Chicken Run 2

UPDATE: According to Newsweek, Mel Gibson will not be reprising his role as the chicken Rocky. Our original story from June 24, 2020 follows below.

Today marks the exact 20th anniversary of Aardman Animation’s stop-motion animated comedy Chicken Run hitting theaters, a movie that still holds the honor of being the highest grossing stop-motion animated movie of all time. To celebrate, Aardman has announced that Netflix has come on board to finance and distribute Chicken Run 2.

We first heard about Chicken Run 2 a couple years ago, but at the time it was only just starting development. Now that it’s been officially announced by Aardman Animation Studios during an Annecy International Animated Film Festival virtual panel, we know the story has been cracked, and you can find out what the sequel will be about below.

Variety reported news of Chicken Run 2 heading to Netflix, which shouldn’t be surprising since the streaming service backed and distributed A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon in 2019. Pathé and Studio Canal, who were behind the original Chicken Run, have closed their deal to transfer sequel rights to Netflix, and now Aardman Animation is ready to go.

Original Chicken Run co-director Peter Lord was on hand for the announcement, and he said:

“We’ve got the perfect story, and the relationship with Netflix is kind of perfect as well because they celebrate the filmmaker and are so filmmaker friendly. I feel now we can make the Chicken Run sequel we want to, the one we really care about.”

Sam Fell (ParaNorman, Flushed Away) will direct Chicken Run 2, and he was hooked by a certain pitch that came up in a brainstorming session with co-writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. Instead of breaking out of a chicken coop, this time the chickens are trying to break in somewhere. However, specifics of the heist at the center of the movie has not been revealed. Instead, Fell teased it by saying:

“I tell you it will be fun and games seeing these chickens back in action. All the gadgets, the kit, we’re kind of moving towards an almost-tribute to Mission Impossible with elements of heist and how they’re going to pull off this amazing break-in.”

Thankfully, the filmmakers did reveal some more details on the story. Rocky and Ginger (voiced by Mel Gibson and Julia Sawalha in the original movie, though they’re not confirmed to return for the sequel yet) are living in a human-free paradise on the island they escaped to at the end of the first movie. They’ve hatched an egg that gave them a daughter named Molly, and she grows up all too quickly, yearning to leave her island home. Meanwhile, rumors of a deadly threat on the mainland have reached the island, and it’s up to Ginger to rally the troops and risk their feathers for the good of all chicken-kind.

It’s a rather vague description of the story, but I’m curious to see what this new threat is. Plus, I’m wondering if Rocky’s presence in the sequel will be minimal since it’s said to mostly focus on Ginger this time. Could Rocky be caught up in whatever this new threat turns out to be? Will the original voice cast return to reprise their roles? These are probably questions that will be answered down the road once we start getting a first look at the movie.

However, those eagerly anticipating Chicken Run 2 will be waiting awhile. Production isn’t slated to begin until next year, and stop-motion animated movies take an especially long time to make due to the nature of the animation process itself. So we probably won’t see this for at least three years.

Chicken Run 2 will be executive produced by Peter Lord, Carla Shelley and Karey Kirkpatrick, with Steve Pegram on board as producer. Chicken Run co-director Nick Park will also return, but only in a consulting role this time. The script comes from Rachel Tunnard (Adult Life Skills, Military Wives), working with Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell.

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