For the better part of a decade, Shrek enjoyed a successful run of sequels and spin-off series without ever a serious whisper of a reboot. Now, 17 years after Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson‘s animated adaptation of William Steig‘s book made ogres, onions, and talking donkeys famous, Universal Pictures has decided it’s time to revisit the highly lucrative family-friendly property. And the talent who’s been tapped to oversee the reboot is none other than Despicable Me/Minions architect, Chris Meledandri.
Variety reports that Meledandri, whom they most recently called “The Most Powerful Man in Animation” in a profile piece, will head up a revisit of not only Shrek but the spin-off title Puss ‘n Boots as well. Universal Pictures has ordered up a fresh approach to the story of these DreamWorks Animation originals now that the studio’s parent company, Comcast, owns the animation house after a 2016 multi-billion-dollar buyout. Meledandri still oversees his own Illumination Entertainment, co-owned by Universal and the powerhouse behind the Despicable Me/Minions juggernaut, but remains a senior advisor to DreamWorks Animation. It’s unclear as of this report just which studio would handle the Shrek and Puss ‘n Boots reboot.
However, Meledandri did tell Variety that, while he’s been tasked with finding new stories to tell, he wants to keep the original and now iconic voice cast of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Antonia Banderas intact (no mention of Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, etc.):
“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations. The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.”
And no story details are available just yet as Meledandri is in the process of cracking the script, but it’s clear he’s excited to have the opportunity:
“There’s a tremendous amount of fun to be had in that world, but it’s a high bar to find a story that’s truly world. You want to find something in the narrative that really feels like a departure.”
The news comes as Illumination’s The Grinch is set to open this Friday.