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Netflix’s ‘Wallace & Gromit,’ ‘Twilight of the Gods’ Get First Looks

Netflix Animation revealed a string of sneak peeks and new clips of its upcoming projects, including the return of villainous penguin Feathers McGraw in “Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl,” Wednesday at the Annecy Animation Festival.

“Wallace & Gromit” creator Nick Park was on hand with fellow Aardman director Merlin Crossingham to present a new clip from their upcoming feature “Vengeance Most Fowl.” Four-time Academy Award-winner Park also wrote the story, in which Gromit’s concern that Wallace is becoming too dependent on his inventions proves justified when Wallace invents a “smart” gnome dubbed “Norbot” that seems to develop a mind of its own. This is causing tension of which Wallace is unaware. Crossingham got a laugh as he explains that Wallace urged the silent Gromit to put the robot through its paces, adding, it’s voice activated.

The movie marks the return of Feathers McGraw, the sinister antagonist who first appeared in Park’s Oscar-winning 1993 short “The Wrong Trousers.” In the new clip, Feathers McGraw has been arrested following the events that took place in “The Wrong Trousers” and, found guilty of attempted burglary of the blue diamond, he’s now living in a “high security institution”–the zoo. The cunning penguin is seen doing pull-ups inside his cage while planning his revenge on Wallace & Gromit.

“Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl”
Courtesy of Netflix

In a lively conversation, Crossingham noted that Feathers McGraw’s “strength is his stillness” as he has no voice and a simple design. Meanwhile Park admitted that he considered giving Gromit a voice, and even recorded one, but after seeing how his mouth would need to move, the decision was made to keep him a silent star. He also admitted that when he created the beloved characters, Gromit started off as a cat, but “dogs are easier to make.”

“We live in a world of pet lovers,” he adds of the characters’ appeal. “We give human attributes to our pets.”

Meanwhile Wallace has an updated “Get Up Delux,” which gives him a morning bubble bath, among his latest contraptions in the movie, which will be released next winter.

A “Wallace & Gromit” exhibition is featured at Annecy, with select puppets from the new movie.

Director Vicky Jenson, best known for helming “Shrek,” shared a sneak peek at Skydance Animation’s “Spellbound,” which follows the tenacious daughter (voiced by Rachel Zegler) of the rulers of Lumbria who must save her family and kingdom after a spell transforms her parents (Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem) into giant monsters. Differentiating this approach from “Shrek,” Jenson noted that this film is “a fairy tale take on a modern story” and added that the project has been “a dream come true.”

“Spellbound” will feature a score by legendary composer Alan Menken, with lyrics by Glenn Slater.

“Spellbound”
Skydance Animation/NETFLIX

Zack and Deborah Snyder, alongside the art director Slimane Aniss, took the stage to talk about “Twilight of the Gods.” The Snyder’s describe their upcoming series as a “monumental tale, steeped in the rich lore of Norse Mythology, of mortals and gods facing off in a pitched battle, where the lines between honor and revenge are blurred.” The sneak peak included an epic dragon battle.

Following this series, there might be more animated projects from Zack Snyder. The director received enthusiastic applause when he admitted he “would love to do some more” animated work.

“Twilight of the Gods”
COURTESY OF NETFLIX

“Twilight of the Gods”
COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Hosted by producer Anna Higgs, the Netflix presentation panel got underway with Alain Chabat and Fabrice Joubert, directors of the French series “Asterix & Obelix: The Big Fight,” produced by French studio TAT and based on the beloved comic strips created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The directors introduced an exclusive clip from the show.

“The Twits”
Netflix

The presentation also included a clip of “The Twits,” Netflix’s new animated Roald Dahl project, led by writer/director/producer Phil Johnston.  

On Tuesday night in Annecy, writer-director Shannon Tindle’s “Ultraman: Rising” makes its world premiere, ahead of its June 14 debut on Netflix.

Earlier in the day, Netflix hosted a work-in-progress session for Richard Curtis’ first foray into animation, “That Christmas,” produced by Locksmith Animation and directed by Simon Otto (“Love, Death & Robots”).

Netflix is hosting a dedicated Making Of session for its hit series “Arcane,” which debuted a trailer for its second and final season earlier this week. Attending will be showrunner Christian Linke, scriptwriter Amanda Overton, senior concept artist Arnaud Baudry, director Bart Maunoury and Producer Christine Ponzevera.

The streamer will give an Annecy goodbye to its adult animated series “Big Mouth” at this year’s festival, and shared a video of the final table read. “Big Mouth” is getting an Annecy Making Of session on Thursday with co-creators Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin in attendence.

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