Peter Jackson has been pretty much out of the spotlight since his Hobbit trilogy wrapped, but he’s ready to start on his next project, and, surprise, it’s another ambitious literary adaptation. Jackson and his Lord of the Rings crew, including Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, are teaming up again to bring Philip Reeve’s four-part Mortal Engines series to the big screen.

According to Variety, Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens are planning to co-write the film, which has been long in development, with Christian Rivers set to direct. This will be Rivers’ first feature after working as a splinter unit director for The Hobbit and second unit director for the recent Pete’s Dragon remake. Jackson is confident he has the skills to take on this project:

Christian is one of my closest collaborators. The combination of emotion and jaw-dropping visuals in Mortal Engines makes this the perfect movie for his move into feature directing. What Christian intends to do with Philip Reeve’s terrific story is going to result in an original and spectacular movie. I wish I could see it tomorrow!

Jackson and Walsh optioned the rights for Reeve’s books back in 2001, so the project has been on the back burner for quite a while. The series is set far into a kind of steampunk future after a devastating war and series of natural disasters, where huge cities roam the earth on wheels, struggling for resources. In the first book, our hero, Tom Natsworthy, meets a mysterious girl from the Outlands, who drags him along on a swashbuckling adventure involving plenty of pirates, airships, and creepy conspiracies. There are four books in the series, and Jackson’s movie is planned as the first of a franchise. Production is scheduled to begin spring 2017 in New Zealand (naturally).