Following in the tradition of all great cinematic universes, Shrek and all associated Shrek properties, including Puss in Boots, are getting rebooted, Variety reports. The new versions of the infamous ogre and his smooth-talking feline sidekick will be handled by Illumination Entertainment, the studio responsible for Minions.
Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination, has been handed the sacred task of revamping Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Puss in Boots for the next generation. While this means new storylines and new animation, Melendandri says that if possible, he’d like the original voice actors to return. To him, the stellar voice cast is what made the original movie so popular in the first place.
“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,” Meledandri told Variety.
Meledandri doesn’t know exactly how Illumination will reboot Shrek, but said he’s excited to tap into the rich world that Shrek has to offer. Indeed, not only does Shrek have a trove of characters and world to draw from, but also has a very wide shadow of influence, ranging from its own official content to a very specific place in meme culture.
The first Shrek film premiered in 2001, and was followed by three sequels, a musical and multiple spinoffs, including a Puss in Boots movie and interactive Netflix experience. Plus, there are Shrek-themed areas in almost every Universal Studios location, Shrek video games and — for a brief, dark time in our cultural history — Shrek ketchup. For a movie franchise that started out explicitly making fun of expansive movie franchises, it really ate those words.
In addition to all the Shrek material pumped out by DreamWorks in recent years, the ogre is one of the internet’s most memed characters. A Shrek-themed 4chan board popped up in 2012, and since then, the memes won’t stop coming. It’s not just Shrek the character, but all things Shrek-related. For instance, spurred by the popularity and meme-ability of Shrek, “All Star,” the opening song by Smash Mouth, has found a meme life of its own.
The new Shrek reboots have a lot to live up to, but there’s no word on what this means for the previously scheduled Shrek 5. Shrek 5 was slated for next summer, but there’s been no news on that production since 2017. There’s no word on whether Illumination’s involvement has deterred this film’s progress.