After a long hiatus since 1990, the beloved cult horror icons known as Gremlins are making a comeback in a more family-friendly format with the animated series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. This Max series breathes new life into the dormant franchise, exploring the origins of these fan-favorite creatures and delving into the life of a particular Mogwai.
The Origins of the Gremlins
The Mogwai, better known as Gremlins, were introduced to global audiences in the original 1984 film, Gremlins. The movie tells the story of an ambitious American inventor who acquires a unique creature named Gizmo from Chinatown, New York, to gift his son. The inventor receives three important rules for Gizmo’s care: avoid exposing him to bright light, prevent contact with water, and never feed him after midnight. However, the inventor’s son, Billy, unintentionally breaks these rules, leading to the release of mischievous Gremlin clones. Only Billy and Gizmo can stop the havoc caused by these clones. Eventually, Gizmo’s original owner returns to reclaim him and prevent further harm.
The Franchise’s Legacy:
The first film successfully blended comedy and horror, creating a beloved family-friendly story. Its sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, continued the tale with a new group of intelligent Gremlins taking over a New York skyscraper. Although considered a solid follow-up to the original, the sequel’s poor box office performance led to the franchise being put on hold indefinitely.
Reviving the Franchise:
Numerous attempts to revive the Gremlins series were proposed over the years but failed to materialize. However, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai breaks this streak. Set several decades before the events of the first film, the series features both familiar and new characters. Let’s explore the cast and characters in detail:
A.J. LoCascio as Gizmo:
- Renowned voice actor A.J. LoCascio takes on the role of Gizmo, originally played by Howie Mandel. Gizmo is portrayed as a curious and joyful creature, fascinated by the world around him. Despite being purchased by the American inventor and given to Billy as a pet, Gizmo becomes the source of various problems when the three rules are neglected. Gizmo’s exposure to water leads to the emergence of adorable yet mischievous clones. The situation worsens when the clones are accidentally fed after midnight, transforming them into terrifying and aggressive creatures. However, Gizmo remains unaffected and aids Billy in defeating the rogue Gremlins.
Izaac Wang as Sam Wing:
- Izaac Wang, known for his role in Raya and the Last Dragon, gives life to the character of Sam Wing in Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. Sam Wing is actually the old man who warned the inventor about the Mogwai in the original film. In this series, set in 1920s Shanghai, a young Sam forms a close bond with Gizmo.
James Hong as Grandpa:
- Prolific character actor James Hong portrays Grandpa, Sam Wing’s wise mentor. Hong’s voice lends itself to a role where he serves as an experienced guide, introducing the species of Mogwai and their potential dangers. Grandpa imparts wisdom and shares the three essential rules for Mogwai care.
Gabrielle Nevaeh as Elle:
- Gabrielle Nevaeh voices Elle, a young woman who joins Sam in protecting Gizmo from various threats. Despite recognizing the madness of their magical adventure, Elle willingly supports Sam and Gizmo on their quest.
Ming-Na Wen and BD Wong as Fong and Hon Wing:
- Ming-Na Wen and BD Wong, notable actors from The Book of Boba Fett and Jurassic World, respectively, portray Fong and Hon Wing, likely the parents of Sam. They are not thrilled about Sam’s involvement with dangerous and mysterious creatures.
Matthew Rhys as Riley Greene:
- Matthew Rhys, known for his role in Perry Mason, introduces a new threat to the Gremlins franchise as Riley Greene. Fascinated by Gizmo, Riley intends to use the Mogwai for his own nefarious purposes. With his extraordinary powers and affinity for sorcery, Riley poses a unique challenge to Sam, Elle, and Gizmo.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai also features notable guest stars, including Sandra Oh, Randall Park, George Takei, Bowen Yang, and Zach Galligan, who played Billy in the original films. However, it’s uncertain if Galligan will reprise his role or voice a new character in the series.
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Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai marks the long-awaited return of the beloved Gremlins franchise in a more family-friendly format. Exploring the origins of the Mogwai and introducing new characters, the animated series promises an exciting adventure filled with comedy, horror, and magical creatures. Fans of the original films and newcomers alike will be captivated by the charm and chaos brought to life in this new Gremlins installment.