Gremlins: Zach Galligan Revisits Franchise for Mountain Dew Ad

It was only a matter of time before we saw the nostalgia bug bite its next franchise and Mountain Dew chose the 80s classic in Gremlins (1983) with star Zach Galligan reprising his role as Billy Peltzer not learning from past experience from the creatures. The commercial starts with the Gizmo reaching out of curiosity for Billy's soda. He asks his little friend, "Do you want to try some of my Mountain Dew Zero Sugar?" Billy picks up the bottle not-so-deep in thought since it's a 30-second commercial as he reads from the bottle, "Just as good as the original without any sugar." Naturally, Billy hands the Gizmo the bottle naively saying, "Be careful." He starts chugging and got wet in the process and as with the previous films, he starts to multiply spawning others. His daughter comes into the living room when she notices what just happened with a gremlin on her shoulder and delivers her teenage eye roll. Galligan spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the experience.

Gremlins: Zach Galligan Revisits Franchise for Mountain Dew Ad
Zach Galligan and Gizmo in Gremlins ad for Mountain Dew Zero Sugar. Image courtesy of PepsiCo

"These puppets were just as good as the original, if not better, which is funny because that's the Moutain Dew Zero Sugar tag-line: 'Just as good as the original,'" Galligan said. "If Warner Bros. decided to do Gremlins 3 my feeling was that it would be exponentially easier this time around than it was the first time. The first time, if there was a wire or a cable or something [showing] you had to scrap the entire take. Now, if you got a great take with a wire or a cable you just CGI it out. So, my guess is, it would be five to ten times easier to do it than we did in '83."

Gremlins: Zach Galligan Revisits Franchise for Mountain Dew Ad
Zach Galligan as Billy Peltzer in Gremlins (1984). Image courtesy of Warner Bros

When asked how a third film goes down given how technology is. "Yeah, I love Fitzcarraldo (When EW brought up director Warner Herzog)," Galligan said. "You know, one of the things that happen is that people become emboldened. They'll do a commercial like this and go, 'Wow, we got really good results, and it only took us an hour of practice.' So, what happens is people get more ambitious. They go, well, let's have Gizmo do a disco dance contest and then that becomes the nightmare. When the technology becomes easier, people become more ambitious, and then it just scales up."

What's the biggest surprise in all the years from Galligan's work on the franchise from the 1983 Joe Dante original, its 1990 sequel The New Batch, and the 31 years since? He's never met Gizmo's voice actor, who also reprised the role for the Mountain Dew commercial. "The strangest, most interesting, trivia thing about Gremlins is that, to this day, even though I am hugely associated with Gizmo, I have never met, nor have I ever spoken to, Howie Mandel once in my entire life," he said. "It's baffling that our paths have never crossed. I know nothing about the man, he knows nothing about me, at least that I'm aware of. At some point I'm hoping before I die, I'll meet him.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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