It has been 17 years since the world was first introduced to a curmudgeonly, green ogre named Shrek, and now DreamWorks Animation is preparing to take us back to his swamp. Yep — a Shrek reboot is coming, according to a new report from Variety, and it promises to be a whole new spin on the fairy tale-inspired movies that we all grew up with.
The Shrek franchise dominated the 2000s with four films — 2001's Shrek, Shrek 2 in 2004, Shrek the Third in 2007, and finally Shrek Forever After in 2010 — as well as the spinoff movie Puss in Boots in 2011. The franchise's success also led to a Broadway musical and recent Netflix series centered on Puss in Boots. But it did not seem like the movies were going to continue after the fourth one concluded in 2010. Then, in 2016, Universal Pictures bought Shrek's animation studio DreamWorks, and now the new production deal is working to revitalize the Shrek franchise for a whole new generation.
The big difference with the new Shrek movies that Universal is working on is that they will come from major animation producer Chris Meledandri. Meledandri is best known for founding the relatively recent animation studio Illumination, which achieved success for creating movies including Despicable Me and its spinoff Minions.
Along with new main Shrek movies, Universal is reportedly also interested in following up the spinoff Puss in Boots, which focused on Antonio Banderas' sword-fighting cat. Although these new reboots could make some massive changes to the Shrek universe that the original movies set up, Chris Meledandri made it clear that he does not want to recast the main roles with new voice actors. That means Mike Myers as Shrek, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, and Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots will likely all be back:
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. 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.
It also sounds like these new Shrek movies will not simply be sequels to the original four films, but rather a totally rebooted franchise comprised of its own series of films. Because of that important distinction, it is unclear how these new movies will even look — they could feature a complete redesign from the original films, or restructure the story of the characters. The only thing that we know will likely remain the same for these new movies is the voice cast.
Since these plans for Shrek reboots were only just announced, fans will probably have to wait a while before a new Shrek movie hits the big screen. Currently, DreamWorks Animation has several other sequels lined up to be released first, including sequels for How to Train Your Dragon, Trolls, Croods, and Boss Baby. It will probably be another couple years before Shrek 5 is released.