Following the surprise announcement that we will be getting a sequel to the animated hit Chicken Run 2 decades after the first movie was released, comes the perhaps less surprising news that the movie will be going ahead without Mel Gibson.

Mel Gibson is a well-known presence in Hollywood, with starring roles in the likes of Mad Max, Braveheart and the Lethal Weapon franchise having thrust him onto the A-list some time ago. Gibson voiced the character of Rocky in the original Chicken Run and was one of the top-billed cast members at a time when he was considered to be one of the most popular actors around.

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Since then, Gibson's standing has largely waned due to various controversial and downright offensive comments that the actor has made in the past. He hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again recently when actress and Stranger Things star Winona Ryder revealed that Gibson had made several homophobic and anti-Semitic comments to her once at a party. According to unnamed sources, this has led to the decision to go ahead with [Chicken Run 2} without Gibson, with the studio instead looking to recast the role.

The announcement that a sequel was being made came during the Annecy Making Of panel on the festival's digital platform. Several details have already been revealed, including Sam Fell, whose previous credits include ParaNorman and Flushed Away, jumping aboard as director. Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell are returning to pen the screenplay, with Rachel Tunnard joining them. Chicken Run director Peter Lord spoke about the sequel, saying that they had "discussed it so many times over the years and come up with various ideas but never quite found one we loved enough.

But it was always in the back of our minds." Continuing, Lord said that after so many years they have "the perfect story, and the relationship with Netflix is kind of perfect as well because they celebrate the filmmaker and are so filmmaker friendly. I feel now we can make the 'Chicken Run' sequel we want to, the one we really care about."

Chicken Run 2 will reintroduce audiences to the first movie's hero, Ginger, who is now living in a human-free chicken paradise. Ginger and Rocky have had a daughter together named Molly, who is growing up quickly and begins to outgrow the island. Meanwhile, rumors begin to surface of a new threat that forces Ginger to rally her troops.

They will have to risk their freedom for the good of chicken-kind. Director Sam Fell has described the sequel as "an almost-tribute to Mission: Impossible with elements of heist."

With Rocky clearly set to play an integral part in the story, it remains to be seen who will be cast in place of Mel Gibson, and whether they will attempt to bring someone in who sounds like him, or whether they will distance themselves from Gibson entirely. With Tom Hardy having taken over from Gibson in a very different franchise, that of Mad Max, perhaps it's time to bring him into the claymation world of Chicken Run and simply make Hardy Gibson's go-to replacement for the foreseeable future. This comes to us from Newsweek.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge