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Shrek 5 - What We Know So Far

"Shrek" celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, but the journey ain't ogre yet. Fans can look forward to more fairytale adventures starring the titular green monster and his buddies down the line, which is great news. In fact, the wait for another "Shrek" movie has been so long that "Shrek 5" will undoubtedly be met with some excitement across the board. It's been over 10 years since the last sequel, "Shrek Forever After," made us think that DreamWorks' hit franchise had completed its final chapter, but the appetite to make more "Shrek" movies never went away. The fifth instalment was announced in 2016, though it hasn't enjoyed the smoothest journey to the screen thus far.

There are some big names involved, though. "Despicable Me" producer Chris Meledandri was brought in to oversee the project for DreamWorks and NBCUniversal. Elsewhere, Michael McCullers, whose previous credits include two "Austin Powers" films and "Boss Baby," was tasked with handling the script duties. As Cinema Blend notes, McCullers completed his assignment back in 2017, so what's happening with "Shrek 5" as of 2021?

When will Shrek 5 be released?

Originally slated for a 2019 release, it's been all quiet on the Shrekian front in recent years. Per Cinema Blend, Eddie Murphy previously revealed that the long-delayed sequel would could hit theaters in 2020, but that was more of an estimation than a concrete confirmation. According to Fandom, "Shrek 5" might be released on September 30, 2022, with a home media release supposedly scheduled for November of that year. The global pandemic undoubtedly stalled the film's progress, so it's currently unknown how far into production "Shrek 5" actually is. Don't be surprised if the speculated date changes.

Given that it's been 11 years since "Shrek Ever After," the trajectory of "Shrek" releases has been disrupted. At the height of the franchise's popularity, new "Shrek" movies came along every three years, having been released in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010, respectively. The positive news is that the project hasn't been cancelled and remains a work in progress. 

Which characters will appear in Shrek 5?

The aforementioned Eddie Murphy comments basically confirm that he'll reprise the role of Donkey in "Shrek 5." According to Radio Times, Mike Myers and Antonio Banderas are also expected to play Shrek and Puss In Boots again, rounding off the cusp of the franchise's main cast. However, Fiona, should she make a return, could be portrayed by a different actor. Cameron Diaz retired from acting in 2014 and appears to be sticking to her guns. Here's hoping that she's tempted back for another hurrah with the old gang, but it doesn't seem likely.

The "Shrek" movies are a rogues gallery of characters from the world of fairytales, so it's highly likely that some fresh mythical beings will join the established players in "Shrek 5." Viewers can also bet money on Dragon making an appearance due to her relationship with Donkey, and it wouldn't be a "Shrek" movie without the Gingerbread Man making his presence felt. That being said, "Shrek 5" won't be a direct sequel either, so don't rule out some old characters being given a makeover.

What's the story of Shrek 5?

Despite the title proposing that the next movie will be a continuation of what came before, "Shrek 5" is a reboot that promises to reinvent the wheel. The filmmakers aren't interested in exploring familiar ground. But how they'll go about revamping things remains to be seen. 

"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," Chris Meledandri said in an interview with Variety. At the same time, the super producer isn't looking to forgot about what came before either, noting how he's still "nostalgic" for the old characterizations and the vocal performers who brought them to life. Similar comments were echoed by Mike McCullers, who described the reinvention as "pretty big." The screenwriter also revealed that the story is very "personal" to him, though he didn't spill the beans on what to expect from it.

It seems that the creators are keeping the details of the story close to the vest for now. The vague summary indicates that viewers can expect something completely different, but with the spirit of "Shrek" remaining intact to some degree. The Variety report also highlights plans for the long-awaited "Puss In Boots" sequel, suggesting that NBCUniversal sees a big future for this particular fairytale universe on the screen.