Shrek lovers, listen up: the fifth instalment of the beloved franchise is officially in the works 13 years after Shrek Forever – and the original voice cast are eager to return.
DreamWorks Animation creative partner Chris Meledandri has said negotiations with Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy – who voice Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey in the original – are going well.
Chris said in an interview with Variety: "It’s not that dissimilar to the process that we went through with Mario, where you look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honour those core elements.
"And then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that."
He continued: "We anticipate the cast coming back. Talks are starting now, and every indication that we’ve gotten is there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of the actors to return."
Meledandri’s optimism isn’t unfounded, with Murphy saying back in January 2022: "If [DreamWorks] ever came with another Shrek, I’d do it in two seconds. I love Donkey.
"They did Puss in Boots movies. I was like, ‘They should have done a Donkey movie.’ Donkey is funnier than Puss in Boots. I mean, I love Puss in Boots, but he ain’t funny as the Donkey.”
With Shrek 5 having been in development since 2016, here's what we know about Shrek 5's troubled production, and when we could feasibly see the green ogre on screen again.
Shrek 5 release date speculation
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 5 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 previous movies were released in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 – so every three years.
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.
Fans will have to wait for further cast details.
Shrek 5 plot: what could happen?
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.
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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."
How to watch the previous Shrek movies
There are four movies in the Shrek franchise. You can get all four in a boxset here, which includes the following movies:
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