All the way back in 2001, DreamWorks Animation hit a perfect home run with Shrek. The loose adaptation of William Steig’s picture book of the same name caught the imagination of a generation of children and adults alike, and spawned a multi-billion dollar, multimedia franchise spanning 16 years and counting. The Shrek universe now comprises of four feature films, one spinoff film, six short films, two television specials, one television series, one stage musical, 12 video games, and a range of themed attractions around the world. Now, after a number of years of teasing, we finally have a solid update on the status of Shrek 5.
The screenwriter of the movie, Michael McCullers (Saturday Night Live), was recently talking to The Hollywood Reporter about his current release, The Boss Baby. During that conversation, he explained that his script for Shrek 5 is complete, and the film is in development following some corporate-level re-shuffling.
“Shrek 5 is being developed. I finished that script which I really, really, really love. It’s really personal to me. It’s got a pretty big reinvention behind it that I guess I can’t really reveal, but since DreamWorks was sold to Universal in that time for over $3 billion, I imagine they’re particularly interested in it stepping up and actually figuring out the future of the franchise in that way on the corporate level. Reinvention was sort of called for. There’s been four movies and a lot of material, so the characters are pretty beloved and they’re great characters, but you also have to think of a pretty new take at that point.”
It certainly was something of a surprise, back in 2014, to hear that the studio was moving ahead with Shrek 5 – given that 2010’s Shrek Forever After provided a definitive close to the established narrative arc of the series so far. Together, Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek The Third, and Shrek Forever After chart the evolution of Shrek, from grumpy, solitary ogre to contented family man – as husband of Fiona and father to ogre triplets. Universal is clearly confident that there’s more story to be told, however, as its commitment to the franchise is more than evident.
Given that Shrek and Fiona have already travelled far and wide, and even had adventures in alternate realities, it begs the question as to how exactly this grand reinvention will manifest in Shrek 5. The obvious choice would be to centre a tale on the ogre triplets, as this would inject a brand new momentum into future instalments. We’ll have to wait a while longer to find out, though, since it seems the film has yet to receive a confirmed spot on the release slate. As always, be sure to watch this space for more.