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Netflix and the BBC are working on an animated Watership Down series

Netflix and the BBC are working on an animated Watership Down series


John Boyega and Sir Ben Kingsley to star as rabbits

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Fresh off a star-making turn as Finn in The Force Awakens, John Boyega's next big role will be as a small bunny. Boyega will play Bigwig the rabbit in a four-part animated adaptation of seminal children's book Watership Down being developed by Netflix and the BBC. Alongside Boyega's bunny will be voices from X-Men star James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult — recently seen semi-naked and high as a kite on chrome spray in Mad Max — and Sir Ben Kingsley.

"Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down," the BBC's Matthew Read said, describing Richard Adams' novel as "one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest-selling books in history." First published in 1972, Watership Down tells the story of a group of rabbits trying to escape dangers from their environment, from humans, and from fellow rabbits, traveling through the English countryside and dodging death from all angles along the way.

John Boyega will play Bigwig the bunny

The first animated adaptation of the book came in 1978, and scarred countless younger viewers at the time with its brutal depictions of crazed rabbits, terrifying dogs, and cruel, callous humans. The new version "won't shy away from the darkness in the book," executive producer Rory Aitken said, but he noted that "visually it won't be as brutal and scarring" as some of the darker scenes from the 1978 version. The new version will be computer animated and will clock in at four hours long all together — plenty of time to terrify a fresh generation of viewers when it airs on BBC One in the UK, and on Netflix internationally next year.