Fairy tale parody Shrek absolutely dominated the box office during the 2000s, so even though Shrek Forever After was billed as the last entry back in 2010, it’s not surprising that fans are wishing for more.
However, despite cranking out four blockbuster hits within a decade, the hit animation franchise has been noticeably missing among the many reboots, sequels and spin-offs at cinemas these days.
But there’s no need to make a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, as Shrek 5 is in development and has been since 2016, so now all we have to do is wait for the film’s release.
It’s been quite a while – so here’s what we know about Shrek 5’s troubled production, and when we could feasibly see the green ogre on screen again.
When is Shrek 5 released in cinemas?
Shrek 5 doesn’t actually have a release date yet. Following the fourth film back in 2010 (we feel so old right now), Dreamworks hinted that another film was possible – despite it being billed as the final film in the franchise. In 2016 Shrek 5 began development with Michael McCullers, the Austin Powers screenwriter, taken on to work on the script.
Shrek was aiming for a 2019 release date, but despite the voice cast confirming a script had been written it all went quiet. Then Eddie Murphy told CinemaBlend that a 2020 release was likely, but that was just an estimation and the year came and went. The latest guess from Fandom is 30th September, 2022 with a home media release apparently set for November 2022. With the global pandemic slowing everything down it remains to be seen if this timeframe is doable.
The previous movies were released in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 – so every three years.
Shrek plot: What is happening with Shrek 5?
Way back following the release of Shrek 2 in 2004, producer Jeffrey Katzenberg told IGN that Shrek was originally planned as a five-film series – and that in Shrek 5 “we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie.”
It seems that Shrek 5 was originally set to be a prequel that would be released in 2013, but it was decided during the production of Shrek Forever After that the fourth film was the perfect way for the lovable green ogre’s journey to end.
Rumours of a fifth film following a rest persisted in the following years, but production on Shrek 5 didn’t truly kick off until Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, purchased DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion back in 2016. NBC Universal chief Steve Burke spoke at the time about plans to revive the franchise and other DreamWorks films, and later that year it was reported that the film was set to release in 2019.
So far, so good – Eddie Murphy even confirmed that a script had already been written by Austin Powers screenwriter Michael McCullers, who told The Hollywood Reporter in March 2017 that his story was “a pretty big reinvention” for the series, prompting speculation that Shrek 5 would actually be a reboot.
Then in 2018 Variety reported that both Shrek 5 and Puss in Boots 2 would indeed be reboots – with the same voice cast however – and that Chris Meledandri, the brain behind Despicable Me, was looking after the revivals.
“The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels,” he said.
However, despite successful pre-production, it’s been radio silence since then – Shrek 5 obviously didn’t make its 2019 release date.
Given that the franchise was lagging a bit by the time we got to Shrek Forever After and the 10-year gap since, it seems highly likely that Shrek 5 will be a reboot of some kind, which Comcast are likely hoping will kickstart the series.
How different the reboot will be however remains to be seen – while it seems clear the iconic voice cast will remain (could you really imagine Shrek without Mike Myers’ Scottish accent?), little else is known.
However, reinvention seems to be the key according to scriptwriter Michael McCullers.
“Reinvention was sort of called for,” McCullers told THR. “There’s been four movies and a lot of material, so the characters are pretty beloved and they’re great characters, but you also have to think of a pretty new take at that point.”
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Shrek 5 cast: Which characters will star?
The idea is to bring back the original voice cast, but change the story, so we can expect Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas. However, Princess Fiona actress Cameron Diaz retired from acting back in 2014 – so it’s unclear if Diaz could be tempted to return for some voice work or if the role will be recast.
What about Puss in Boots 2?
Unlike Shrek 5, the Puss in Boots sequel has seen some traction recently. After reports of a script going back as far as 2012, several directors coming and going, and a previous title of Nine Lives & 40 Thieves, Puss in Boots now seems firmly in production.
The sequel will now be called Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and in March 2021 it was confirmed that The Croods: A New Age’s Joel Crawford, will direct. We even have a solid release date(!) – Puss in Boots 2 will pounce into cinemas on 23rd September 2022.
What Shrek films have there been?
There are four movies in the Shrek franchise. You can get all four in a boxset here, which includes the following movies:
We’ll update you when there’s more Shrek 5 news.
You can watch Shrek 1-4 on Netflix.