Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget comes 23 years after the original Aardman animated classic, which featured the voices of Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson as leads Ginger and Rocky.
This time around, Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi will play the roles, with Fell explaining in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the recasting came about because "in some cases" the voices "didn’t quite fit anymore".
"Going back to that temptation to make this thing and the nervously and apprehension about making it right, as much as I absolutely adore the first film, which I think is a masterpiece, I didn’t feel like I wanted to make a carbon copy," he said. "I didn’t want to be too precious around it.
"So in those first two years I started to make my own decisions and felt, casting wise, we’re 23 years later. It’s a long time. It’s almost a reboot to be honest. It’s a new director and a new era. And I just started thinking, were all those casting decisions made in the late 90s still the best for the roles now.
"It’s a very personal creative process and I felt in some cases it didn’t quite fit anymore," Fell added. "Sometimes I felt it should stay the same. Ultimately I felt like this film has evolved since the first film, the world has turned on its axis and things have changed."
Addressing the decision to recast Gibson's role, the director said: "Mel was a fabulous choice for Rocky when he was this playboy rooster. He was a movie star and Rocky was a movie star. It was perfect. But now Rocky’s more vulnerable. He’s a first-time father. It’s more Ginger’s movie, so his role is different."
Back in 2020, Sawalha criticised the decision the replace her as Ginger, saying she was told that her "voice now sounds 'too old'", and that she felt she was "unfairly dismissed".
Some stars from the first movie will be back, however, including Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton and Lynn Ferguson as Babs, Bunty and Mac, respectively, while Miranda Richardson will reprise her role as Mrs Tweedy.
New cast additions include Bella Ramsey as Molly, as well as Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays and David Bradley, who take over the roles of Nick, Fletcher and Fowler.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget comes to Netflix on December 15.
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