Around the time of the release of The Lord of the Rings in 2001, director Peter Jackson acquired the film rights to Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet. While the franchise’s first installment, Mortal Engines, has been in development for quite some time, Jackson has now released the first piece of concept art on his Facebook as production ramps up to meet Universal Pictures’ targeted 2018 release.
The image shows a young woman looking out over one of the book’s “Traction Cities,” although it’s not entirely clear which one. The woman is presumably Hester Shaw, whose chance encounter with Tom Natsworthy changes his life forever.
Mortal Engines is set a thousand years in the future, where following the event of an apocalyptic “Six-Minute War” big cities now travel the globe on wheels, devouring opposing cities for depleting resources. The first book has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Smarties Gold Award and the Blue Peter Book of the Year. There are three other books in the series, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.
Set for release on Dec. 14, 2018, Mortal Engines is scheduled to begin production in New Zealand this spring. Christian Rivers will direct the film, which stars Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy, Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw, Stephen Lang as Chrysler Peavy, Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine, Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy, Colin Salmon as Chudleigh Pomeroy and Ronan Raftery as Bevis Pod.