Almost two decades after the critical and commercial success of Chicken Run, production company Aardman have this week announced that our favourite feathered friends will be getting a sequel. There has been no release date confirmed yet, but there has been rumours circulating that work will begin once the Aardman have completed Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon, which is set for release in October of next year. Interestingly, that film will mark Aardman’s first ever feature film sequel, meaning it may also become a benchmark for our expectations of the Chicken Run sequel.
With the first Chicken Run gaining countless nominations for renowned awards such as Baftas and Golden Globes, not to mention earning the title of highest grossing stop-motion film (£161.3 million at the box office), it may come at a surprise that it has taken eighteen years for the film to get a much-awaited sequel. Nonetheless, with everyone’s favourite feathered friends in the making for a return, children and adults worldwide now have a spectacle to look forward to.
The film won the hearts of audiences worldwide with its loveable characters, including Rocky (Mel Gibson), Bunty (Imelda Staunton) and Nick (Timothy Spall) and its blend of British and American humour. The film told the tale of Rocky, played by Gibson, an adventurous cockerel who lands on a chicken farm, and sparks revolution among the hapless hens against their evil owners; a family of farmers.
As the film drew parallels alongside the 1963 war classic The Great Escape, it also won critical success through its intertextuality and cinematic references to some of cinema’s greatest action adventure films.
After the renowned success of Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit series in the 90s, Chicken Run was further proof of the capabilities of stop-motion animation. Since the release of both of these projects, the company have found continued success with equally enjoyable films and programmes such as Flushed Away, Shaun the Sheep and, most recently Early Man. In the latter, Nick Park’s prehistoric comedy displayed the casting capabilities of the franchise, with roles being voiced by actors including Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams and Eddie Redmayne.
As such, audiences have already queried whether the sequel will see Mel Gibson reprise his lead role, and take a well-overdue return to life on the other side of the director’s chair. While the original film saw long-time Aardman collaborators Nick Park and Peter Lord co-directing the action, this is set to change for the sequel. Nonetheless, with Sam Fell (ParaNorman) set to direct and Paul Kerney (Shaun the Sheep) producing, the duo can be sure that whatever they hatch up will have fans flocking.