Oscar-winning ‘Big Hero 6’ director signs overall deal with the streamer that includes both a follow-up to his 2022 seafaring tale, the streamer’s most successful animated feature ever, and an original fantasy in the vein of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Princess Bride.’
On the heels of signing an overall deal late last year, Oscar-winning director Chris Williams now has two animated feature film projects in the works at Netflix, including a just announced sequel to his 2022 hit, The Sea Beast, according to The Hollywood Reporter and confirmed to AWN by Netflix.
The Sea Beast is the most successful animated film in the streamer’s history, based on viewing hours during the first 28 days of release. No small feat, considering the film was released in a year that saw Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, and of course, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Debuting last July 7, it spent seven consecutive weeks in the Global Weekly Top 10 Films list as well.
Williams, a Disney veteran who won an Oscar in 2014 for directing Big Hero 6 and a nomination in 2009 for Bolt, left the studio and began work on The Sea Beast back in 2018. The movie takes place in an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes - and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. When young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he’s saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history.
In the sequel, Williams is bringing back monster hunter Jacob and his now adopted daughter, Maisie. His other Netflix project is “an original fantasy where Williams hopes to use his world-building chops to tell a story both big and small, in the tradition of The Lord of the Rings but with the attitude of The Princess Bride.”
In an extensive interview with AWN, Williams talked about the film and how his commitment to visual realism and nuanced storytelling helped shape the epic, seafaring tale.
The Sea Beast’s voice cast features Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens, and Kathy Burke. The film is produced by Jed Schlanger p.g.a. and Williams p.g.a., from a screenplay by Williams, and Nell Benjamin. Music is produced by Mark Mancina; Joyce Arrastia serves as editor.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.