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'Chicken Run' Sequel Flies The Coop To Netflix

June 23, 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Aardman Animation's first feature, Chicken Run. Two decades later, it remains not only the studio's highest-grossing film internationally but also the most successful stop-motion animated movie of all time. Some time ago it was announced that a sequel was in development, but we haven't heard a peep (or a cluck) since. To mark the film's anniversary, Aardman have announced that the sequel is now being co-produced by Netflix and will be available on the streaming service worldwide (except China). It's the kind of good news that we all need right now.

The less good news is that we're going to be waiting for some time, as the film is scheduled to go into full production in 2021. Stop-motion is not a fast process, so don't expect the sequel for a good couple of years after that, at the earliest. We're sure the wait will be well worth it though.

The reason it's taken so long to come to fruition? Aardman waited until they could come up with a sequel that could do justice to the beloved original. The first movie was an escape movie, and the follow-up is to put a twist on that.

Having pulled off a death-defying escape from Tweedy’s farm, Ginger has finally found her dream – a peaceful island sanctuary for the whole flock, far from the dangers of the human world. When she 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!

The film is being directed Sam Fell,  an Aardman veteran who started work as an animator there in the mid 1990s and worked his way up to directing Flushed Away and ParaNorman (for LAIKA). The screenplay is by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell,  who both return from the first film. There's no word of returning voice-cast as yet. Mel Gibson, the original voice of Rocky has since become a controversial figure, so recasting seems pretty likely. The official title has not been announced either- but it would be a surprise if they went with Chicken Run 2 over some kind of pun.

This is the latest collaboration between Aardman and Netflix, following the latest season of Shaun The Sheep, Holiday special Robin's Robin, and the US release of Shaun The Sheep Farmageddon. It seems the streaming giant's deep pockets, global reach and hands-off approach with filmmakers makes them an attractive partner for the UK's biggest animation studio, just as with many other of the biggest names in animation.  Sure- there's some disappointment in the fact that we won't be able to enjoy the sequel on the big screen- but if that's the price to see the movie get made, it's a price worth paying.


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