Over thirty years later, the world is finally getting a new extension of the Gremlins franchise, when the animated series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai makes its debut on HBO Max. While details surrounding Secrets of the Mogwai have largely remained under wraps since the series was first announced in 2019, that hasn't stopped fans of the original films from getting hyped -- especially now that some major cast members for the series have been announced. On Tuesday, Variety confirmed the cast of Secrets of the Mogwai, with Izaac Wang, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, James Hong, Matthew Rhys, and Gabrielle Green all joining the series.
Secrets of the Mogwai, which is set in 1920s Shanghai, will chronicle the origin story of Gremlins character Mr. Wing (Keye Luke). The series will show how naïve 10-year-old Sam Wing 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.
Wang (Good Boys, Raya and the Last Dragon) will voice Sam, with A.J. LoCascio (Voltron: Legendary Defender, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special) voicing Gizmo. Wen (Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Agents of SHIELD) is set to play Sam's mother, Fong Wing, who is described as a doctor of Chinese medicine who is "resourceful, slyly funny and fiercely protective of her family." Wong (Mr. Robot, Jurassic World) will play Sam's father, Hon Wing, who is described as a "calm rock" that has "never believed his father-in-law's tales of magic and adventure." Hong (Big Trouble in Little China, Kung Fu Panda) will voice Grandpa Wing, who claims to have traveled the world on grand adventures and knows the true power (and secrets) of the Mogwai).
Green (All That, Danger Force) will voice Elle, Sam's best friend. Rhys (The Americans, Perry Mason) will voice Riley Greene, a power-hungry English industrialist and treasure hunter who wields black magic that is determined to stop at nothing in his pursuit of Gizmo and the mythical treasure of the Mogwai.
While pivoting to animation might seem like an unconventional choice for the world of Gremlins, original franchise director Joe Dante argued that it will help take the franchise to new heights.
"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 in 2020. "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."
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