The Art of Wolfwalkers preview teases the artistic blend of new animated fantasy film
Animals have long been a mainstay of animation; it's easier, after all, to draw them interacting with humans than it is to train real-life animals to respond in front of a camera. The upcoming animated film Wolfwalkers from Cartoon Saloon embodies this tradition with a story about Irish mystics who are able to control wolves and transform themselves. Unfortunately for them, the movie is set in the 17th century, when Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell ruled the British Isles. Eager to establish his new authority in Ireland, this Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) is determined to eliminate the wolves of the forest and bend all of Ireland to his Christian rule.
The main impediment to the Lord Protector's plans is a pair of young girls, one English and one Irish. Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey) is the daughter of a renowned English hunter (Sean Bean) brought to Ireland to hunt the wolves. Mebh Óg MacTíre (Eva Whittaker) is the daughter of the local wolfwalker leader, tasked with protecting the pack during her mother's absence. Despite coming from two different walks of life, Robyn and Mebh find a connection in their desire to protect the wolves and avert violence.
Directed by Ross Stewart and Tomm Moore (The Song of the Sea), Wolfwalkers will hit select U.S. theaters on Nov. 13 via GKids, and will be released on Apple TV+ on Dec. 11. Before then, you can get a taste of the new animated film with some exclusive concept art from The Art of Wolfwalkers, written by Charles Solomon, below.
The first piece is by concept artist Alice Dieudonné, and is an echo of tapestries of St. George and the Dragon, with the dragon in this Catholic legend replaced by a wolf. The second piece depicts Robyn confronting Mebh and the wolf pack, with a background by Dieudonné and characters by Moore. The third piece, by Moore, shows Mebh's relationship with the wolves. The fourth piece, by Federico Pirovano, depicts a particularly rambunctious moment between Mebh and the wolves. The next piece depicts Robyn's spirit, in wolf form, returning to her body; the characters are by Anita Gaughan and the backgrounds are by various artists. In the final preview image, Moore depicts a happy fantasy of Robyn's father meeting Mebh's mother.
The Art of Wolfwalkers is out Nov. 10 from Abrams Books.