Aardman Animations’ relationship with Netflix—from Shaun the Sheep to last year’s Robin Robin—has been in overdrive since the announcement of a long-awaited sequel to the studio’s poultry-liberation epic Chicken Run. Now the streamer and the worker-owned animation studio are teaming up to return to Aardman’s most iconic creation.
Today the two companies announced that Wallace & Gromit will return to the big screen for the first time since Curse of the Wererabbit in 2005. The new movie, due out in 2024, will be directed by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, and Aardman’s Creative Director for the franchise, Merlin Crossingham. The movie will debut on Netflix internationally, but will premiere exclusively on the BBC in the UK.
The movie—which sees Gromit try to wean his invention-loving master off of his reliance on self-made technology when Wallace’s latest “Smart Gnome” devices take on a mind of their own—will be the first major entry in the the beloved clay animation series since the 2008 TV special A Matter of Loaf & Death, and the first since the death of Wallace’s original voice actor, British acting legend Peter Sallis, in 2017. No details have been confirmed about casting for the new movie, but in appearances of Wallace since Sallis’ death, the character has been played by Ben Whitehead, who has voiced multiple characters for Aardman since Curse of the Wererabbit.
Netflix also announced new details on the previously announced Chicken Run sequel. Now titled Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, the film sees the chickens (and Rocky the Rooster) living out their blissful, cage-free life after escaping in the first film, as Ginger and Rocky celebrate the birth of their new daughter, Molly. But not every Chicken is living a life of freedom, and when a new threat on the mainland portents to lay all of chicken-kind low, Ginger, Rocky, and their friends have to leave their island sanctuary behind and save the day.
Ginger and Rocky will be voiced by new actors, replacing prior Chicken Run stars Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson, with Shazam’s Zachary Levi taking on Rocky, and Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton playing Ginger. Aardman had previously revealed that is had asked Gibson not to return in the wake of multiple allegations of anti-Semitism against the actor.
Newtown and Levi will be joined by Game of Thrones and The Last of Us’ Bella Ramsey as Molly, returning talent Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton, and Lynn Ferguson, as well as new additions Josie Sedgwick-Davies, David Bradley, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays, and Nick Mohammed—with Bradley, Ranganathan, and Mays playing returning Chicken Run characters Fowler the Rooster, and Nick and Fletcher the rats, respectively.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is set to hit Netflix in 2023.
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