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June 05, 2018 at 01:04 PM EDT

The team behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have unveiled their new sci-fi playground.

With the arrival of the new Mortal Engines trailer comes a look at a story Peter Jackson has been trying to make for years. Based on the book series by Philip Reeves, the film tells of a world thousands of years in the future when cities have transformed into mobile Predator Cities that roam around on wheels and ingest smaller cities for parts.

Against this backdrop, the masked Hester Shaw (played by Hera Hilmar) shows up in the London Predator City on a mission to assassinate a man named Valentine (LOTR veteran Hugo Weaving) as vengeance for murdering her mother. But when a young, lower-class worker named Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) intervenes, both are propelled down a path towards changing the course of their world and stopping a massive nuclear weapon from decimating cities.

Jackson has been developing this book series into a film since 2008. He wrote the screenplay with his Tolkien franchise buddies, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, while Christian Rivers, Jackson’s longtime storyboard artist, makes his feature film directorial debut on Mortal Engines.

Also spotted in the footage are Korean actress Jihae as Anna Fang, Leila George as Valentine’s daughter Katherine, Ronan Raftery as Katherine’s engineer love interest Bevis Pod, and some pretty stunning sci-fi locations, like the floating Airhaven city. Avatar star Stephen Lang as “Resurrected Man” Shrike is still M.I.A. from the preview.

Mortal Engines opens in theaters this Dec. 14. Watch the new trailer above.

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