The New Zealand filmmaker first gained the movie rights to Philip Reeve's novel years ago but never found the "right time" to begin work on it.

Now Jackson is reviving the project, with his long-time collaborator Christian Rivers in the director's chair.

Jackson has penned the script with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, with whom he worked on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and the movie marks Rivers' first major directing stint.

Peter shared the exciting news with fans in a lengthy Facebook post, writing, "Hi Folks, it's been a quiet few months, but I'm very happy to tell you that our next project is now underway.

"WingNut Films be producing a feature film based on Philip Reeve's book Mortal Engines, to be directed by Christian Rivers. Some of you may recall that Christian was going to direct the Dambusters (sic) a few years back."

Rivers has worked with Jackson frequently over the past two decades, including providing visual effects for his 2005 film King Kong, which won Rivers an Oscar.

Talk of a remake of 1955 WWII film The Dam Busters has been rife for around 10 years now, and in his Facebook post, Jackson confirmed that project is still on his future slate. For now though, they are focusing on Mortal Engines, the first in a series of four books by Reeve.

"If you haven't read the books, you should. They present a stunning look into the future, when all of Earth's major cities are now mounted on wheels, roaming across the landscape as massive 'Traction Cities'," he explained, with Mortal Engines focusing on a "steampunk" version of London struggling to survive as the world runs out of resources. "The moment we read these novels, we knew what exciting movies they'd make. I literally can't wait to see them!"

Production begins in New Zealand in March, 2017.