Barnes' starring moment is still five months away, but already more than 33,000 people have checked out a website devoted to the man who would be king, playing Prince Caspian in Andrew Adamson's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," due for release in May.
"It's terrifying," says the 26-year-old British actor. "Everyone has been warning me about what I'm in for, but I think I still don't understand the half of it."
Until Barnes landed the starring part, his greatest claim to fame was a run in the West End production of "The History Boys" and a part in Matthew Vaughn's fantasy "Stardust." Then casting came calling, looking, Barnes says, for "a piratey-swarthy-everyman kind of prince," and three weeks later, the markedly un-piratey, un-swarthy actor was sitting astride a horse on the set in New Zealand.
Since completing production this fall, Barnes has been busy reading scripts and fantasizing about his future, even if he won't be free to take another role until 2009: He's signed up for the third "Narnia" installment, which will begin production next year.