New Mortal Engines Trailer Releases at NYCC

The latest from Peter Jackson and Weta digital is the sci-fi epic Mortal Engines, based on the award-winning sci-fi novels by Philip Reeve.

A new trailer debuted during a panel at New York Comic Con with Andy Serkis.

Mortal Engines is Christian Rivers’ first film as director, and Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh are producing and writing. The film is set in a distant future where cities have become massive mobile machines (called traction cities) that literally eat each other for fuel and parts. Think more Mad Max than steampunk—though there are plenty of airships and London nobles.

Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) is a young woman bent on hunting down Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), a famous historian from the powerful traction city of London. When her assassination attempt is stopped by Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), the two of them end up in the Outlands—otherwise known as the grounds scoured by traction cities. After falling under the wing of the anti-tractionist leader Anna Fang (Jihae), the unlikely duo learn of a dark plot brewing in London, with Valentine behind all of it.

mortal engines trailer

The second trailer gives us a bit more of Hester’s backstory and her connection to Valentine. True to the source material, Valentine and Hester’s mother were colleagues in archaeology, until her mother’s shocking discovery led to her demise at Valentine’s hand. This disturbing event cast Hester out into a hard world on her own.

Anna Fang plays the role of the mentor, aiding Hester in her personal mission to stop Valentine—and in the process, the city of London.

We get our first look at Shrike, played by Stephen Lang, who is a “resurrected man”—a once human turned into a killing machine called a “Stalker.” His grating voice announces “I WILL KILL HER,” just before we get to see Shrike’s metal mask and glowing green eyes.

Just as in the first trailer, the traction cities look massive and stunning—not necessarily realistic, but Mortal Engines has never been about realism.

Fans of the books will notice some key details that speak to Rivers’s commitment to the novel: Shrike cutting the power at Airhaven, Pandora Shaw discovering the MEDUSA codes, Hester’s red scarf, the Shield Wall at Batmunkh Gompa—all signs that a faithful adaptation is in the works.

There’s a notable lack of Tom Natsworthy in this trailer, and in the first trailer, and in the movie posters. It looks like Hester is taking the helm as the protagonist with Tom having a smaller role, but Hester always was the more complicated and interesting character.

This trailer emphasizes that this is a movie of scale, action, and improbable contraptions—which is sure to make fans of the books very happy.

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