At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Syfy has announced a straight-to-series order for Chucky, based on the central character appearing in the Child’s Play horror franchise.
The series creative team includes the movie franchise’s creator Don Mancini and producer David Kirschner, along with Nick Antosca, who brought the Channel Zero anthology to Syfy. Harley Peyton (Channel Zero, Twin Peaks) will also be an executive producer. Mancini will write the new adaptation and serve as showrunner for the first season. Universal Content Productions will produce in partnership with Antosca’s Eat the Cat banner.
“The character Don and David created has terrified audiences for over 30 years. The longevity and legacy of Chucky speaks to the creative storytelling and the loyal fans the film series has collected over the years,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks – USA & Syfy. “We are excited to once again partner with Nick and UCP on this new Syfy series, and are incredibly proud to bring Chucky to television for the first time with the original creators.”
The series picks up as a vintage Chucky doll shows up at a suburban yard sale. The town is thrown into chaos by a series of murders that — as murders do these days — “expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets”. The show will also explore the demon doll’s origin story: a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became the doll from Hell.
Mancini has been working on development of the show for over a year, saying, “The show will be a fresh take on the franchise, allowing us to explore Chucky’s character with a depth that is uniquely afforded by the television series format, while staying true to the original vision that has terrorized audiences for over three decades now.”
The series also has nothing to do with the recent reboot of the Child’s Play movie franchise, in which Mark Hamill voiced the Hellspawn doll. In an interview on the Post Mortem with Mick Garris in December 2018, he spoke about the legal loopholes that allowed MGM to reboot the films without the participation of the creators.
“MGM retained the rights to the first movie, so they’re rebooting that,” Mancini told Garris. “They asked David Kirschner and I if we wanted to be executive producers. We said no thank you, because we have our ongoing thriving business with Chucky. Obviously my feelings were hurt. Ya know, I had just done two movies… forgive me if I sound defensive, [they] were both at 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though they didn’t get theatrical releases, they were well regarded. And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three f-cking decades.”
“They just wanted the imprimatur of our approval, which I strenuously denied them. I hesitate to say too much about it because I don’t want to sound like I’m belly-aching too much, because I’ve been so lucky with this franchise for so long. But the producers of that movie are the producers of IT, which of course was very successful. But how would they feel if there was some legal loophole that allowed David Kirschner and I to swoop in and make our own IT movie, with our own version of Pennywise and say like, ‘Oh but hey guys, we would love to put your names on it,’? They wouldn’t like it. I imagine they wouldn’t like it. That’s how I feel.”
The announcement does not mention Brad Dourif, who originally voiced Chucky, but earlier reports had him also participating in this project.