It's been five months since we last reported on original film director and series consultant Joe Dante revealing that he was "very pleased with the way it's going," and now we're getting an update on HBO Max's Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai from none other than series writer and co-executive producer Tze Chun. Speaking with Geek Vibes Nation, Chun said that while we will have "casting announcements soon" and that the series will contain some "exciting cameos," there's one name from the original film who will not be returning: "Howie Mandel is not returning to voice Gizmo."
In terms of the Mogwai themselves, Chun said that viewers will see evil versions but for the sake of spoilers he avoided discussing any other Mogwai variations. What Chun did discuss was how much the team was looking forward to expanding upon the original franchise's universe: "What we really wanted to do was create more stories set in the Gremlins universe. We also wanted to service the fans. You know the fandom for Gremlins is so strong for movies that have been around for almost 40 years. We definitely have a lot of Easter eggs and Gremlins mythology that hopefully will satisfy long term fans while also bringing in new fans. The idea is that this will be a co-viewing show. Some of the models that we are looking at are Pixar, Studio Ghibli movies, things that adults, kids, and teenagers can all watch together."
As for the look of the series, Chun says that viewers should expect "a 2.5D" experience that leans more towards a cinematic appearance and less towards a more standard CGI look: "We certainly want to move the camera in a cinematic way but we want to try to get the best of both worlds. The show has a lot of heart, so I want to make sure that the acting is really excellent as well. In terms of animation, very early on the supervising producer and I talked a lot about creating a very organic look and making sure that it does not necessarily have that kind of CG look to it, even though there will be portions of it that are in CG. Some other visual references are Spirited Away [along with The Goonies and Indiana Jones].
In the animated television adaptation, we travel back to 1920s Shanghai to reveal the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) 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.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation. The series is written by Tze Chun and executive produced by Darryl Frank (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), Justin Falvey (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go! upcoming Animaniacs) with Chun and Brendan Hay (Dawn of the Croods, Robot Chicken, Harvey Girls Forever) serving as co-executive producer. Dan Krall (Coraline, Scooby-Doo!) will serve as supervising producer.