After nearly a decade of production hell Lionsgate finally unleash a trailer for Chaos Walking alongside a new release date of 22nd Jan 2021
The trailer gives us the briefest of glimpses into the plot. Set in the near future Holland plays Todd, a teenager living on a planet in which all living creatures can see and hear each other’s thoughts. We learn that there are no woman living on the planet, having disappeared in mysterious circumstances years before (a la children in Children of Men,) so when Daisy Ridley’s Viola crash lands on the planet Todd sets out to protect her and the pair uncover the secrets of this mysterious community.
Chaos Walking seemingly has all the necessary parts to be a hit. It has a strong supporting cast including Mads Mikkelsen, David Oyelowo and Cynthia Erivo and is helmed by The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. It’s an adaption of the first book in a young adult trilogy by celebrated author Patrick Ness who also worked on the screenplay, he previously penned genuinely brilliant stage and screen adaptations of one of previous works A Monster Calls so – you know – sounds promising right?
Unfortunately much like 2019’s New Mutants, Chaos Walking has been mired in production drama for a long long time, making us a bit worried about the true quality of this film. Lionsgate originally picked up the rights to it in 2011 whilst making their smash hit The Hunger Games, at a time when the world seemed thirsty for dystopian teen dramas. They struggled to find a director for the film for a number of years before eventually progressing the project in 2016, casting Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley straight off the back of Captain America: Civil War and Star Wars: The Force Awakens and wrapping filming in November 2017. (Yes, 2017)
Originally set to be released in 2019 the test screenings for Chaos Walking were reportedly so bad that the cast and crew were sent back to do $15 million dollars worth of reshoots, these took them two years to get done what with Holland and Ridley now being busy with multi-picture franchises. Now nearly 10 years since production started, Chaos Walking is finally set for a 2021 release – but has it missed it’s window?
The Chaos Walking book trilogy was hugely successful when it started releasing in 2008 and captured that time when YA post apocalyptic fiction was everywhere. But given that it’s now 12 years since it was a big deal to its core audience – how interested will they be in seeing a film? In the wake of The Hunger Games we saw the market get oversaturated with film studios desperate to find the next big dystopian teen novel adaption but unfortunately they pretty much ranged from mediocre to outright terrible, drawing terrible reviews and dwindling box office figures. After Hunger Games wannabes such as Divergent, The Maze Runner, Ender’s Game and Mortal Instruments all failed to make a splash we need to ask ourselves: do we really need another dystopian teen series? Holland and Ridley will hopefully be enough to draw an audience but the question remains as to whether Chaos Walking has what it takes to stand out from the pack.