The original Friday the 13th director, Sean Cunnginham, appears to be teasing that a forthcoming follow-up to the franchise is in the works after the films have long stagnated due to a complicated legal battle over rights issues.
Not only would the movie, purportedly scheduled for release next year, represent the 13th installment in the franchise overall, but the news funnily enough comes a solid 13 years after the last film hit theaters, as Bloody Disgusting originally reported.
For years, Cunningham and the original Friday the 13th screenplay writer, Vicor Miller, had been embroiled in a legal battle for rights issues related to the franchise which effectively halted production of any further movies. The BD article explained that while a judge ruled back in 2018 that Miller “owns the rights” to the original film’s screenplay, which Cunningham has failed to overturn, Cunningham still retains “the character of adult Jason Voorhees.”
In case you need a refresher on the films, the slasher who slayed the many teens at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980’s Friday the 13th wasn’t Jason Voorhees, but his mother, Betsy Palmer’s Mrs. Voorhees, in a Psycho-like reversal at the end of the film. And while the adult Jason Voorhees eventually took up the bloody axe for the 1981 sequel, it wasn’t until 1982’s Friday the 13th Part 3 that the hulking character finally donned that iconic hockey mask that cemented his presence in our collective nightmares (neither Part 2 nor Part 3 were written by Miller directly).
Regardless, the split ownership of the intellectual property would seem to imply that some kind of collaboration or deal would need to take place between Miller and Cunningham in order for there to be a new movie installment. That may very well be what’s happening behind the scenes, though we can only speculate, if Cunningham’s bio on Cameo is any indication. His updated blurb on the site now reads,
“Sean S. Cunningham directed and produced the seminal horror film Friday [the] 13th, creating the iconic villain Jason Voorhees. The movie has spawned 12 installments with a 13th scheduled for next year.”
It’s still early days, so we’ll have to keep our ears to the ground for any updates and official corroborating confirmation elsewhere that a 13th Friday the 13th movie is indeed destined to hit screens in 2023.