Warning: SPOILERS for Puss in Boots: The Last WishThe box-office-busting and Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was one of the most surprising films of 2022, following up on a decade-old spinoff and revitalizing the Shrek franchise in the process. But the result was apparently far from a foregone conclusion. Perhaps the most shocking moment of the entire film was the final scene, in which Puss, Kitty Softpaws, and Perrito found themselves sailing the ocean towards the magical kingdom of Far, Far Away as the iconic Shrek theme swelled. Even in a film landscape bursting at the seams with cinematic universes, the implication of Shrek’s return still managed to surprise audiences, but the most shocking thing about the teaser was the fact that it was not part of an overall plan.
While the inevitability of Shrek 5 may seem obvious now, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish directors Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado included the teaser out of their own love for the Shrek franchise and world. In an interview with Screen Rant, Crawford and Mercado were asked how early in the filmmaking process they knew they would be soft-launching the next Shrek film. Here’s what director Joel Crawford had to say:
You know what? We didn’t. We’re like Perrito. We are just hopeful and positive. We loved bringing back Puss in Boots. We have such a love for the Shrek world, [and] for these characters, and we were hopeful that the world would embrace this movie so much that there can be more stories, and especially [that] we could go you and tell more stories with Shrek, with Goldie and the Bears, with Perrito, [and] with all these characters that we love. There was no master plan; it was more us just going, “Can we put this in and hope that there’s more?” I think it’s really up to the audiences. Do they want to see more? I think one of the just amazingly gratifying things is the way the world has received this movie and continues to.
Where The Shrek Franchise Can Go After Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
It’s refreshing that the Shrek 5 teaser in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was a labor of love, not a studio mandate. That said, the possibility of a new Shrek film begs the question of what may be next for Shrek, Donkey, and the rest. The two most recent films in the franchise, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After, both garnered mixed receptions from critics and fans alike, with the former accused of spending too much time on pop culture commentary and the latter said to rely too much on previous entries.
Here, again, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish may be able to do the Shrek mainline series a favor, as the deeply character-focused story of the spinoff sequel more than made up for the 11-year gap between Puss in Boots films. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish focused on Puss’ flaws and his initial refusal to see them, which made the story deeply relatable; the story of Shrek 5 could certainly benefit from a similar approach. While it may yet be a long wait until Shrek 5 materializes, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has absolutely made a new Shrek film a very exciting possibility.
Next: Puss In Boots 2’s Shrek 5 Setup Fixes A Franchise Flaw
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is available now on digital platforms.