'Chicken Run 2': Mel Gibson not likely to return for 'Mission: Impossible'-inspired sequel

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Ginger, with the voice of Julia Sawalha, shows the chicken flock how to escape from Tweedy''s Egg Farm in the clay animation comedy ''Chicken Run'' premiering June 23, 2000. (Photo by DreamWorks)

The first details for Chicken Run 2 have been revealed after it was announced today that the sequel would be a Netflix exclusive, and it looks like original star Mel Gibson will not be returning.

Insiders close to the production say the Mad Max actor is “not expected to be asked back” to play Rocky, according to a report by The Wrap.

A sequel to Aardman Animation’s 2000 stop-motion film Chicken Run was first announced in 2018, but now production is officially set to get underway in 2021. Flushed Away’s Sam Fell is attached to direct, with Paul Kewley and Nick Park producing.

While the first film was a riff on The Great Escape, with a gang of chickens looking to bust out of a farm, the sequel will see the gang trying to break back in, Mission: Impossible style. Ginger and Rocky, the lead chickens from the first film (voiced by Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson), are living a peaceful life in a human-free chicken paradise. However, their daughter Molly begins to outgrow their island, and the chickens are forced into action to tackle a new threat on the mainland.

Mel Gibson (L) feeds chickens at the premiere "Chicken Run" with Peter Lord (2nd L) and Nick Park (R), and executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg (2nd R), 2000. (LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

“I tell you it will be fun and games seeing these chickens back in action,” Fell said while talking as part of the Annecy animation festival (via Variety). “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.”

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Chicken Run writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell will return for the sequel, and Aardman co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton will be executive producers.

The original featured a stellar voice cast, including Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Jane Horrocks, Benjamin Whitrow and Imelda Staunton.

It was a smash, making $225 million (£180 million) at the worldwide box office from its modest $45 million (£36 million) production budget.