Twenty years to the day on Tuesday, Aardman and Netflix announced at Annecy 2020 Online that full production will begin next year on the long-awaited sequel to “Chicken Run,” the legendary British studio’s first feature (in partnership with DreamWorks Animation) and the highest-grossing stop-motion movie in history ($106.8 million domestic and $224.8 million worldwide). Sam Fell (“ParaNorman” and “Flushed Away”) will direct, and Steve Pegram (“Arthur Christmas”) will produce. “Chicken Run” co-directors Nick Park and Peter Lord will be on hand as creative consultant and executive producer, respectively.
The sequel (scripted by “Chicken Run” writer Karey Kirkpatrick along with John O’ Farrell and Rachel Tunnard) picks up soon after the original ended. However, according to reliable sources, Mel Gibson will not return to voice Rocky, the laid-back American circus rooster. There’s no word yet on recasting Ginger (Julia Sawalha), the outspoken hen and leader of “The Great Escape” from the oppressive farm, or any of the other voice cast (including Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall, or Imelda Staunton).
The follow-up, though, will be about the great break in. Ginger and Rocky are on the island and give birth to Molly, who grows up quickly and wants to explore the outside world. “But Ginger doesn’t want to engage with the outside world,” said Fell, as part of Annecy’s 20th anniversary celebration “But then they realize there is some new threat on the mainland to chicken kind. It’ll be fun and games seeing these chickens back in action.”
The Aardman/Netflix partnership began with the acquisition of “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (streamed earlier this year), and they are currently in production on the Christmas special “Winter’s Tale” and the musical special “Robin Robin,” both slated for 2021. “Netflix feels like the ideal creative partner for this project too,” Lord said. “They celebrate the filmmaker, which means we can make the film we want to make, the one we really care about, and share it with a global audience.”