DreamWorks Animation's The Croods 2 is finally back on the right track after the studio set a new release date for the animated sequel last month. Today the studio has set Joel Crawford to make his feature directorial debut with The Croods 2, after serving as head of story on the studio's Trolls and directing the new TV special DreamWorks Trolls Holiday, which was announced this week and will debut on NBC Wednesday, November 24. Here's what Chris deFaria, president of DreamWorks Animation Film Group, had to say in a statement about the filmmaker.

"Joel has done masterful work in his career and has proven himself to be an artist with a keen eye for character and story. His wonderful work at the helm of the DreamWorks Trolls Holiday as the director demonstrates his ability to expand his talents, and we think he's the perfect choice to bring the Croods family back to life for audiences across the globe. We have a compelling story with fantastic new characters, and we are thrilled that Mark is going to be at the wheel for this film. He's a talented producer and a great collaborator who is extremely well respected across the entire studio."
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This new report also confirms that original Croods movie voice actors such as Nicolas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep), Ryan Reynolds (Guy), Catherine Keener (Ugga), Cloris Leachman (Gran) and Clark Duke (Thunk) will be back to reprise their roles, along with new voice cast member Leslie Mann, although her role wasn't revealed quite yet. This report reveals that The Croods family face their biggest challenge yet after leaving the comfort of their cave, when they come across another family of cavemen just like them. It's possible that Leslie Mann could be voicing the matriarch of this family, but that has yet to be confirmed.

This project was first announced in April 2013, just weeks after it debuted in theaters in mid-March of that year. DreamWorks Animation handed out a Croods 2 release date of December 22, 2017 back in August 2014, although no details surfaced about the project for the next few years, until November 2016, when DreamWorks Animation cancelled Croods 2. The original Croods writing and directing team of Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco were expected to return to take the helm of the sequel, but it seems that isn't happening.

This report also reveals that the animated Croods sequel has landed producer Mark Swift, who most recently produced DreamWorks Animation's Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie that hit theaters this summer. Joel Crawford has worked for DreamWorks Animation for the past 10 years, serving as a story artist on Bee Movie, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek Forever After, Kung Fu Panda 2, Rise of the Guardians, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Kung Fu Panda 3. He also served as head of story on last year's Trolls, before directing the upcoming DreamWorks Trolls Holiday special. The Hollywood Reporter doesn't have any additional details on the sequel, but now that a director has been found, hopefully we'll have more on the sequel soon.