1st Look: Watership Down

“All the world is your enemy. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you.”

Recently released is the official trailer to the BBC/Netflix mini-series Watership Down, an adaptation of the novel written by Richard Adams.

The story told of a group of rabbits, led by Hazel, along with his psychic brother, Fiver, who are in search of a new home, or warren as they call it, where they and future generations will be safe. During their quest, they encounter plenty of danger including humans, dogs, and even other rabbits. They even befriend a seagull who helps them along the way.

The novel was released in 1972 to critical acclaim. In 1978, an animated film was produced, featuring the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Denholm Elliot, and Zero Mostel, which received mostly positive reviews. Now, Netflix and BBC-One are set to release a four part adaptation of the novel, using CGI, and much like the 1978 film, an impressive voice cast.

The cast includes James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) who provides the voice of Hazel, who leads his fellow rabbits on a quest for a new warren. His fellow X-Men star, Nicolas Hoult, is the voice of Fiver, who’s psychic vision of imminent danger sets the rabbits off on their quest. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) is the voice of Bigwig, a former officer of the rabbits old home, who joins the group and helps save them during the climatic fight.  Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) is the voice of General Woundwart, a dictator of the warren Efrafa, who seeks out to destroy Watership Down. Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) provides the voice of Kehaar, the loud seagull who befriends and helps Hazel and company. Also included in the cast is James Faulkner (Game Of Thrones) as the voice of Frith, the creator of the world, who promised that all rabbits will thrive, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as the voice of El-Ahrairah, a rabbit folk hero, who’s stories are told to rabbits of every generation, and Rosamund Pike (Thunderbirds Are Go) as The Black Rabbit Of Inle, the Grim Reaper of the rabbits.

Both the original novel and the 1978 film were not without controversy, most notably on the violence portrayed, in some countries the film was given a G rating, despite the violence. From the brief glimpses shown in the trailer, it appears as if the producers are keeping that same tone. The mini-series was adapted by Tom Bidwell and directed by Noam Murro. It was co-produced by BBC-One and Netflix. BBC-One will debut the mini-series on December 22, with Netflix making it available to it’s worldwide subscribers on December 23rd.

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