It’s been 13 years since writer-director David Wain – together with co-writer Michael Showalter – exposed us to the last day of summer at their fictional Camp Firewood. After screening well at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001, Wet Hot American Summer scraped together a release – but became a commercial and critical failure. Since then, however, it has developed a large fan-base, which has long called for a sequel of some kind. Not known for playing to expectation, Wain and Showalter look to be heading in a different direction, with a possible prequel TV show now appearing on the radar – courtesy of Netflix.
The original film was set in 1981, and saw a group of counselors at Camp Firewood try to tie up loose social ends before the end of their final day – all the while trying to prepare for the end of summer talent show. While it certainly is the case that many great films were not appreciated in their time, it isn’t a giant leap of logic to suggest that a big reason for the late love of Wet Hot American Summer is the fact that its cast reads like a who’s who list of now popular TV and film strs. Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni and H. Jon Benjamin all featured in the movie before hitting the big time in their respective careers. Wain and Showalter themselves have also become recognizable names, with titles such as Wanderlust, Children’s Hospital and the upcoming They Came Together filling out their resumes.
But, with a cast of actors now commanding vast salaries and presumably managing bulging work schedules, how can a prequel possibly happen? This is where Netflix comes in. The streaming giant last year provided Mitch Hurwitz with everything he needed to bring Arrested Development back for more episodes, despite having a cast involving exactly the same issues.
Over the past three years, Netflix has established itself as a creator of innovative and exciting new content – and that is exactly what a Wet Hot American Summer would be. While no deal has been struck yet, we are – apparently – looking at 10 episodes set a few months before the original movie. In that film, the cast of actors were all 10 years too old for their roles, and in the prequel, the cast would reprise their roles, playing even younger, despite having another 10 years on the clock.
It seems that this Wet Hot American Summer prequel show would follow the example set by Arrested Development, and feature a small combination of actors from the cast in each episode – enabling the writers to really concentrate on characters, and the showrunners to schedule shooting around the other commitments of its stars. It currently seems that Wain and Showalter would executive produce the series, but final decisions and deals have yet to be made. Stay tuned for more information, as and when we have it.