When the Saw franchise returns to theaters this weekend, it will be getting a bit of a facelift. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who also helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV, the film centers on a new police officer, played by Chris Rock, who finds himself investigating the work of what appears to be a Jigsaw copycat killer. Whereas the previous movies had featured the handiwork of either Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) himself, or his own apprentices who had access to the Billy doll. This time around, the new killer has a new doll. Depicted as a pig in a police officer's uniform, the new puppet is a move away from the iconic Billy puppet.
The Billy puppet, ironically enough, gives the movie its name. The "spiral" in question is based on the one painted on Billy's cheeks. Still, the franchise is shifting its brand name and identity, which Bousman says is what precipitated the change.
"If I was brought in to direct Saw 9, that would be a much different thing than being brought in to direct Spiral, and I think that it's important for me to differentiate the two," Bousman told the Radio Times. "And I didn't want to insult the fans by trying to make another Jigsaw because there's only one Tobin Bell, and no one can hold a candle to what he brought into that character. So for me, I wanted to go a completely different way. I wanted the killer to be so different from Jigsaw that there would be no comparison to that. They are different people. So when you start going down that road, you have to change out kind of everything. Because if you're trading out Jigsaw, you've got to change out the doll as well."
It likely also doesn't hurt that Chris Rock's character being a cop means that the piggy cop puppet is a lot more personal to him, and shows that the copycat killer has taken an active interest into the investigation into his antics.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw, is coming to theaters on Friday, May 14th.