Rocky & Ginger watching their daughter Molly hatch in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.

Image: Aardman Animations/Netflix

Aardman Animations has been defined by its clay animation techniques. Known as Newplast plasticine, it’s been used since the studio’s inception back in 1972, in all its productions, from the Wallace & Gromit shorts to more recent fare like Star Wars Visions and Shaun the Sheep. You know you’re watching an Aardman production when you see it, and it’s hard to imagine them not doing claymation.

But according to The Telegraph, those days may potentially be over for the British studio. Earlier this year, the only factory still making Newplast was based in Torquay (a town inside the county of Devon, England) and closed down. The studio uses a lot of clay during production, and ahead of the factory’s closure, it bought the entire remaining material that was in the warehouse. If this reminds you of the pink paint shortage caused by the Barbie movie this past summer, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that. All of what remains of that clay is now being used for a Wallace & Gromit film due to release in 2024.

The Clay in Stop-Motion Animation at Aardman Studios

The material is named after its creator Lewis Newplast, a schoolteacher who created it in his garden shed. The plasticine is easy to mold and able to maintain its shape. And once it’s gone, it’s gone: the outlet revealed Aardman is looking for a suitable replacement, or possibly considering creating its own substitute. As far as where they are on that front, it’s not discussed within the piece itself, and we likely won’t know until Aardman outright says as such, likely whenever that Wallace & Gromit film draws closer to release.

Even with that inevitability looming overhead, it doesn’t sound like Aardman’s staff is letting it down their spirits. They remain hard at work on Netflix’s Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, which sees the chickens from the original film (some of which are voiced by new actors) break into a farm controlled by Mrs. Tweedy from the first movie. The movie hits Netflix on December 15.

You can read director Sam Fell’s thoughts on developing the film (and his overall thoughts on claymation and stop-motion) here.


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