Whilst the majority of us thought that coronavirus would delay most film news, it seems to be coming as quickly and (certainly in this case) as surprisingly as ever. Because in a tweet sent from the Netflix UK & Ireland Twitter account earlier this week on the 20 year anniversary of the original film, it was announced that the sequel to the 2000 Aardman classic Chicken Run would be finding its home on Netflix.
I think it’s fair to say the chickens had a cracking (sorry) life by the end of the first film. Narrowly escaping the clutches of Mrs Tweedy, Ginger and Rocky can finally start their relationship and new life together on an island away from all the chaos of the farm. According to the synopsis for the sequel, “when her and Rocky hatch a little girl called Molly, Ginger’s happy ending seems complete. But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new and terrible threat. For Ginger and her team, even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk – this time, they’re breaking in!”
Whether they’ll be returning to the Tweedy’s farm to save a new generation of chickens, or going somewhere else, isn’t exactly clear from this. But it would feel like a bit of a cop-out and that’s something Aardman isn’t (and hopefully never will be) known for. Some small easter eggs for fans of the original might be nice; although what I really want to see is a whole new adventure, not just a seemingly scrambled (sorry again) remake of the original.
Although Rocky is set to return, his voice will not. According to ScreenRant, Mel Gibson will be recast due to his controversial career since Chicken Run‘s release. Despite his slow return to the film industry with productions such as 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge, Twitter users are calling for him to be “cancelled” again after more allegations of anti-Semitic and homophobic comments by Gibson surfaced earlier this week.
With production reportedly starting in 2021, now feels like the right time to officially announce the project. Rumours about the film have been around for a few years now, but this gives Netflix and Aardman a year of pre-production which, in lockdown conditions, should be beneficial. However, given Aardman will more than likely be using their traditional stop-motion techniques, it’s probably going to be a little while longer before the sequel is fried up.
So whether Chicken Run 2 will see the chickens breaking in at a more leisurely jog, or a full paced sprint this time, remains to be seen. But I’m fairly egg-cited to see where it goes.
Words by Harriet Metcalfe