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Pet Sematary Prequel - What We Know So Far

Pet Sematary is one of Stephen King's best, most terrifying novels. It tells the story of Louis Creed, a doctor who moves with his wife and two small children to a small town in Maine after getting a job as the director of a university's health services. The Creeds' neighbor, Jud Crandall, shows them the local "pet sematary," where animals who have been hit by trucks get buried. Later, after Louis' daughter's cat Church is hit, Jud shows Louis the burial ground beyond the pet sematary, where what gets buried comes back — but not the same. Even if you don't know this particular horror story, you might be able to guess where it's going. King has said of all the novels he's written, Pet Sematary is the one that personally scares him most.

The novel has been adapted twice. The first film version came out in 1989 and was directed by Mary Lambert, with a script by King himself. It's one of the most memorable horror films of the decade, and one of the better King adaptations ever made. It was followed by a sequel in 1992 that was not directly based on the book.

The second adaptation came out in 2019. It deviated greatly from the book and divided fans and critics whether it was superior to the 1989 adaptation. It was successful at the box office, though, grossing $113 million against a $21 million budget.

That version is now getting a prequel, ViacomCBS announced on February 24. Here's what we know about it so far.

When and where will the Pet Sematary prequel come out?

Pet Sematary will be produced by Paramount Players, the studio's genre-focused division, exclusively for the ViacomCBS streaming service Paramount Plus. 

A competitor to NBCUniversal's Peacock, ViacomCBS's Paramount Plus will relaunch from its current CBS All Access incarnation on March 4. On February 24, ViacomCBS announced an overwhelming number of projects in development for the streaming service, including another Yellowstone spin-off to go with the previously announced one, revivals of sitcom Frasier and sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, and series adaptations of movies including Fatal Attraction, Flashdance, and The Italian Job. (Deadline has the complete list of stuff coming to Paramount Plus.)

The Pet Sematary prequel was one of the bits of news tucked into the avalanche. It will be one of the first original movies made for Paramount, according to a press release. No premiere date was announced, however.

Other early Paramount Plus movies on the slate are a new Paranormal Activity and a supernatural thriller starring The Kissing Booth's Joey King called The In Between.

Who is in the Pet Sematary prequel cast?

No cast members for the prequel have been announced yet. Presumably the film will feature an entirely different cast than the 2019 Pet Sematary, since it will take place in an earlier time.

Pet Sematary stars Jason Clarke as Louis Creed, Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed, and John Lithgow as Jud Crandall. It remains to be seen if any of them will come back somehow for the prequel, but they probably won't, considering how the movie ended. It is possible that younger versions of familiar characters will appear. Can you think of any actors who could credibly play a younger version of John Lithgow, besides his son Ian Lithgow? Jesse Plemons, maybe?

Maybe the film's producers could find a part for Vikings actor Gustaf Skarsgård. His brothers Bill and Alexander have both had notable roles in Stephen King adaptations (IT and The Stand, respectively), so it would be fun if he got one, too. 

Some behind-the-camera folks from Pet Sematary are returning for the prequel. Screenwriter Jeff Buhler will pen the new take, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will return to shepherd the new project, according to Variety.

What is the plot of the Pet Sematary prequel?

The script is an original idea from writer Jeff Buhler. After the success of Pet Sematary in 2019, Buhler and the film's producers began discussing possible ways to continue the story through expanding the mythology. "We had discussions about possible follow-up films, and for the most part, everybody feels like we've told the story of the Creeds," Buhler told ComicBook.com in 2019. "So a lot of the ideas that we've been batting around currently, recently, have all been about, more about digging into the mythology of the town, these rituals that children present, the mythology of the Mi'kmaq, the Wendigo, the cemetery, the origins, Jud's life."

At the time, Buhler said a prequel was only in its earliest discussion phases and nothing was set, but now it's officially happening, so some sort of story must be in place. Maybe it's a period piece that will show how the ground of the Mi'kmaq burial place went sour. It could be a story about conflict between indigenous people and European settlers. We'll just have to wait and see what information comes out as the project moves along.