How should the Mortal Engines film start?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Edit: Turns out this is basically what the trailer does but for the voice over!! And it's kinda like Star Wars.

Edit 2: Stephen Lang is confirmed as doign the voice over for the start of the movie, so we called it!

We really hope that it begins as it does on the very first page of the original book. We know that Peter Jackson and Christian Rivers will no doubt change things up (Reeve's has actually confirmed this) but there is something magical about that first line of the novel:

"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town cross the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

It's become quite a famous first line. We recently learned that it was in part inspired by the George Orwell book, 1984.

What we really, really want though is for Stephen Lang to narrate the line over the actual scene as his character Shrike.

There's precedent for an opening narration as Cate Blanchett did one for The Fellowship of the Ring and practically the whole of The Lovely Bones was narrated by Saoirse Ronan.

The reason for the character of Shrike doing this would be to allow the movies to come full circle like they do in the novels.

Spoilers for those who haven't read a book that came out in 2006.

The fourth and final adventure in the Mortal Engines series is called A Darkling Plain. It is a grand tale of adventure which ends with the Shrike telling the tale of life. He begins the tale by reciting the first line of the original novel. It's a nice literary twist in the tale and a touching moment that draws the story to an emotional close.

It would be amazing to think that if the Mortal Engines film series is able to get to 4 films (17 if we know Jackson) that it finishes in a similar vein.


  1. I've been thinking about this of late, as the final book is possibly my favourite - so I'm really hoping they get there. As it stands, the "completion of the circle" works as a wonderful surprise on the page, but if they use Stephen Lang as a narrator it will somewhat spoil the ending. (An aside: If he's filming Avatar sequels for the next decade or so, where does this leave potential ME sequels?). I guess he could do it in his own voice (I assume he'll have a SHRIKE VOICE) but it's too recognisable.

    My suggestion: ME - text intro (possibly a vaguely "robotic" font), dissolve to the chase; DP - Shrike speaking, dissolve to same shot.

    Note to PJ & CR: If this has helped, tickets to the UK premiere or one of those sweet crew Gerbers would be cool.

  2. That would work for readers of the book... but I'm thinking there will a great 'unwashed' out there who will not have a clue as to the ending. They could def do a Lang voice / shrike split..... And Avatar is being filmed in NZ so Lang may as well move to NZ!!!


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