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There was a 38 year gap between British director Robin Hardy’s excellent 1973 debut The Wicker Man and its 2011 sequel The Wicker Tree. And even though Hardy will turn 84 years old in October, I still expected at least another decade to go by before he started on The Wrath of the Gods, the third film in the Wicker trilogy. However, the director has told ScreenDaily that it won’t be long at all before he begins working on it. The only other film Hardy has directed was 1986’s thriller The Fantasist, so it’s hard to tell whether we should be excited about this news or wary.
"I am just at the opening stages of financing it, and hope to make it next year," Hardy announced to the site. He’s actually been planning to make it for the last two years, but he seems more assured about it this time around. “The first two films are all about offers to the Gods. The third film is about the Gods. I use the vehicle of the final act of Götterdämmerung,” translated as “Twilight of the Gods,” which is the last opera of Richard Wagner’s four-part Ring Cycle, on which this series is loosely based. He says this new film won’t be “heavily Wagner-esque,” but will continue exploring the themes of the trilogy’s first two films - including Pagan rituals and their consequences.
What's more, the original film is getting a newly discovered “final cut” that will be released as a 40th anniversary Blu-ray in October - though right now it only looks like it will be coming out in the UK. Check the art below.
Everything that that first film did correctly to earn its cult classic status The Wicker Tree failed to do on all fronts, but it was merely boring, whereas Neil LaBute’s 2006 remake was just insane and terrible. I’d certainly rather sit through an unexciting Wrath of the Gods over the Japanese-set sequel that Nic Cage talked about last year.
While Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz did a good job of portraying the cult sensibilities of a small community, the only film in recent years that has matched the particular sense of clueless dread that the original Wicker Man achieved is Ben Wheatley’s 2011 thriller Kill List, which similarly avoided exposition and let audiences fill in the blanks as they go.
Below you’ll find the theatrical trailers for both The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree, and let us know in the comments how you feel about Hardy's decision to complete his trilogy.