraz does! You, him, your father- Narnia's better off without the lot of you!
- The Rest Shall Pass: Susan to Lucy, when she stays behind to hold off the pursuing soldiers so that Lucy can find Aslan in time.
- Resurrect the Villain: Edmund narrowly stops Nikabrik and his allies from using a drop of Caspian's blood in a ritual to free the White Witch from her deathly prison of ice.
- Running GagReepicheep: Choose your last words carefully, Telmarine.
Caspian: You are a mouse.
Reepicheep: I was hoping for something a little more original.
Soldier: You're a —!
Reepicheep: Yes, I'm a mouse.
Soldier: You're a mouse.
- And again:
Reepicheep: You people have no imagination!
- Shout-Out: Ben Barnes said his accent was essentially an imitation of Inigo Montoya.
- So What Do We Do Now?: At the beginning of the film, Peter in particular is none too happy to be a young teen dealing with stupid schoolboys again, as opposed to a full-grown man and a king.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Glozelle.
- Stab the Picture: While interrogating the Professor, Miraz stabs an arrow into a drawing of the Narnian Kings and Queens (the Pevensie siblings), as both a threat against them and to show that the Narnians, though thought long-extinct, have returned.
- The Starscream: Lord Sopespian and Lord Glozelle seek to overthrow King Miraz by provoking him into accepting Peter's challenge of a mano-a-mano sword fight in hopes that he'll be killed. When this doesn't happen, Sopespian stabs Miraz in the back. Glozelle gets a Heel–Face Turn, though.
- Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: The Narnians try to take over Miraz's castle by stealth in the dead of night, but Caspian's decision to confront Miraz instead of sticking to the plan blows their cover to the whole castle. The Telmarine guards come out running and yelling to chase out and kill the intruders.
- Sugar Apocalypse: The film is set in the aftermath of one. Narnia at the end of the first movie was a magical utopia. Now it's been conquered by a pirate race, the majority of animals have lost their speech, fantasy creatures have been driven into hiding and the dryads have gone. One deleted scene would even show a dryad dying as her tree was cut down.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Caspian, trying to establish his authority, is understandably not incredibly happy about having four mythical rulers come in and start bossing around his troops at first.
- As the Telmarines were never on good terms with Narnia, it's also understandable that Peter would have some animosity towards them, especially given what they did to his people.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Caspian.
- This Is Not My Life to Take: Miraz, Caspian's uncle, who murdered Caspian's father, and was planning to do the same to Caspian...is defeated in a duel by Peter. Miraz wonders why Peter won't kill him, Peter nearly saying the trope word for word, before handing his sword to Caspian.Miraz: What's the matter boy? Too cowardly to take a life?
Peter: It's not mine to take.
- Unhand Them, Villain!: When some Telmarines are about to dump Trumpkin, Bound and Gagged, into the river, Susan shoots an arrow and orders them to "drop him". They do so — unsurprisingly, into the river, and the boys jump in to save the dwarf while Susan dispatches the soldiers. Trumpkin is suitably unimpressed, and treats Susan to a bit of snark once they're all back on dry land.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: The good-hearted prince of a rather evil empire is about to be disposed of by the evil uncle who killed his father and took his throne, so he organizes a daring night raid to infiltrate the castle, kill the usurper in his bed, and retake the kingdom in a matter of minutes. Just as he's about to pull the trigger, his uncle congratulates him on finally showing some spine, and being worthy of the throne he's about to take. Horrified, he aborts the entire operation, risking all of their lives with a fighting retreat and wasting countless man-, woman-, and minotaur-hours of preparation and execution. This also leads directly to the final showdown, the deaths of many of Caspian's allies, and the decimation of an opposing army that was, for better or worse, just following the orders of their king (and likely facing execution for any disobedience). The Rage Helm entry even mentions how they deliberately dehumanized the Telmarine army to make the protagonists seem justified in causing hundreds of deaths by the act of sparing one tyrant. This is presented as having been the honorable way for Caspian to reclaim his throne, with the opening of the next movie deliberately illustrating how seamlessly Caspian took the reins and pacified the realm. Although see Decapitated Army above: there's no guarantee that assassinating Miraz will see everyone instantly accept Caspian and his Narnian allies as the new regime, especially with a couple of Dragons waiting to take his place — indeed, one of them actually fakes an assassination to kill off Miraz and take command, meaning that if anything, it would be counter-productive. (It should be added all this only applies to the film: The book and BBC adaptation have a much simpler failed ambush where Caspian never has the opportunity to kill Miraz.)
- When Trees Attack: Aslan rouses the trees to defeat the Telmarine army in the film. They prove especially useful by destroying the Telmarine trebuchets.
- Xenafication: Susan. Justified in that she had been practising her archery skills for 15 years, plus another year on Earth, just like her siblings. And since she's given a bit more angst than the book, she's bound to want to take her anger out on something.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Susan jokes that this makes her 1300 years older than Caspian.
- You Didn't Ask: Aslan summons an army of talking trees to defeat the Telmarines — after the Narnians send Lucy to ask for his help.
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Said verbatim by Trumpkin when he meets the children and moans "oh, no...you're it?"
- You Killed My Father: Miraz killed Caspian's father.