Michael Apted signs for The Dawn Treader

Is there something in the Hollywood water today? It seems to be the day for unexpected directing decisions.

Why, you ask? Because Michael Apted, known for The World Is Not Enough, Gorky Park, Gorillas In The Mist and, more recently, slave trade biopic Amazing Grace, has agreed to direct the third adventure in the Narnia series.

The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader finds the two youngest Pevensie children – Lucy and Edmund – sent to the home of their annoying cousin Eustace. When they’re dragged through a painting of the titular Narnian ship back into the fantasy world, they end up on a quest with Prince (now King) Caspian. Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes are returning to play Lucy and Edmund while film two co-star Ben Barnes will play Caspian again.

"We're thrilled that Michael will be directing The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and feel that he brings his own unique sensibilities, filmmaking experience, and vision to the project," Disney production president Oren Aviv gassed to The Hollywood Reporter. "This latest Narnia adventure will take people to an entirely different side of Narnia that no one has ever seen before, and is filled with lots of action, adventure, magic and wonder. We think moviegoers are going to be thrilled with this all-new instalment."

Disney and Walden Media are clearly confident in Prince Caspian’s appeal – the third film already has a set release date of May 2009 and will start filming next January. Word of advice to cinema owners – it’s time to invest in larger marquees.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.