When veteran actor Peter Sallis passed away in 2017, fans were unsure of the future of Wallace and Gromit. Serving as the first and only voice for Wallace, since the duo’s big debut in 1989’s A Grand Day Out, there were big shoes to fill. But the official Wallace and Gromit Instagram account has pulled back the curtains and revealed that the part will be taken over by Ben Whitehead.
Since A Grand Day Out, in which the charming inventor and his silent companion travel to the moon for a cheese-centered picnic, Wallace and Gromit have enjoyed a lifetime of hijinks and adventures. The duo went on to star in two other shorts, 1993’s The Wrong Trousers1995’s A Close Shaveand 2008’s A Matter of Life and Death. In 2005, the pair starred in their own feature film, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit!
Peter Sallis was the only regular actor in the shorts. His final role as Wallace was in the 2010 miniseries, Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention. The miniseries focused on various inventions spliced with small stories featuring the Claymation duo. Afterwards, Sallis announced his retirement from acting due to declining health. He ended up passing away in June 2017.
A Continuous Build
While it’s never happy to hear of the death of a beloved actor, their characters continue to live on after them. Following the announcement of Chicken Run 2 coming to Netflix, Aardman has also announced that Wallace and Gromit will be premiering on the streaming service in 2024 in the form of a new short! The new short will bring back Nick Park, who not only directed the previous four shorts, but also created the characters. As for Wallace, he will be officially voiced by Ben Whitehead, who is no stranger to the character whatsoever. Here is the official announcement courtesy of the Wallace and Gromit Instagram.
We’re delighted to announce that Ben Whitehead will play Wallace in the upcoming VR adventure ‘The Grand Getaway’ as well as the new Wallace & Gromit film, coming to screens in 2024. We were touched to see from the many comments shared about the film that Peter Sallis, the original voice of Wallace, holds a very special place in your hearts; we’re happy that Ben will uphold Peter’s wonderful legacy by bringing Wallace’s unique charm to an exciting new chapter for the duo. For those of you that may not know, Ben has had lots of preparation and experience for this film role; in fact, he has voiced Wallace in a number of projects since 2005, inhabiting the part of Wallace just as Peter would have wanted, and honoring the memory of a special person who will always remain at the heart of the Wallace & Gromit story.
That’s right! The actor who has been playing the character in various projects, especially the various video games based on the iconic duo, will be taking over. The notable games are from the Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures series, such as Fright of the Bumblebees, The Last Resort, Muzzled!and The Bogey Man.
Considering his experience with the character, Whitehead sounds like the perfect candidate to pick up the mantle. Aardman is a company that clearly cares for the work they present, and seem very committed to keeping the spirit alive for these beloved characters. While the role of Wallace has big shoes, or big trousers, to fill, Whitehead is definitely the best person for the job! While this will be the first time the actor will be taking on the role in an official short, he’s sure to fit right in.
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