Saw: Franchise Icon Tobin Bell Returning to Franchise With New Sequel

Earlier this year, the 10th installment in the Saw franchise was announced, with One Take News confirming today that Tobin Bell, longtime star of the series, was set to make his return to the series as John Kramer for the new film. Kevin Greutert is set to direct the film, having previously helmed Saw VI and Saw: The Final Chapter. Bell's John Kramer officially died in Saw III, with subsequent films seeing Bell appear in the form of flashbacks, and with the character earning an autopsy earlier in the franchise, it would seem unlikely that Bell would be playing a present-day Kramer who had somehow survived. The new Saw is slated for release on October 27, 2023.

A statement about the new film reads, "The return of Bell to the franchise furthers Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures' goal of a film that captures everything Saw fans love about the films, while also keeping them guessing with all-new traps and a new mystery to solve."

"What a thrill to be reuniting with Tobin," producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules added. "His performance as John Kramer is part of the magic that made this franchise a phenomenon and his character is an active part of this film."

The most recent films in the franchise were 2017's Jigsaw and last year's Spiral: From the Book of Saw. That most recent film pivoted away from the direct mythology of Jigsaw himself, instead seeing a new killer committing heinous crimes after being inspired by Kramer. 

Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed Spiral, revealed that Bell was almost enlisted for a cameo in the film.

"We were talking about putting Tobin in up until the last day of filming," Bousman confirmed with last year. "There was a constant struggle with us and I think we all went back and forth on it. It was a hard thing because the minute you put Tobin Bell in the movie, it becomes 'Saw 9.' If you think about Jigsaw or some of these other films, he had like two minutes of screen time and that was it. I killed him in Saw III, I killed him 16 years ago, so to keep finding clever ways to bring him back in, I didn't want to do a disservice to this film. No one can compete with Tobin Bell, you can't, he is Jigsaw and there's no way to live up to what he brings on-screen, so I didn't want to f-ck with it, I didn't want to do it. It was, I felt, a disservice to this film and previous films to try to do that."

He continued, "I did have a really cool idea that I was really bummed didn't go through and it was a way to put the feeling of Tobin Bell in the film. Tobin Bell is a singer and he's got a great voice. I found a song of his that he recorded, which was a Johnny Cash cover, and it was this amazing, very haunting song. I had an idea that, the end of the movie, the finale and the big gunfight, was all overdubbed to that song. So basically all the sound goes away and it becomes Tobin's voice in it. But, again, it felt gimmicky when we tried it. It sounded awesome, I loved it, but it was too wink-wink, nudge-nudge to the audience, so we ended up losing it. It was a struggle."

The new Saw is slated for release on October 27, 2023.

Are you excited that Bell is returning? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!