James McAvoy Leads A Star-Studded Rabbit Rebellion In The First Trailer For Watership Down

The rabbits search for a new home. (Image: BBC)

It’s a tale of survival, pain, and the unyielding power of hope that rings just as true now as it did almost half a century ago.

The first trailer for BBC One’s Watership Down is here, boasting an A-level cast and a powerful message about doing whatever it takes to seek a better life.

Based on the novel by Richard Adams, the four-part miniseries (in the works for a few years now) stars X-Men: First Class actors James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult as Hazel and Fiver, two brothers who lead a group of rabbits in search of a new home, or warren, after one of them gets a vision that their current one will be destroyed by humans.

The group faces numerous trials along the way to finding their new warren of Watership Down, including attacks from predators and farmers ... as well as a rising threat from a dystopian warren led by a totalitarian.

There’s a strong theme of holding true to one’s ideals of freedom and equality in the wake of fascism—something that feels especially important nowadays.

But it also centres around a group of refugees who escape a doomed homeland in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones. It’s a story that shows compassion for those in need, no matter where they come from, something we can all take to heart.

In addition to McAvoy and Hoult, Watership Down also stars John Boyega, Peter Capaldi, Daniel Kaluuya, Rosamund Pike, Taron Egerton, Olivia Colman, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Tom Wilkinson, Lee Ingleby, Gemma Chan, and Daniel Rigby. The animation doesn’t look stellar, but with this series I don’t think that’s the focus. It’s really about the story. And it’s one that’s not only powerful and poignant, but relevant.

Watership Down debuts on BBC One from December 22 to 23, and will be released on Netflix sometime this month.


Comments

    Still traumatised by the original movie, I was 4.

    Reminds me to plug one of the greatest bands ever - Fall of Efrafa, who are themed around the novel.

    Type them into YouTube, the album 'Elil' is very good.

    Man, I really want this but the animation leaves something to desire. Even if it didn't, I'd rather have a 2D animation, or at least, less realistic character models for the bunnies. It's going to be a pain to know who is who whenever there are several of them in the screen or in fast action moments.

      Yeah, this animation does nothing for me. I also read somewhere in the lead up to this that they were toning down the violence and despair to make it appeal to a broader audience, which I found off-putting. The trailer looks pretty dark but Watership Down was as memorable as it was because of the bleak and traumatic themes. Don't mess with the tone of a classic.

        Yeah, spot on assessment.

          To be fair, the level bleak and traumatic themes might have been a tad excessive in the original. Also blood. So much blood.

            Yeah fair, especially for something that was only rated PG.

            It was upsetting, for sure, and I still recall how it made me feel to this day, but I don’t think it was gratuitous. Part of me thinks that if you don’t want to expose kids to such violent themes, don’t pick a source material that is known for such themes. But on the other hand, I know how driven the industry is by remakes, and I understand the decisions from a marketing perspective: it would be hard to get something like the original through the ratings board in current times, and anything over a PG would lose them a large portion of their target demographic.

      Yeah, great voice cast, but that animation looks like an animatic rather than a finished product.
      It really looks awful.

      Definitely - even Woundwort barely stands out, beyond his fur being slightly darker, and that's just sad.

      Seems like they spent their budget on the cast.

    the plot loosely reminds me of the animals of farthing woods.

      If so, it's probably because Animals of Farthing Woods took inspiration from Watership Down. Same with the Duncton books if anyone's read them (it's about moles).

        Good possibility Watership down's book was published in 1972 while the book of Animals of Farthing Woods was made in 1979

    The old animated movie traumatised me enough as a kid that I think I'll take a hard pass on this one.

    You've read the book, you've seen the series; now try the stew!

    Odd. The concept of a Watership Down remake popped in to my head just yesterday.

    I may have developed some form of not particularly useful psychic power.

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