On May 16, Disney releases Prince Caspian, the latest installment of the Chronicles of Narnia series, to theaters across the United States. This is NOT a review of the movie, but of the book by C. S. Lewis. (I plan to publish my review of the movie here on HJ May 16.) At a recent Roundtable Press Interview in New York, I asked movie writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely about the decision to leave Bacchus out of the movie. (I plan to publish transcripts of the Roundtable Interviews here on Hollywood Jesus in the not-to-distant future, so stay tuned!) They humorously answered that the movie was already quite long enough, and they would have had to spend more time introducing the new characters involved. The flow of the movie would have been interrupted. The book review below focuses on the place of Bacchus in the book.
There is a painting by Pauline Baynes that graced the front of the paperback version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for years in Great Britain. (This cover was not available on American editions until recently.) The scene is just after Aslan is resurrected and Lucy and Susan are dancing with him.
This passage in The Lion (near the end of Chapter 15) is reminiscent of the New Testament account of the resurrection, as well as other events in the life of Jesus Christ. The loud cracking of the Stone Table is like the earthquake and splitting of the Veil in the Temple. After realizing Aslan is real, Lucy and Susan “flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.” On Easter morning, Mary clings to Jesus when she realizes He is not just the gardener. (John 20:17 NKJV, NASB) In Luke 17 a woman anoints Christ’s feet and keeps kissing His feet.
After Aslan tells the girls about the Deeper Magic, the “romp” begins. Chasing, leaping, scrambling–“whether it more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.” The romp only takes up one paragraph, but it would have taken up a few minutes on film, if the writers of the Walden/Disney adaptation of the book had chosen to put it into the movie. I am sure they felt that the film needed to move on at that point. After all, a battle is going on, and Aslan has work to do. So the movie bypasses the Romp and goes straight to the Roar.
Aslan’s Romp in Prince Caspian takes up much more than one paragraph, although it begins after the Roar. Strangely, after the trees are awakened, Aslan is is joined (in the book) by an exotic group led by a young boy with a wild face, who is followed by “wild girls” and a fat man on a donkey. Lucy and Susan soon recognize that the boy is Bacchus, whom they had learned about from Mr. Tumnus long ago. The fat man is Silenus. (If you seen the original version  of the Disney movie Fantasia, you may recall the scene of the fat man on a donkey during Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Disney morphs Bacchus and Silenus into one person.) Why is Lewis introducing the Greek god of wine and his drunken teacher into the story?*
*A recent article in The Christian Post may also be helpful in answering this question. Also, The C. S. Lewis Institute has an article which is helpful (PDF Format) :Coming to a Screen Near You: Prince Caspian.