Long before the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, there was Watership Down, the classic 1978 children’s animation that ended in a bunny bloodbath.
Despite its traumatizing scenes, it became a mainstay in many a British childhood, so the news that it was being remade was met with some trepidation. The new version will make its way to the U.S. courtesy of Netflix later this month, and a trailer released yesterday (December 4) was our first chance to see if those worries were warranted.
(Warren-ted? Geddit?) Anyway, here it is:
The new version is certainly voiced by an incredible cast. It tells the story of rabbit brothers Hazel and Fiver, played by X-Men‘s James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult respectively, who lead a band of rabbits, including Strawberry (The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman), Bigwig (Star Wars‘ John Boyega), Clover (former Bond girl Gemma Arterton), Hawkbit (Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Mackenzie Crook), Cowslip (Penny Dreadful‘s Rory Kinnear) and Bluebell (Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya), to the promised land.
On the way they must dodge mankind, dogs, farm cats, and evil rabbit General Woundwort (Sir Ben Kingsley) to avoid meeting the Black Rabbit (Rosamund Pike). Even Doctor Who‘s Peter Capaldi is there, as black-headed gull Kehaar (look out for him divebombing the rabbits at 01:16).
There’s just one thing missing: the music. The 1978 original was famous for its Art Garfunkel soundtrack, and to this day it is possible to reduce any British person aged 5 – 50 to a sniveling mess with a single blast of “Bright Eyes.”
It’s been replaced by “Fire on Fire,” an original song by Oscar-winning Bond theme writer Sam Smith.
“I am so excited and honored to be a part of this new adaptation of Watership Down,” said Sam in a statement. “This story is so powerful and timeless, and it has been thrilling to work with [director] Noam [Murro] and his team and the incredible Steve Mac on this song for it. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.”
Watership Down will be released as four episodes on Netflix on December 23.
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