Will there be a Mortal Engines movie sequel?

Thursday, November 21, 2019
mortal engines concept art nik henderson

Is there going to be a Predator's Gold sequel to Mortal Engines?

While Peter Jackson and company are keen on doing Mortal Engines sequels and the movie has had a fair bit of praise, there has been no formal announcement of sequel plans. 

Star Wars on the other hand...

Making a Hollywood movie blockbuster is no mean feat. Just ask the quotable Sith Lord Darth Vader.

If it were easy to do so, every good story about space aliens driving trains would be turned into a film. So, to convince a studio executive to plump up some cash for an untested 'Intellectual Property' is a mission and a half.

It's why sequels are so popular, they are cash cows with less risk than something untested. Look at Marvel's Ironman, it's had like 169 sequels already...

So, when it comes to the Philip Reeve novel, Mortal Engines, no studio exec is going to take a punt on a book about giant cities driving around eating each other.

Unless Peter Jackson is attached to write and produce it.

So, that's the angle the studios are taking. Jackson and his NAME have been tasked to get Mortal Engines across the line.

Given the novel has three sequels and three prequels, there's a mapped out path that a movie sequel can take (Predator's Gold etc) but will ME get one?

Film producer Peter Jackson said:

“As for whether we go ahead or not with the others, it’s not in our hands,” said Jackson. All we can do is to make the very best film for Mortal Engines that we can. And I’m certainly confident that we’ve done that. I don’t know how we could made anything better than to be made to be honest, you know, based on that book. So we’ve done our job and now it’s really a case of making the film and seeing the audiences show up.”


Oscar-winning scriptwriter and longtime Jackson associate, Philipa Boyens had this to say when asked about the possibility of a second film:

"I certainly never sat down and I know Pete did sat down and thought of this in terms of a sequel–you know, sequels. I mean, we’re just, like, get this thing working first. And then think about what may happen."

"But, mostly, this has to work as a film. This may be the only one. Who knows? I hope not because I think it’s a–I think the story just keeps getting better and better. And I want to see the other traction engines now that I’ve seen in this one.

I want to see Panzerstadt. I want to see Arkangel. I want to see these ones that are bigger and meaner."

Boyen's 'has to work' as a film comment is telling and I think it almost has a double meaning. Obviously, ME needs to be a good film, one that viewers enjoy watching. But it also has to work for it's success. It needs to perform at the box office.

Big time.

I don't think ME will get a second sequel if it just does OK. It will need to perform all around the world, especially and obviously in the United States. Shame it has bombed and not covered costs.

So will Mortal Engines be a success and earn a sequel? This author is personally worried.

While we gave it a fairly enthusiastic review, some critics have savaged the film. Honestly, it makes me cry into my pH tested kombucha.

If you've seen the film and read the book, you'll know that a key plot point of the final book will have to be resolved in a clever way, but let's not get ahead of ourselves and hope we get to see the Predator's Gold novel developed for the big screen.

The Netflix Option for Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines is such a sprawling saga, there is no reason why it cannot be turned into a television series that is featured on a medium such as Netflix. There's plenty of ways to scale back the CGI and make it more of a story about the people rather than a CGI gorefest.

Having the Mortal Engines show on Netflix would allow for the story to develop at a longer pace, offer more room for character development and allow for many side stories as well.

You could even start with a prequel show about Anna Fang, yes, that would be excellent - you could base the character arc on the story points in the novels and the Night Flights short story collection.

If we are lucky, Thunder City will be adapted into a stand-alone film.


The glorious concept art above is by the talented Nik Henderson.


  1. "The trailer was nothing to write home about in terms of feel or giving one a sense of 'instant classic'."

    Sadly, I have to agree. neither of the trailers have convinced me that the film will be a huge hit, and the competition around Christmas will be fierce: Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, Alita, Bumblebee. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing that looks BAD in the trailers; they just have failed to grab me. Not good as I'm a huge fan of the books and the author who desperately wants to see the film succeed, as I want to see all 4 books adapted (as long as they stick to the ending of the final one).

    I'm hoping there will be another. more enticing, trailer before release.

  2. Don't tell the whole plot in the trailer, is that simple. Imo the teaser worked better because the audience was left asking questions. They wanted to know more. The official trailer told more that it should. Look at "Man of Steel" trailer for example, just a few punchlines on a story everyone knows about and even today is one of the best trailers ever made. Mortal Engines have everything to succeed but needs a good trailer that will make the audience want to know more. Let them ask questions that will get answers on the 14 of December.

  3. Mortal Engines may end up like the 2012 Total Recall remake. That film did OK somewhat, but didn't receive any sequels. Also, ME may end up like the 2013 Mortal Instruments film, which didn't meet the success criteria to spawn a sequel as the producers envisioned.

    1. True. Good cinema needs to make uge money to produce sequels. The most unfair cases are Mad Max Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049. These are some of the best films ever made that won't have a sequel cause they only made 300 million. And then you have superhero movies one after the other just because ppl like saviors in spandex. Only the colour of the suit is different. That is cinema goers these days. I hope Mortal Engines makes over half a billion. I think it will, PJ knows how to adapt a good story into an amazing film.

  4. Clearly, the biggest concerns for the ME movie lie with its marketing and the studio. Best case scenario is that this is just some bad marketing, which can improve with feedback (they already made the logo more readable and less ugly, for one thing). Worst case scenario is that the studio has stepped in to turn the film into a more generic cgi dystopian tropefest even though the filmmakers have repeatedly said that audiences are tired of that and want originality and substance to match with style. What's worrying is that the production and marketing costs incurred by this film might exceed the combined revenue of the studio.

    It may not the only one that causes Mortal Engines to fail or do OK. It's the alt-right or Russian trolls, or something.

    That's why Peter Jackson also told us that the Mortal Engines movie will feature particular references and keep a few doors open -- allowing a sequel to pick up certain threads. That being said, he also stressed that these elements would remain small and wouldn't detract from the larger self-contained nature of the story being told, just in case sequels don't wind up happening (making it the only one in the series).

    If sequels don't wind up happening though, any fan project can serve as a stealth follow-up.


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