One of the movies responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating—too scary for PG but not graphic enough for R—is getting turned into an animated series. Joe Dante’s 1984 film Gremlins is getting a cartoon some 35 years later. The news broke back in 2019, when WarnerMedia ordered a 10-episode prequel to the 1984 classic. The animated series will focus on Gizmo and a young version of his original owner, Mr. Wing, played in the original film by Keye Luke. Tze Chun, a veteran of TV series like Gotham and Once Upon a Time, will write and executive produce the show. Additionally, HBO Max has revealed a few looks at the Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai series and its characters, as well as its guest stars. In fact, Zach Galligan, the star of the original Gremlins will guest star in the series.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai‘s Guest Stars
A release shares more about Secrets of Mogwai‘s guest stars, noting:
Zach Galligan, who starred as the hero “Billy Peltzer” in the Gremlins films, will have a recurring guest role on Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.
Sandra Oh, Randall Park, George Takei and Bowen Yang were also announced as series guest stars. They join an all-star lineup of Asian American actors lending their voice talents to the series which include Ming-Na Wen, James Hong, BD Wong and Izaac Wang.
That is quite the line-up of guest stars for this new Gremlins show. It’s sure to please long-time fans of the franchise and first-time viewers. This show is shaping up to be excellent.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai‘s Main Characters
In addition to guest, here’s who will take center stage in Gremlins: Secrets of Mogwai.
First up, we get to see what our animated Gizmo will look like.
What a cutie… Although still a bit terrifying.
We also know who’ll be voicing the characters on the animated series. As reported by Variety (via Gizmodo), the cast will include Izaac Wang as young star Sam Wing; TV and film vets B.D. Wong (of Law & Order and Jurassic Park fame) and Ming-Na Wen (of ER, The Mandalorian) will play his parents. According to an official site for the series, A. J. Locascio will voice Gizmo. And Gabrielle Green will voice Sam’s friend, Elle.
HBO Max has now also officially shared our first look at the Wing family.
The streamer offered a bit more information about Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai‘s main characters to go with their character designs:
Fong Wing (voiced by Ming-Na Wen)—Fong Wing is Sam’s mother and a doctor of Chinese medicine. She’s resourceful, slyly funny, and fiercely protective of her family, even her frequently troublesome father. She’ll do anything to aid and protect her son.
Grandpa (voiced by James Hong)—A free spirit and self-proclaimed expert in Chinese myth and magic, Grandpa is the elder of the Wing family. He claims to have traveled the world on grand adventures, but nobody really believed him… until now. He alone knows the true power (and secrets) of the Mogwai and the importance of protecting them.
Hon Wing (voiced by BD Wong)—Hon Wing is Sam’s father and the family’s calm rock. He’s never believed his father-in-law’s tales of magic and adventure. But when he and Fong become separated from Sam, he realizes the world is stranger than he thought, and that he’ll need to become braver to reunite his family.
Sam Wing (voiced by Izaac Wang)—Sam Wing is a naïve 10-year-old boy who will one day become Mr. Wing, the mysterious shopkeep and Gizmo’s guardian in the original Gremlins films. Young Sam lives with his family in the tiny apartment behind their struggling medicine shop. Sheltered and cautious, Sam will be thrown into the adventure of a lifetime when he promises his Grandpa he’ll get Gizmo home.
On the other side of the good-and-evil spectrum, Matthew Rhys (of The Americans and Perry Mason) will voice the series’ main antagonist; he’s an “English industrialist and treasure hunter who wields black magic,” and who aims to seize li’l Gizmo.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai‘s synopsis
Here is the show’s official synopsis:
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.
Amblin Entertainment will produce the series, written by Tze Chun and featuring producers of things like The Americans, Animaniacs, and Teen Titans Go!
The series will head to HBO Max and Cartoon Network at a yet undisclosed date. Although, according to Variety, it will premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 13. Dante’s original film—produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus—was a massive hit, thanks in no small part to the amazing animatronic creatures by Chris Walas, and the adorable lead creature, Gizmo. Infamously, Columbus’ original script was a straight horror movie and had Gizmo turn into the lead evil Gremlin to be destroyed by Billy Peltzer, but Spielberg interceded and saved the little guy from the slaughter.
And it’s a good thing he did; though we haven’t had a new adventure featuring the cuddly Mogwai and its scaly green progeny since 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch—itself a half-parody of the original—Gremlins remains a cult favorite. It’s still considered one of Warner Bros’ biggest success stories, grossing over $153 million against a budget of only $11 million. That’s equivalent to almost $400 million in today’s dollars. We guess that explains why a script for a third film keeps getting kicked around.
We’re gonna guess the animated series won’t be super scary, but the iconic design of the titular baddies would look pretty great in cartoon form. Maybe the series will finally explain the incredibly vague rule about feeding them after midnight. And, like, what about time zones?
This article was originally published on July 1, 2019.