Despite the franchise being dormant for over three decades, the popularity of Gremlins is as strong as it has ever been. Warner Bros. has tried to get a third movie off the ground for many years with no success, but the Gremlins series will return soon as an animated series titled Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai which is in development for the HBO Max streaming service. Gremlins and Gremlins 2 director Joe Dante spoke about this new development for the series, confirming that he's consulting on the project and that he's pleased with the way it's been going in development, adding
"It's a prequel. It goes back to the character Mr. Wing when he was a boy, and when he first discovered the Mogwai," Dante told Daily Dead. "It's set in China in the ’20s, and it's animated and it's very big in the sense that if you tried to shoot it as a theatrical film, it would be outrageously expensive. But in animation, you kind of get away with almost anything you can think of. And it's probably not going to be done until 2021 or maybe the end of 2020."
Dante went on to talk about moving the franchise to animation, admitting that he himself but the property in a corner because of the way he mad Gremlins 2: The New Batch. After going from a dark movie to an outright comedy, the studio was having trouble getting the series in a place they liked.
"I think this is a really clever way to get back into that," Dante said. "I think that they found it pretty difficult to make a sequel to Gremlins 2, because of just the way I made it. And they just could never really quite figure out how to do it. So I think this is a great way to sort of get the franchise back on people's minds....It's like when you make Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and you can't make any more Frankenstein movies."
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is scheduled to arrive in 2021 on HBO Max, which will make its debut this May. The series will have ten total episodes in its first season when it debuts and its official description reads:
"We travel back to 1920s Shanghai to reveal the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called 'Gizmo.' Along with a teenage street thief named Elle, Sam and Gizmo take a perilous journey through the Chinese countryside, encountering, and sometimes battling, colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. On their quest to return Gizmo to his family and uncover a legendary treasure, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins."