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Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget Release Date, Cast, Plot, Trailer And More Details

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Way back in 2000, when the dominant thing in feature film animation was the emergence of CGI technology, one studio decided to keep on the path with the medium that had made it an acclaimed and respected animation house. Aardman had made a name for itself since the early 1990s with a series of Oscar-winning stop-motion, clay-animated shorts about Wallace and Gromit, a cheese-loving British doofus and his extraordinarily intelligent dog. Then in 2000, the studio partnered with new Hollywood power player DreamWorks to co-finance and distribute its feature film debut: Chicken Run.

Produced in the same style as Aardman's shorts, "Chicken Run" centers on a hen named Ginger (Julia Swahala) and a rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) attempting to save themselves and their feathery brethren from being turned into meat pies at the hands of their farm's owners, the Tweedys. The film raked in a robust $225 million at the global box office, and it's still the highest-grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time. So why didn't such a beloved and successful movie ever get a sequel? Well, it's about to! Here's everything we know about "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget."

When will Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget be released?

Nearly two decades after the first film hit theaters, Aardman Animation officially announced in April 2018 that work had begun on a "Chicken Run" sequel. Of course, stop-motion movies take quite a while to make, and as a result, we've had to wait a bit to see "Dawn of the Nugget." Fortunately, it's almost time to reunite with Rocky and Ginger, as "Chicken Run 2" is releasing on December 15, 2023. And when these chickens finally do break back onto the screen, you'll be able to watch their latest adventure on Netflix.

What is the plot of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget?

According to a plot synopsis released by Netflix, "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget" picks up not long after the improbable events of the first "Chicken Run." Rocky and Ginger escape from certain death at Tweedy's farm and settle down on a peaceful island where no humans will harm them or ever turn them into meat pies. Their happy little life grows all the more pleasant when they welcome a hatchling named Molly. Before long, Molly wants to see what the world around her has to offer, to the chagrin of her mother. "But then they realize there is some new threat on the mainland to chicken kind," director Sam Fell told IndieWire

However, an old enemy is back on the scene, and they've devised a new fate for our avian friends — likely in the form of nuggets, as indicated by the film's subtitle. While in the previous movie, Rocky and Ginger broke out of Tweedy's farm, in the sequel, they'll have to break back into the facility in order to rescue innocent chickens — particularly Molly, who gets hauled away on a poultry truck, bound for slaughter.

Who is starring in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget?

With the exception of mega-star Mel Gibson voicing the heroic Rocky, the original "Chicken Run" boasted a cast of primarily veteran British character actors, like Timothy Spall as Nick) and Imelda Staunton as Bunty — both before they'd enjoy increased visibility from involvement in the "Harry Potter" franchise. "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget" is decidedly going another way, casting a mostly new slate of actors with various levels of fame.

The two stars of "Chicken Run," Gibson and Julia Sawalha (Ginger), won't reprise their roles in "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget." Zachary Levi of "Shazam" and Thandiwe Newton of "Westworld" will voice Rocky and Ginger this time around. Bella Ramsey, late of "The Last of Us" portrays Molly, Rocky and Ginger's daughter, Josie Sedgwick-Davies ("Hound and the Rabbit") voices Frizzle, a leader of a chicken uprising, and Nick Mohammed — Nate the Great on "Ted Lasso" — plays the villainous Dr. Fry. Staunton.

Imelda Staunton and Jane Horrocks will be back as Bunty and Babs, while David Bradley ("Game of Thrones") takes over for the deceased Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler. Daniel Mays and Romesh Ranganathan will sub in for Phil Daniels and Timothy Spall as Fetcher and Nick, respectively. British comedian Peter Serafinowicz ("The Tick") will play a part in the film, while Miranda Richardson will return to once more voice the chief antagonist of the "Chicken Run" universe — chicken pie mastermind Mrs. Tweedy, now the one turning chickens into nuggets.

Who is directing and writing Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget?

Writer-director-animator Nick Park led the creative teams behind most of all of Aardman Animation's projects, both shorts and feature lengths, for about three decades. Park wrote the story that became the original "Chicken Run" screenplay and also co-directed the film. For the sequel, "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget," he'll provide assistance and oversight to the project as an executive producer. Stepping into the director position on the sequel is animation veteran Sam Fell. He previously helmed the successful animated hits "The Tale of Despereaux" and "ParaNorman," as well as Aardman's "Flushed Away."

Fell directs from a script by Karey Kirkpatrick, John O'Farrell, and Rachel Tunnard. Kirkpatrick previously wrote "Chicken Run" and the 2005 film version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and O'Farrell contributed to the previous film's dialogue and helped develop "Bee Movie." Tunnard wrote "Military Wives" and "Adult Life Skills" following a long career as a film editor.

Is there a trailer for Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget?

In September 2023, Netflix released a rather meaty teaser trailer for its upcoming, decades-in-the-making sequel to Aardman's stop-motion hit "Chicken Run." The clip package for "Dawn of the Nugget" gets right down to business, showing what looks like a fowl-focused parody of a heist movie. The chickens are breaking into an impenetrable fortress, and we see our heroes attempt to breach underground tunnels, underwater passages, high factory walls, an electric fence, robotic moles with guns, and "laser-guided exploding ducks."

In November 2023, we were treated to the full-length trailer, where — following the exciting events of the original "Chicken Run" — Ginger and Rocky live in an idyllic island chicken utopia, their trauma in the past and their eyes on the future as they raise their hatchling, Molly. But as Molly ages, she yearns for adventure and to leave the island, and since her disapproving parents are adamantly opposed to inviting danger back into their lives, she leaves of her own volition. 

Along with other unsuspecting chickens, Molly is then kidnapped and taken to Fun-Land Farms, "where chickens find their happy endings." It's not a farm so much as it is a massive food processing facility where an evil food scientist is developing and producing chicken nuggets, and the trailer promises equal amounts of high-stakes action and claymation hilarity.

What will Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget be rated?

As a squeaky-clean, appropriate for all ages, animated adventure film, the first "Chicken Run" earned a "G" rating from the Motion Picture Association of America upon its theatrical release in 2000. The "G" is short for "general audiences," which honestly is a bit shocking, considering that Mrs. Tweedy is one of the most terrifying bad guys in animated history. Still, aside from a few intense moments, there wasn't anything objectionable in the first film.

It looks like "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget" may run a bit darker and more mature than the first film in the series ... or perhaps the MPAA just isn't as generous with its G ratings anymore. Either way, the MPAA gave the sequel a PG rating, citing "peril, action, and some thematic elements." In fairness, if the first "Chicken Run" came out today, that's probably the rating it would receive too.

Where to watch Chicken Run

Viewers will finally get to see "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget" for the first time in December 2023. That makes for a gap of 23 years between the release of the original film and its direct follow-up, meaning audiences could probably use a refresher on the characters, events, and situations of the "Chicken Run" universe. If you want to visit the 2000 original, it can currently be streamed on Peacock Premium. "Chicken Run" also remains available for rental and purchase on various digital video platforms such as YouTube, Vudu, Amazon's Prime Video, and Apple TV.