Craig Gillespie’s Cruella was a whole lot better than it had any right to be, with a completely unnecessary origin story for the iconic 101 Dalmatians villain being elevated into an entertaining punk rock crime caper driven by two barnstorming performances from Academy Award winning Emmas Stone and Thompson, not to mention the incredible costume and production design.
A box office haul of $231 million was a solid return for a hybrid release, and Cruella clearly drew in enough money from Disney Plus Premier Access sales to make a sequel a worthwhile investment. Star and executive producer Stone managed to leverage an even better payday as a result of the Scarlett Johansson debacle, with Gillespie and writer Tony McNamara also returning.
In a new interview with ComicBook, Gillespie teased that we’ll be seeing the titular antiheroine begin her transformation into the puppy-skinning tyrant now that she’s left Estella behind for good, although he couldn’t confirm whether or not Thompson would also be along for the ride.
“There’s sort of conversations about what that will be. Where this world takes us now, and then I think they’ll be diving into it. We’re in that exploratory phase right now, but they’ve got a lot of ideas that are exciting. Maybe a whole other movie. What I loved about the end of Cruella is, I kept calling it The Graduate moment. Which, Dustin Hoffman sits at the back of the bus, and then he’s not sure if this is actually what he wanted. There’s that sort of awkward hesitation. It’s the same when she walks into Hellman’s Hall.
She’s been striving and fighting for this throughout the whole film, and then she suddenly realizes the sacrifice. It’s like she’s lost Estella. She’s less that part of herself. You know? Now she has this public persona that she has to sort of live up to. That conflict I felt was really interesting, and think by the time she gets to… In my mind, by the time she gets 101 Dalmatians, she’s pretty much gone to the dark side. Right now, there’s a gray area. How she gets to that dark side will be interesting.”
The credits scenes directly tied Cruella into the opening of 101 Dalmatians, which may have boxed the narrative in a little bit. While the second installment is by no means obligated to deliver another remake of the animated classic, something we’ve already seen twice with Glenn Close, deliberately avoiding a retread of such overly familiar ground would surely be the smartest option to take.