The first Child’s Play movie came out in 1988, followed by a string of increasingly campy sequels (and one in-name-only reboot), but its iconic antagonist is now more popular than ever thanks to the runaway success of the TV series Chucky.
The killer doll is back for season two in just a few weeks, and at a recent press event, io9 got a chance to ask creator Don Mancini about Chucky’s enduring appeal as a character—and how the Chucky franchise has been able to evolve with the times to please both old-school fans and people who are just discovering him thanks to the USA and Syfy show.
First, Mancini made sure to thank those who love Chucky the most, explaining that the franchise is flourishing “through the good graces of our fans, and we’re very grateful to them.” But he also had high praise for the people who actually bring Chucky to life. “I think one of the most important aspects of the sustained popularity of the character is due to Brad Dourif and his [vocal] performance, which I think is indelible. And the puppeteers, who are led by Tony Gardner and Peter Chevako, are amazing. And I think in tandem, they bring Chucky to life to such a degree that we on set can all take it for granted. You know, he is just the kids’ co-star, Jennifer [Tilly’s] co-star, or the actor that me and my fellow directors are directing.”
Even beyond that, as far as the franchise’s leap from film to TV goes, Mancini has a few things he can point to that explain its success. “I think that Chucky works well as a television series because for years, with the films, [we had] already set the precedent of doing serialized, ongoing, narrative storytelling. We have been spinning this continuous web over decades,” he told us. “So, to be able to do that now at an accelerated pace, and to go through eight hours of story per season, that’s really exciting. Because it allows us to get more into characters’ history and relationships, and go down different avenues and explore characters that fans have been wanting to know more about. This year we learn more about Glen and Glenda, what has been going on with them. Fans have been wanting to know about that since 2004.”
And this last point is also important, given that the new series features a young cast of teens as well as its array of existing fan-favorite Child’s Play characters: “I also think that the YA element is a good fit for Chucky,” Mancini added. “Aesthetically, we love to do over-the-top, stylistic, grandiose, visual stuff. And I think that’s the way teenagers’ emotions work. Teenagers’ emotions are over the top and big. That’s how you experience things when you are a teenager. Everything is incredibly vivid. So, I think that our franchise is a great fit for that.”
Speaking of those teens, Chucky season one stars Zackary Arthur as Jake, Björgvin Arnarson as Devon, and Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy will all be back to tangle with Chucky (Brad Dourif). The rest of the cast includes Jennifer Tilly, Fiona Dourif, Devon Sawa, and new addition Lachlan Watson (as Glen and Glenda).
Chucky returns to USA and Syfy on October 5.
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