The first trailer for Netflix’s long-gestating animated sequel Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget has arrived, and it leans hard into the Mission: Impossible aspects of the story, with the chubby British chickens from 2000’s Chicken Run now trying to break into an impenetrable chicken farm instead of out of one. It openly references the Mission: Impossible franchise as a whole, but the structure is also familiar from countless heist movies: “Here’s a list of the daunting barriers you’ll face in getting access to the site, now you have to figure out a clever way to bypass them.” (In this case, the barriers include “laser-guided exploding ducks.”)
Also familiar from this trailer: Some of the voices from the original Chicken Run 23 years ago, including Miranda Richardson as returning villain Mrs. Tweedy. A few of the core chicken crew have the same voices as well: Babs (Jane Horrocks), Bunty (Imelda Staunton), Mac (Lynn Ferguson). Mel Gibson, however, is not returning to play Rocky the rooster: Zachary Levi is taking over that role. And the movie’s original star, Julia Sawalha, who played determined protagonist Ginger, publicly announced years ago that the movie’s producers proclaimed her voice sounded “too old” for the role and that they were recasting her. Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton will now play Ginger.
The vocal changes aren’t surprising on their own — Gibson is experiencing yet another career resurgence in spite of numerous scandals involving domestic abuse, racism, and antisemitism, but Netflix has every reason to dodge associating him with a new children’s movie. Other voices were recast for practical reasons — for instance, Benjamin Whitrow, the original voice of the cranky old rooster Fowler, died in 2017. Harry Potter actor David Bradley will voice him in the new movie. But Sawalha’s recasting has hit a sore spot with some fans, particularly given her public appeal on social media about the change. (The video she references here, where she reprises the role of Ginger to prove she can, has since been deleted from Vimeo.)
Here’s Netflix’s summary of the movie:
The cat, or should we say chicken, is finally out of the bag. Sure to ruffle feathers once more is the return of Melisha Tweedy, better known as Mrs. Tweedy and Ginger’s arch nemesis in the stop-motion animated sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget. Catch a first glimpse of Mrs. Tweedy, voiced by accomplished stage, film and television actress Miranda Richardson, who has refashioned herself for a new era of fowl-play in the teaser trailer out today. Also joining the cast is British actor, comedian, director and screenwriter, Peter Serafinowicz who voices Reginald Smith. Serafinowicz voices a humourless businessman and along with Tweedy poses a new and bigger threat to chicken-kind.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget hits Netflix Dec. 15.
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