The original 1984 Gremlins remains a cult classic for many movie fans. Steven Spielberg produced the film, which Chris Columbus wrote, and Joe Dante directed it. Dante returned for the more comedic sequel, Gremlins: The New Batch, and fans have long hoped for the third installment to turn the series into a trilogy. The idea has been around for years but never realized. Speaking to Collider, Columbus offered an update, saying that he did write a script for a Gremlins threequel. If he makes the movie, Columbus will ensure that the titular creatures remain puppets as in the original films and aren't recreated with CGI.
"I would love to do it," Columbus says. "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."
Carl Ellsworth wrote a draft of the Gremlins three script. Earlier this year, he said that the film would be more like the original than its more comedic sequel.
"(It) was thought of as a direct sequel mostly to the first film—not discounting the second one by any stretch, but I saw it as very much a passing-the-baton story, staying in the tone of the original," Ellsworth told ComingSoon. "I think that helped get me the job: I said, 'Yeah, there's a lot of humor in the movie, helped by the classic Jerry Goldsmith score that gives us a license to laugh, but it's first and foremost a horror movie.'
"These little creatures—what they're really doing, they're cold-blooded little murderers, you know? They're psychotic little creatures that are killing everybody. So that's where it all started....I tried to preserve the humor, but at the same time, I was starting with the foundation of this being a horror movie, which I was really thrilled about… Gizmo was at the very core of the story; it explored more of the mythology and the history of the Gremlins."
An animated prequel series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, is in development at HBO Max. The series is said to be set in the 1920s when Sam Wing first meets Gizmo and tries to reunite him with his family only to be pursued by an industrialist with an army of gremlins. The series will debut in 2021.