Netflix is doubling down on Oscar-winner Chris Williams after he gave them their biggest animated film of the year with The Sea Beast. A sequel to the monster-hunting adventure is in the works at the streamer as one of two projects he's helming after signing an overall deal to stay with the company according to The Hollywood Reporter. Little is currently known about the feature, but it will see the return of veteran adventurer Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) and his newly-adopted daughter Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator).
A sequel to The Sea Beast was a no-brainer for Netflix. Despite facing stiff competition this year with the return of Henry Selick in Wendell & Wild and the highly-anticipated release of Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio among others, the former Disney writer and animator Williams created the most viewed animated feature in the platform's history based on the number of hours viewed in the film's first 28 days. Its seven-week run among the Netflix Global Weekly Top 10 Films list is also second behind only the Ryan Reynolds-led The Adam Project at eight weeks. Furthermore, The Sea Beast also hung around in the Top 10 for 40 non-consecutive days or more in 30 separate countries.
Until the success of The Sea Beast, Williams had never even considered a sequel. Neither did Netflix, for that matter, as he detailed they were ready to keep him aboard even before the film exploded. Speaking with THR, once he knew that the sequel was a go and began to plan it out, he realized there was plenty more to explore:
And primarily, I was thinking about this brand new family of Jacob and Maisie that have been thrown together. Suddenly Jacob is a parent, a parent to an especially willful kid, right? And so when you see them on the dock, you know that’s not what parenting looks like. It’s far messier, far more complicated and more trying at times than that. So the idea of the challenges of this new family became interesting to me. And I also wondered about whether every single hunter in the world would just give up their source of income and identity, and I thought there’s a lot more story here.
Williams Has the Freedom to Make the Sea Beast Sequel He Wants
The Sea Beast was based on the adventure flicks Williams always loved and the ancient tales of creatures lurking in the Earth's waters. It recounted Jacob's journey to slay a legendary beast with his crew, an endeavor that becomes complicated when the young wannabe monster hunter Maisie stows away on his ship. Alongside Urban and Hator, the film boasted a strong cast including Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Kathy Burke, Dan Stevens, and Kaya McLean.
A highlight of the film which drew comparisons to How To Train Your Dragon was said legendary beast Red who was far from the vicious monster foretold and instead befriended Jacob and Maisie. With the return of the adventurers, Williams was naturally asked if their giant sea beast pal would be back as well. For now, he's non-committal, noting that his ideas for the sequel will always be evolving until the film is complete:
Can I say… maybe? One of the things that is true about story is that it always evolves. Dramatically, even. Sea Beast used to be called Jacob and the Sea Beast before Maisie existed. And it underwent a radical transformation. Almost anything I say now, in four years, can be completely different. The story will get a life of its own and communicate back to you and say, “This thing you thought was so great? It’s not so great.” Or, “This thing you didn’t think much of? It’s pretty great.” And in interacting with the story team, the story also grows.
Stay tuned here at Collider for more on The Sea Beast sequel as work gets underway at Netflix. In the meantime, check out a previous interview our Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub conducted with Williams discussing why he chose to leave Disney.