The chickens are coming home to roost once again. Aardman Animation is gearing up to release a sequel to Chicken Run, their wildly popular 2000 animated film. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is set to be released in 2023. The original Chicken Run is currently the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, drawing more than $224 million at the box office. It was also the first full-length film produced by Aardman.
First announced in 2018, the sequel will reportedly follow the chickens on the island they escaped to at the end of the first film, only to see a new threat emerge against their way of life. Nick Park, co-director of the original and mastermind behind Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit, is sitting in the producer’s chair this time around. Sam Fell, director of Aardman’s 2006 hit Flushed Away, is replacing Park as director. Original writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, who penned the script for the first film, are also back. Despite partnering on the original film, DreamWorks Animation will not be involved with the sequel due to their relationship with Aardman ending.
So, what do we know about Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget? How will it continue the story established in the first film? Who is returning to the cast, and what new additions are joining them? When and where will the film be released? And what else should we know?
Chicken Run 2: The Plot
Viewers will recall that the chickens escaped the Tweedy farm and found peace on an island at the end of the original movie. The sequel will pick up right where the original left off. At an Annecy Making Of panel in 2020, the filmmakers revealed where the chickens will be in this sequel. Chicken leader Ginger and her partner Rocky will have an egg together, their daughter Molly. Molly will soon outgrow the chickens’ island just as they learn of a new threat back on the mainland. In the face of that threat, Ginger must once again rally her troops to defend the chickens’ home and very existence.
The logline, “this time, they’re breaking in,” seems to tell us that the adventure will reverse what happened the first time when they broke out of their life on the farm. It also sounds like they will use the same slapstick strategies as they did in the first outing. Director Sam Fell promised that the action sequences from the first would be back, saying:
“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.”
From that information alone, it sounds as though the team is doing everything possible to recapture what made the original Chicken Run work while giving us a new story with new characters to root for. We still have to wait for more specific information, which likely will be revealed as the release date approaches.
Chicken Run 2: The Cast
While the Chicken Run characters we grew to know and love from the first film are returning, many of them, including leads Ginger and Rocky, will feature different voices. Shazam! star Zachary Levi is replacing Mel Gibson as heroic rooster Rocky. It was speculated that Gibson was replaced due to allegations of racism, though Aardman denied that was the case. Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton will be replacing Julia Sawalha as Ginger. This decision was also the source of controversy, as Sawalha claimed that Aardman replaced her because her voice sounded too old for the role.
Game of Thrones actor Bella Ramsey is on board as Rocky and Ginger’s daughter Molly. In addition, David Bradley of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fame is replacing Benjamin Whitrow as elderly Royal Air Force veteran rooster Fowler. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan and actor Daniel Mays will be portraying the scheming rat partners Nick and Fetcher. Ranganathan and Mays replace Timothy Spall and Phil Daniels from the original, respectively.
Not all characters were recast, though. Jane Horrocks is back as knitting-loving hen Babs, while Imelda Staunton will return as the cynical Bunty, and Lynn Ferguson is set to reprise her role as Ginger’s Scottish assistant Mac. Rounding out the cast are comedian Nick Mohammed and Josie Sedgewick-Davies portraying the new characters of Dr. Fry and Frizzle, respectively. While these are all the confirmed roles as of now, it is possible that additional cast announcements will follow in the coming months.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is set to be released on Netflix sometime in 2023, though we do not know when exactly in 2023 or what territories. However, Aardman’s new Wallace and Gromit film is premiering first on the BBC before its worldwide Netflix release, so it is possible that we could see a similar strategy employed here with Chicken Run. All we can do now is wait and see.