After launching DreamWorks into the animation game in a big way in 2001, the SHREK franchise has gone on to make billions around the world, remaining endlessly quotable and keeping Smash Mouth relevant for all these years. Now someBODY has gone and had a questionable idea to reboot the series, with DESPICABLE ME and THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS mastermind Chris Meledandri at the helm of the project.
Variety got the scoop that Universal Pictures is planning to retool the series for a new generation of filmgoers with “fresh storylines” centered on the swamp-loving, lovably crass ogre Shrek and the boot-wearing, sword-fighting cat Puss in Boots. What makes the original series so popular and timeless with audiences is not only the satirical, meta take on the fantasy tales we all know and love, but also the impressive comedic voiceover work of the cast – namely Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. Word is Meledandri has no intention to recast and is hoping the band comes back together for these new movies.
“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations,” he said. “The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.”
Some of you more business savvy readers out there may be wondering how Universal and Illumination could tackle the series if it’s a DreamWorks franchise. Well, the answer lies in the acquisition of DW by Universal’s parent company Comcast, who bought the studio back in 2016 for about $3.8 billion. So now Universal can make some new SHREK movies and, if they please, maybe even throw a few Minions in there.
Meledandri, who currently runs Illumination, has yet to figure out exactly how to reintroduce the characters but says there are a lot of directions you can go in with that world and that it’s all about finding the perfect story.
“There’s a tremendous amount of fun to be had in that world, but it’s a high bar to find a story that’s truly world. You want to find something in the narrative that really feels like a departure.”
Look, I know we can all use a little change and that some people just want to get the show on and get paid, but this seems like a bit of a stretch. You can’t reboot the SHREK series without the main cast, because that’s like rebooting TOY STORY without the same toys: A crime against nature. But on the flip side, why would you ever want to do a whole new story with the exact same characters and cast? Why not just do another movie that continues their story? It seems like in trying to get a new franchise going Universal is going both forwards and backward, so either they and Meledandri better have an excellent game plan or these shooting stars are going to break zero molds.
Universal and Illumination’s newest movie, THE GRINCH, is set for November 9.