Original Gremlins writer Chris Columbus says that if it’s ever made, Gremlins 3 will stick to using puppets and largely stay away from CGI.
Gremlins 3 won’t have CGI mogwai, says the original movie’s screenwriter. Released in 1984, the first Gremlins put a new and horrifying spin on the Christmas movie with its tale of rampaging monsters, sprung from a seemingly innocent and adorable creature after the violation of certain mysterious rules, unleashed on a small American town during the Yuletide season.
Director Joe Dante brought more than a little satirical humor to the table in helming Gremlins, helping the movie become a darkly comedic classic and also a box office hit with $212 million grossed at the box office. Due to its decidedly gruesome content, Gremlins also famously played a big part in the MPAA launching the PG13 rating as a compromise between the family-friendly PG and the adult R. Despite Dante’s aversion to the idea of making a Gremlins sequel, the director was coaxed back for 1990’s Gremlins II: The New Batch, a follow-up famous for upping the ante on the original in every possible way, including bizarre humor. The second Gremlins film is itself now considered a classic, but since 1990 there have been no more new Gremlins movies (though HBO Max is bringing Gremlins back via an animated show).
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Though there are still no solid plans for a third Gremlins movie, there has been plenty of conversation lately about the franchise making a return to screens. Speaking recently to Collider, original Gremlins writer Chris Columbus talked about his own vision for a possible Gremlins 3, which includes sticking to old school techniques in order to realize the movie’s creatures:
“I would love to do it. I wrote a script, so there is an existing script. We’re working out some rights issues right now, so we’re just trying to figure out when the best time to make that film would be. I would still do it the same way – I would do it as tangible puppets, not CGI. Maybe having — you know we had one stop-motion scene in the first Gremlins, but I don’t think I’d use much CGI in Gremlins 3.”
The original Gremlins of course mostly used puppetry to create its creatures, the deceptively cute mogwai Gizmo and the viciously murderous monsters that were created when Gizmo’s owner Billy Peltzer failed to follow the now-famous rules: no sunlight, no water and especially no feeding after midnight. Despite the technical challenges involved, the special effects team on the movie did a marvelous job giving the monsters personality, helping the film connect with audiences. The second Gremlins created an even greater challenge for itself as it required creature builders to realize multiple insane variations on the film’s core monsters, including Vegetable Gremlin, the winged Bat Gremlin and the super-intelligent Brain Gremlin.
Obviously creating such strange creatures would be much easier using today’s CGI, but Columbus at least doesn’t think computer-generated is necessarily better. Indeed, much of the charm of the original movies comes from the creatures being puppets, and Columbus clearly thinks that charm should be preserved in any third Gremlins film. It’s hard to argue with this take given the massive popularity of a certain puppet character currently featured on the Disney+ show The Mandalorian. Hopefully whoever does eventually go ahead with a Gremlins 3 will take their cues from Baby Yoda (who in fact reminds a lot of people of Gizmo) and keep the creatures of Gremlins old-school.
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