The BBC's Christmas schedule is positively full to bursting this year, and one major highlight is the broadcaster's all-star remake of the Richard Adams classic,
Watership Down. And when I say all-star, I really mean all-star: the is so brimming with A-listers, it'll coax back even the most haunted of childhood readers, who still occasionally relive the Sandleford rabbits' ordeal in their nightmares. Listen: who better to quash that childhood terror than James McAvoy, friends? Or John Boyega? Or Olivia Colman, or Gemma Chan, or Nicholas Hoult? Watership Down voice cast
According to the
Radio Times, , December 22, at 7 p.m. on BBC One (while Netflix will broadcast the adaptation internationally). It was Watership Down airs this Saturday written by Tom Bidwell and directed by Noam Murro — and I really can't overstate just how massive that cast is. In supporting roles, there's names like Mackenzie Crook, Rory Kinnear, Miles Jupp, Freddie Fox, Jason Watkins, and Craig Parkinson. And they've only gone and got Daniel Kaluuya in there! Sir Ben Kingsley! Gemma Arterton! Peter Capaldi! Want a rundown of (most of) the luminaries of Hollywood lending their voices to the rabbits of Watership Down? You've come to the right place. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Hazel is the leader of the band of rabbits as they flee the Sandleford warren and seek out Watership Down; his kind, courageous leadership ultimately earns him the position of Chief Rabbit. McAvoy, of course, has depicted an anthropomorphised animal before (or half of one, at least) — remember ? The Chronicles of Narnia's Mr Tumnus
In Adams' novel, Fiver is the
younger brother of Hazel, and a seer. It's his vision that foretells the destruction of Sandleford warren — and thus precipitates the rabbit's quest to Watership Down. Wonder if Hoult will bring some of his Beast to Fiver?
brave and loyal Bigwig was once an officer of the Owsla, or the rabbit military, before escaping and joining Hazel's band. Which sounds an awful lot like the trajectory of Boyega's Finn, the stormtrooper defector introduced in , doesn't it? Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Strawberry: Olivia Colman
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Oscar favourite Colman plays Strawberry, a rabbit from a seemingly inviting warren with a treacherous twist. Ultimately, Strawberry joins the Sandleford rabbits and leads their mission to Efrafa.
General Woundwort: Sir Ben Kingsley
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Woundwort, the despotic leader of the Efrafa warren, is the primary antagonist of
Watership Down. He runs Efrafa as a police state, and launches an attack on the Sandleford rabbits' new home. Watership Down isn't Kingsley's first voice role in a remade children's classic: in 2016, he played Bagheera in Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book . Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Bluebell flees the decimated Sandleford warren with Captain Holly, played by Freddie Fox; his jokes allow for his own recovery from trauma, as well as Holly's. Next year, Kaluuya will appear in an
animated reworking of : could the actor become something of a holiday staple? A Christmas Carol
Arterton's Clover is a
rabbit kept in a hutch at Nuthanger Farm, who is ultimately freed by Hazel. She makes it to Watership Down, where she pairs up with Holly and gives birth to a litter. (Anyone else suddenly overcome with guilt for having pet rabbits as a child?) Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Wilkinson, who you might recognise from
Amma Asante's (as well as Belle about 800 other films), plays the original Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford warren. He ignores the efforts of Fiver, Hazel, and Bigwig to warn him of the warren's impending destruction. Jeff Spicer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images From a Time Lord to a seagull: Capaldi plays Kehaar, a black-headed gull whose wing injury leads him to Watership Down. The rabbits nurse him to recovery, and they become close friends. Rich Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Dewdrop doesn't actually appear in Richard Adams' original novel, so you'll have to wait for the BBC adaptation to air to see Chan's character in action. The actor features in some of the biggest films of this year (and next), from
; little wonder, then, that Chan was cast in the all-star Crazy Rich Asians to Captain Marvel Watership Down.
El-Ahrairah: Taron Egerton
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El-Ahrairah is a rabbit folk hero, who appears regularly in the tales told by the rabbits. Which isn't too dissimilar to Egerton's
recent major role as Robin Hood, is it? The Watership Down casting team evidently did their research.
Hyzenthlay: Anne-Marie Duff
John Phillips/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images plays Hyzenthlay, a rabbit who has visions like Fiver and ultimately pairs up with his brother, Hazel (interestingly, Shameless star Duff Duff was formerly married to McAvoy, who voices Hazel.) Hyzenthlay and Bigwig coordinate the escape of the rabbits of Efrafa — and narrowly escape themselves.
The Black Rabbit Of Inlé: Rosamund Pike
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Pike's Amy Dunne in Gone Girl didn't hesitate to murder to further her own interests. But the Black Rabbit of Inlé, while similarly death-adjacent, is more like the rabbit Grim Reaper, ensuring each rabbit passes to the afterlife in accordance with their preordained fate.