The 1980s nostalgia train rolls on – an animated prequel series to everyone’s favourite Christmas-comedy-monster movie, Gremlins, titled Gremlins: Secret of the Mogwai, has been announced for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service.
The series is to be set in 1920s Shanghai, one of the many things that’s much easier to do in the medium of animation, and will explore how the mysterious, wizened old man from the first movie ended up with a gremlin in his shop in the first place. The core narrative is the young Mr. Wing, street thief Elle, and the beloved puppet Gizmo wandering around Shanghai getting into all sorts of scrapes, searching for treasure, and battling – per the press release – ‘a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins’. After all, Gizmo may be the cute one, but the evil Gremlins were the fun ones.
Secret of the Mogwai will be written by Tze Chun, best known as a writer and producer on FOX’s Gotham, but also an award-winning filmmaker in his own right.
As with each fresh challenger looking to carve out a piece of Netflix’s pie, this is one of a number of big-hitters that WarnerMedia’s as-yet-unnamed streaming service is announcing ahead of time, alongside Ansel Elgort’s true crime series Tokyo Vice, Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune: Sisterhood (a companion to Villeneuve’s 2020 big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s notoriously hard-to-film Dune), and, most likely, one or several projects from the TV wing of J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions, after WarnerMedia won the bidding war for an overall deal with Bad Robot earlier this year.
The recurrent question about Gremlins is how exactly the condition ‘don’t let them eat after midnight’ works, addressed as a jokey aside in the more slapstick 1990 sequel, but never resolved. The revelation that Gizmo was at least in his sixties when he played Rambo in the sequel (much like Stallone himself) will doubtless raise further questions.