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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Artemis Fowl is no antihero in this new trailer for Kenneth Branagh's delayed adaptation

Illustration for article titled Artemis Fowl is no antihero in this new trailer for Kenneth Branagh's delayed adaptation
Screenshot: YouTube

No, you’re not having déjà vu. The first trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Artemis Fowl YA series dropped back in 2018, when the film was slated for an August 2019 release date. That didn’t happen, obviously, and though one might suspect some behind-the-scenes fuckery, especially considering Branagh’s made some pretty bold changes to the source material, there’s been no reports of reshoots. Instead, the film’s move to 2020 is likely due to Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which saw no shortage of shakeups.


Of course, it’s hard to know who’s all that excited for this take on Eoin Colfer’s series, as it appears to reframe Artemis not as an antihero but as a sweet, reluctant tween. Artemis begins the books as a sort of pre-teen Lex Luthor who kidnaps a fairy and holds her for ransom, but later books find him begrudgingly joining forces with the magical creatures he used to despise. Here, there’s none of that nuance; Artemis is simply called into action after his father, played by Colin Farrell, mysteriously disappears. In 2018, Branagh said that Artemis’s antihero bonafides were “sort of a cool thing,” but that it’s hard to “depict responsibly” in a Disney movie. This one, unfortunately, reeks of Disney trying to smoosh an existing property into a pre-established mold, but, hey, we’d love to be surprised.

Watch the trailer below.

Here’s a synopsis:

Disney’s Artemis Fowl, based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, is a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father who has mysteriously disappeared. With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization—the amazingly advanced world of fairies. Deducing that his father’s disappearance is somehow connected to the secretive, reclusive fairy world, cunning Artemis concocts a dangerous plan—so dangerous that he ultimately finds himself in a perilous war of wits with the all-powerful fairies.

Ferdia Shaw stars as Artemis, while Josh Gad and Judi Dench round out the cast alongside Lara McDonnell, Nonso Anozie, and Tamara Smart. It hits theaters on May 29.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.