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Do you love wordplay, garden ornaments, and the music of Elton John? If so, I've got some truly thrilling news for you! Gnomeo & Juliet, Disney's lawn-set adventure about two star-crossed ceramic gnomes, is on the fast track to getting it's part two. Of course, the original film drew its inspiration—and pun title—from William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, but unlike that tragic tale, these warring Montagues and Capulets put aside their difference without any bloodshed…though their was some injuries that required hefty amounts of glue. The point is: the capering gnomes are all primed for a new adventure.
Earlier this year, details about the sequel emerged revealing that its title Sherlock Gnomes refers to a new figure in the world of lawn gnomes, sassy frogs, and plastic flamingos, who is tasked with solving the mystery of the garden's missing ornaments/residents. Elton John is back as producer and set to contribute original music for the production; screenwriters Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil are likewise returning. But rather than bringing back Gnomeo & Juliet helmer Kelly Asbury, Deadline reports Kung Fu Panda co-director John Stevenson has been brought on board.
Stevenson has a long history in animation, that dates back to the 1980s, where he worked as a storyboard artist on the cartoon series Count Duckula. Since then he has contributed to such celebrated animated efforts as Shrek, Shrek 2 and Madagascar. He tried his hand at directing in 2004 with the short-lived prime-time cartoon series Father of the Pride, and made the leap to feature director in 2008, co-helming Kung Fu Panda alongside Mark Osborne. Sherlock Gnomes will mark Stevenson's first feature he'll helm solo. Perhaps his background in helping craft stories that are both visually compelling and emotionally engaging will give the Gnomeo & Juliet sequel a depth the original lacked. If not, there'll still be 3D to keep the box office numbers up and the kids engaged, right?
Production on Sherlock Gnomes will begin early next year.