EXCLUSIVE: Wrath of the Gods will complete a trilogy that includes cult classic The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree.

Wicker Man director Robin Hardy has revealed that he is moving ahead with new feature Wrath Of The Gods, which will complete a trilogy of ‘Wicker’ films.

He spoke to ScreenDaily ahead of a 40th anniversary re-release of The Wicker Man, which has been digitally restored and has been labelled ‘The Final Cut’.

“I am just at the opening stages of financing it (Wrath Of The Gods) and hope to make it next year,” said Hardy, who will also produce.

The writer-director added: “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 (the last of Wagner’s Ring cycle).”

The new project, which is slated to shoot in the Shetlands, won’t be “heavily Wagner-esque” but is expected to explore similar themes to the previous two films.

The Final Cut

The Wicker Man: The Final Cut is released in UK cinemas by StudioCanal in a 2K restoration on Sept 27.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1973 film about a policeman (Edward Woodward) sent to a remote island village in search of a missing girl, whom the townsfolk claim never existed. It also stars Christopher Lee.

The Wicker Man was originally released with minimal promotion as the second feature in a double bill with Don’t Look Now.

The version exhibited to audiences was significantly shorter (88mins) than Hardy’s original vision (102mins).

The negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios and were allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway.

Worldwide search

Ahead of the anniversary, StudioCanal spent the past year conducting an extensive worldwide search for film materials of The Wicker Man, including a public appeal to fans for clues as to the whereabouts of the missing original cut.

Eventually a 35mm release print was found at Harvard Film Archives and measured to be around 92 minutes long. This print was scanned in 4k and sent to London, where it was inspected by Hardy who confirmed that it was the cut he had put together with Abraxas in 1979 for the US release.

This has previously been known as the “Middle Version” and was in turn assembled from a 35mm print of the original edit he had made in the UK in 1973, but which was never released.

“As far as I am concerned, I am completely satisfied with it,” said Hardy of the the Final Cut and expressed his delight at “finally seeing” his film in a state close to what he intended to be released in British cinemas.

A sequel, The Wicker Tree, was released in 2011.