DreamWorks is pursuing Shrek 5 with much of its original voice cast returning, and there might even be a Donkey-led spinoff. Information about the long-awaited continuation of the classic animated series arrived in an interview Variety conducted with Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri. Although Illumination is associated with flicks such as The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Minions, Meledandri also serves as a creative partner to DreamWorks, and he said that he’s doing his best to make Shrek 5 a fitting installment for fans.
“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 honor those core elements,” Meledandri said. “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.”
The core Shrek cast, which includes Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas, has remained largely the same throughout the franchise’s history. Meledandri explained that negotiations for their return are going well, adding, “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,” he added.
It was never going to be a surprise to hear DreamWorks is interested in more Shrek content. In addition to the meme status the character has garnered over the last decade, the company’s big green ogre has been one of its staples since the early 2000s. The franchise has received its own fair share of spinoffs already, including two films centered on its crime-fighting cat, Puss in Boots. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish arrived in 2022 and received both critical and commercial success, with many hailing it as one of the best animated movies of the last few years.
In January, Murphy, who has played Donkey in the Shrek films since 2001, explained that it was past time fans got a spinoff film focused on the loveable sidekick.
“If [DreamWorks] ever came with another Shrek, I’d do it in two seconds,” Murphy teased. “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.”
Meledandri didn’t go as far as to confirm that a Donkey movie is indeed in development, but he was “thrilled” to read Murphy’s thoughts. When asked if Donkey could support a movie similar to those Puss in Boots spinoffs, he said, “Without question.”
“[Murphy’s comments are] evidence of his strong enthusiasm for a role that he so brilliantly inhabited and really created alongside the artists at DreamWorks,” Meledandri added. “I found that comment to be very exciting.”
Those who stuck around to see Puss in Boots: The Last Wish to the end will know that it ends with a tease that more Shrek is on the way. It sounds like DreamWorks is only just beginning to dip its toes back into Shrek’s swamp, but let’s hope we won’t have to wait too long to hear more about Shrek 5.