In the original “Chicken Run,” much of Ginger’s apparent fearlessness was actually the product of fear. As demonstrated to the audience in a scene that left scars on the psyche of many children (and a few adults), the chickens who failed to lay enough eggs to satisfy Mrs. Tweedy’s quota got moved on to the next (and final) stage of their careers in the food production industry: a block of wood, an ax, and a swift chop. With nothing to lose and only a grim, bloody future ahead, it was easier to take risks. But with an idyllic island chicken paradise and a family to protect, Ginger has even more reasons to be afraid.
“Ginger’s slightly traumatized, she kind of has a fear now,” said Fell. “I looked at like Ripley in [‘Aliens’], you know, she doesn’t want to go back down to the planet because she knows what’s out there.” Molly, meanwhile, grows up in the safe cocoon of the island with no awareness of what happens to chickens in the outside world. And because she’s inherited Ginger’s bold spirit and Rocky’s thrill-seeking daredevil ways, Molly is anxious to find out if the grass really is greener on the other side.
As if that prospect wasn’t scary enough for Ginger, Fell also wanted to “make the threat bigger” in “Dawn of the Nugget.” Tweedy’s Farm wasn’t exactly paradise, but compared to the modern horrors of factory farming, “it’s kind of like a nice organic farm, really.” As Molly seeks adventure beyond the island, Mrs. Tweedy is waiting with a new look, a new husband, and a sinister lair called Chicken Funland. Let’s hope Ginger can find a powered exoskeleton that fits chickens.
“Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” releases December 15, 2023, on Netflix.