It has been two years since Peter Jackson released The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, the underwhelming finale to his The Hobbit trilogy. After spending nearly six years on the extended prequel series, Jackson’s ready to stretch his legs and explore new territory. It was reported a little while back that Jackson would bring Philip Reeve’s novel Mortal Engines, the first installment in a sci-fi/fantasy series, to the big screen, and that still remains the case. But there’s a catch this time.
He’s currently adapting the film’s screenplay, alongside his writing team Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Sadly, however, that appears to be as far as he’ll go in the creative process. Instead, he’s opting to let his longtime collaborator Christian Rivers take a spin in the director’s chair for his feature-length film debut.
Collider reported. Rivers and Jackson go back many years, with Rivers first working as a storyboard artist/special effects technician on the excellent 1992 film Dead Alive. Since then, he worked on Heavenly Creatures, The Frighteners, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong (where he won an Oscar), The Lovely Bones and then The Hobbit trilogy as a splinter unit director. He also served as a second unit director on this summer’s Pete’s Dragon. He’s moved up the food chain sufficiently.
Along with their writing credits, Jackson and Walsh will also produce, while Boyens co-produces. It takes place in a world thousands of years in the future, with Earth’s cities roaming the globe on gigantic wheels in a struggle for ever-dwindling resources in a depleting world. It centers on Tom Natsworthy, who sets off on an adventure when he crosses paths with a woman from the Outlands.
Production plans to begin in spring 2017 in, of course, New Zealand. Universal will back the project. More details should arrive soon.
There’s no word yet on what Jackson will direct next. Of course, there are always rumors. We’ll just wait and see what happens.