At Wednesday’s unveiling of Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s merger of HBO Max and Discovery+, the company released a trailer and announced that its upcoming animated prequel series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai will debut on May 23 with the launch of the rebranded platform.
The show strays from its cinematic origins and is aimed squarely at a kids and family audience. Its aesthetic is delivered to satisfy that demographic, featuring energetic cg animation, a vibrant color palette, and a far less frightening version of the gremlins.
In a world loaded with reboots, sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, it’s refreshing to see such a wild take on an existing franchise. The show takes place decades before the feature, on another continent, and is delivered in another medium. If it finds an audience, maybe Warner will consider experimenting with some of its other catalog content.
- Tze Chun is the showrunner and executive producer of Secrets of the Mogwai, which premiered for the public almost a year ago at Annecy 2022. Chun has done mostly live-action work up until now, and has received multiple awards for his films Cold Comes the Night (2913) and Children of Invention (2009).
- The show takes place in 1920s Shangai where the Wing family first encounters everybody’s favorite young Mogwai, Gizmo. A young version of Sam, who appears in the 1984 feature as a grown man, takes Gizmo into his care, leading him on a journey through the Chinese countryside. On their odyssey, the two are joined by a street thief named Elle and encounter monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore.
- Amblin Television is producing the show in association with Warner Bros. Animation. Steven Spielberg is executive producer, along with Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, presidents of Amblin Television, and Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.