When you think Saw, three things likely come to mind. Nearly impossible death traps, John Kramer's Jigsaw, or the creepy tricycle-riding puppet Billy.
In the new film, it would appear that we're getting to change at least two of those – but at least we know the death traps are a franchise constant. In the film's trailer, we've already seen very brief glimpses of these new faces for the resurgence of the Saw universe, and the film's director just spoke up about that creative choice to make that separation.
In an interview with RadioTimes, Spiral director Darren Lynn Bousman explains, "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. […] 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."
Bousman's reasoning for the change makes perfect sense to longtime Saw fans, giving a fresh take (and better box office shot) for a franchise that a lot of people appreciate. He goes on to add, "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."
Despite some fans' difficulties with moving forward from their expectations for franchises, this seems like a step in the right direction and a way to avoid regurgitating a story from previous installments. It looks like we'll just have to wait and see what Spiral plans to do to make up for that lack of Jigsaw and Billy, but I'm sure Bousman has grand plans for something so rooted in Saw.