In 2001, the landscape of animated films changed forever when Shrek premiered. A clever amalgamation of wry adult comedy packaged in a bucolic and kid-friendly veneer, it put a twist on the fairytale format with outrageous trope-smashing characters, a catchy soundtrack, and a wonderful message of self-discovery. It was swiftly followed by Shrek 2 in 2002, Shrek the Third in 2007, and most recently Shrek Forever After in 2010. Shrek 5 was announced all the way back in 2016, but news of its development has been quiet in the years since.
Currently in development, the fifth installment in the popular franchise has had a difficult time of it, but fans will be excited to know that, as of now, it’s still happening. Despite alterations in direction and storylines, it seems to finally be coming out of purgatory for a release sometime in 2022. Here’s everything we know about what could prove to be the most exciting Shrek yet.
10 It Could Be An Origin Story
An angry misanthrope, Shrek preferred to live in his swamp and eschew interaction with others, until a talking donkey and a quest to save a princess derailed his plans to die miserable and alone. But how did he come to live in his swamp and hate people so much?
When Shrek was still a Dreamworks IP, Jeffrey Katzenberg once spoke of the fifth film, in what would be the final chapter of the franchise, as an origin story that dove into “how Shrek came to be in the swamp”, and would provide even greater insight into his character.
9 It Could Be A Reboot
Despite four prior films, Shrek 5 is said to not be picking up where the fourth installment, Shrek Forever After left off. Instead, it will be its own stand-alone adventure that will tangentially connected to the series.
It will be difficult to imagine a reboot of the film, especially if a new cast was assembled to portray the beloved characters. If it’s a stand alone film that only features their characters in cameos and instead tells a different story in the Kingdom of Farquad, that might be more acceptable.
8 It Will Star The Original Cast
Since the release of Shrek Forever After in 2010, the original cast has been ready and waiting to continue the further adventures of Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and the rest of the colorful inhabitants of the Kingdom of Duloc.
Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz had stated that they’ll do another Shrek film whenever it’s finally ready, which is an impressive commitment for actors who have had to wait a decade to get their wish.
7 The Script Has Been Ready For Years
The writer of such acclaimed comedies as Boss Baby an the Austin Powers franchise has had a script for the latest Shrek film ready for the last several years. Michael McCullers has even mentioned it a few times in interviews but stated very little about the actual plot.
He’s only explained that the script is personal and means a lot to him. If the script is even more than a few years old it will most likely need to go through some revisions, since so many members of the creative team can change, even the attached director and stars.
6 It’s Intended To Reinvigorate The Franchise
Shrek debuted over two decades ago, and in Hollywood’s time frame, that passage of time signals the chance for a franchise resussetation. According to prodigious studios like Universal and Dreamworks, Shrek 5 was intended to do just that.
Universal acquired Dreamworks, and it’s unclear how much of the Dreamworks vision will still be incorporated into the next film. However Universal proceeds with it, it’s intended to make nostalgic fans excited as well as garner a new generation of fans.
5 Production Is Currently Stalled
Like many projects in Hollywood, the Covid-19 pandemic stalled production on Shrek 5, with information about its continuing time table vague. It was scheduled to go into production in 2020 but it looks as though that won’t be a possibility until 2021.
Studios can proceed with their scheduled productions provided they can afford the cost of rapid viral testing being administered daily to their crew, a concern that Universal Studios may very well be weighing.
4 Its Release Date Has Been Pushed Back (Again)
Originally the film had a release date of late 2020, but then production wasn’t expected to start until then, making a release date of 2021 more likely. As production still hasn’t started yet due to precautions surrounding Covid-19, the release date has been pushed back yet again to accommodate a robust animated schedule.
More than ever, it’s looking more likely that if the film doesn’t even begin production until 2021, that it won’t be released until 2022. It’s difficult to say whether or not fan interest in the film will continue to mount with each new release date change.
3 It Was Almost Live-Action
Several years ago, there were rumors circling Shrek 5 that it was going to be made into a live-action film, based in part on the success of Disney creating live-action remakes of their popular animated films. Ultimately this idea wasn’t pushed forward, something fans can be happy about.
Given the disastrous reception of a film like Cats, in which humanoid-looking anthropomorphic cats greatly disturbed viewers, it’s clear that no one would have wanted to see a live-action Shrek film with a CGI version of Donkey and Eddie Murphy fused together.
2 It Was Almost Cancelled Entirely
Due to the continuing debate about whether or not the fifth installment in the franchise should be a reboot, a sequel, a remake, or a live-action film, Shrek 5 was almost cancelled entirely. Luckily, its creators had enough storylines and character concepts to stretch across five films to complete the franchise.
However, because a consensus has yet to be reached concerning exactly what the film will be about and how it will be presented, it may have passed the danger of being cancelled but it may be put into developmental purgatory in perpetuity.
1 Not A Lot Is Known About It Still
Though the past few years have allowed a few tantalizing pieces of information to be revealed long enough to get the rumor mill buzzing, there remains a great deal about the project that isn’t known. Elsewhere behind the scenes, this could be due to internal developments with the creative team, and account for nothing concrete emerging.
More information will need to find its way to public consumption so that enough interest can be generated in the franchise again. Otherwise it runs the risk of not being packaged or marketed properly and a once-beloved series of movies, which entered the zeitgeist with a bang, will go out with a whimper.
NEXT: Shrek: 5 Characters That Will Appear In The Reboot (& 5 That Will Be Forgotten About)
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