Watership Down will soon be a four-part animated mini series that will air on Netflix and the BBC in 2017. The new production will produce a new version of the Richard Adams’ children’s novel with James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, John Boyega and Ben Kingsley voicing the main characters.
It’s the third time that “Watership Down” has been adapted for the screen, firstly as a film in 1978 and then again for TV in 1999, The Daily Mail reports. The BBC has been circling a new adaptation of the 1972 novel since 2014.
Despite its extensive mythological rabbit civilization, its religious symbolism, and its dystopian themes of individualism in opposition to the corporate state, Richard Adams’ Watership Down series is possibly best remembered for its incredible violence-especially the animated movie, which has horrified young kids with its bunny-on-bunny violence for decades.
It’s something the new Watership adaptation won’t quite be so well known for, apparently the films’ executive producer confirmed that the new show will “tone down the levels of on-screen violence to make it more appropriate for children,” while boosting the female parts from the original book, Geek reported.
“Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down,” said Matthew Read from the BBC. “Richard Adams’ novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest-selling books in history.”
The film version has something of a reputation amongst the children of Britain who regularly saw it on Saturday afternoons. The novel’s brutal depiction of rabbits trying to find a new home just before their warren is destroyed is crammed full of on-screen violence.
The Richard Adams’ Watership Down series didn’t back down from depicting this. Producer Rory Aitken said that the new version won’t “shy away” from the novel’s darkness, although it won’t be as scarring as the film.
The Los Angeles Times said this is the first time that the BBC and Netflix have put money behind the same production, but the BBC is no stranger to teaming up with other broadcasters. As well as its partnerships with various PBS stations in the US, it’s already co-funded three seasons of Ripper Street for Amazon Prime.
Richard Adams’ Watership Down series aside, the corporation has also signed numerous distribution deals to get its back-catalog of shows onto Netflix in the US and elsewhere. Most recently, the pair agreed to distribute the revived Top Gear that’ll air in opposition to Amazon’s homegrown rival with Jeremy Clarkson.