The CEO of Illumination really wants to make Shrek 5 happen.
Sitting down with Variety ahead of the premiere of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Chris Meledandri expressed enthusiasm for rebooting the Shrek franchise. This is something that’s been teased before, most recently in 2018, when Shrek and the Shrek franchise was handed off to Illumination. This time around, Meledandri expressed a particular desire to reunite the original cast of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy — and also said that negotiations have started and are going well.
“It’s not that dissimilar to the process that we went through with ‘Mario,’ where you look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honor those core elements,” Meledandri said. “And then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that.”
While previous Shrek sequels and reboots have floated around the rumor mill, none of them have manifested. But the success of 2022’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish might have reignited the desire to revisit the franchise. This past January, Eddie Murphy expressed desire to return to the role of Donkey in a spinoff or in a sequel, saying, “I love Puss in Boots, but he ain’t funny as the Donkey.”
There are no concrete plans for a Donkey spinoff in the same way that there are plans for Shrek 5, but Meledandri believes that it could happen, “Without question.”
In addition to future Secret Life of Pets and Sing movies, Meledandri talked about a new original movie called Migration. The upcoming title follows a family of ducks and will be directed by Ernest and Celestine’s Benjamin Renner. Meledandri says that the film has a painterly quality — much different from the typical in-house Illumination style. A trailer for this movie will be released ahead of The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
“It represents Illumination’s ongoing commitment to telling original stories, which I think is absolutely essential to culture,” Meledandri said.