A little more than four months after SYFY gave a straight-to-series order for a television take on the modern horror classic Child's Play, franchise creator Don Mancini is offering some updates on what fans can expect. Speaking recently with SYFY Wire, Mancini explained that the series represented another opportunity to present Chucky's tale in a different way: "One of the things that we've always tried to do over the course of the decades and the different movies, is we just try to switch it up a lot. From film to film, I've always tried to create a different tone, plug Chucky into a different subgenre. We've gone from straightforward slasher to comedy to crazy satirical comedy and back to straightforward horror again."
For Mancini, a series format would give them the opportunity to both stay true to the character and expand the franchise's universe: "With this TV show, our mission has been to preserve the straightforward scariness of the original film or the first couple of films. But at the same time, continue on with this ever-expanding tapestry of consistent story that we've spun over the course of seven movies and 30-some years. I think fans are really gonna love to see the new characters that we introduce into this realm and just to see how they came off of our classic characters. Not just Chucky, but some of the others that you may be hoping to see. There's a good chance they may turn up."
Part of what makes the franchise work is its ability to not only change thematic focus but also keep itself grounded in the times it's taking place in: "One thing I think I can probably safely say is that it's a look at what it means to be a kid today in the 21st century, as distinct from what it was like to be a kid in the 1980s when we first showed up on the scene. That's one thing I think people can look forward to and thinking about: 'How does Chucky operate in a world where kids spend so much of their time on social media?', for example. Playing video games, interacting with one another on social media as opposed to in a park, which is what we might have depicted 30 years ago. I think the prospect of seeing Chucky sharpen his skills and add to his toolbox, some of the technical goodies that we have at our disposal now, that's something I think people will find pretty interesting."
With changing times comes a change in focus, and while franchise fans will recognize the series as being a "Chucky series" doesn't mean there won't be some new roads traveled down: "It's so important to give Chucky new weapons, new strategies, and new targets, new goals … Chucky has a different goal in the TV show than he's ever had before, and it's specifically something that is designed to evoke something that's going on in the zeitgeist today." That doesn't the series will be taking a deep-dive into CGI when it comes to our pint-sized killing machine: "I think it's so important to keep Chucky as a practical puppet effect, partly because it's important for the actors to have something to respond to on set … I also think it's important that Chucky have the feel of a doll, of a puppet. He should be a little bit herky-jerky."
The series was in development at SYFY for well over a year, and focuses on a vintage Chucky doll that turns up at a suburban yard sale. Soon, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town's hypocrisies and secrets. Meanwhile, the arrival of enemies (and allies) from Chucky's past threatens to expose the truth behind the killings, as well as the demon doll's untold origins as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster. Chucky is being developed by Mancini, producer David Kirschner, and Nick Antosca (Channel Zero) and his Eat the Cat banner. Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks, Channel Zero) will also serve as an executive producer. Mancini will work triple time on the series, beyond his executive producing responsibilities: writing the adaptation, serving as showrunner, and directing the first episode.