Movies have been exploring the darker side of children’s stories for some time now, and the results are always mixed—you never know if you’re going to end up with a Maleficent or a Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Still, Warner Bros. is taking a crack at this popular angle with Mowgli, a dark exploration of The Jungle Book’s protagonist. The movie, which is directed by Andy Serkis, which released its first trailer today, features a star-studded cast as Mowgli’s animal friends and enemies.
If the trailer is any indication, this Jungle Book interpretation keeps all the CGI of Disney’s “live-action” reboot, but reinvents the celebrated film with edge instead of whimsy. Mowgli (Rohan Chand) first appears in a cage, his origin narrated by the paternalistic panther Bagheera (Christian Bale). The preview soon takes a more adventure/thriller route, as Mowgli tears through the jungle with his animal family, faces down the evil tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), and even takes part in a Holi celebration.
It’s honestly unclear what the exact plot trajectory is here: Does he live solely with animals? Is he reconciling with his human mother, played by Freida Pinto? What’s Mowgli’s main conflict, aside from the fact that a mean tiger and a British snake (Cate Blanchett) don’t like him? The movie doesn’t debut until Oct. 19, so we’ve got a ways—and probably a few more trailers—to go before it all becomes clearer. Still, the film’s setting-appropriate address of Indian culture and all-star cast is absolutely something to look forward to.