Without the groundbreaking NBC series Hannibal, we may have never gotten a Chucky TV show.
While working as a writer-producer on the horror series Hannibal, Child’s Play franchise creator Don Mancini realized it was possible to make the leap from the big screen to the small one. Mancini recently shared the moment he knew the killer doll could work on TV.
Reinventing the Franchise
When Mancini first heard about the Hannibal TV series, he was skeptical. He was a huge fan of the franchise, which includes four novels and five movies. Yet, he couldn’t imagine how a TV series about the infamous Hannibal Lecter could work. Then Mancini saw the series, which starred Mads Mikkelsen as the titular man-eater, and he changed his mind (via Entertainment Weekly):
“Of course, like everybody else, I was blown away. Anyway, I ended up in the Hannibal writers’ room. I really loved working on that show, and I loved working for Bryan Fuller, and learned a lot from him. I saw that one of the things that made that show so interesting and exciting was that it was kind of fan fiction written by experts. It was a sort of fanciful imagining initially. What was Hannibal like when he was a practicing psychiatrist consulting with the FBI before anyone knew he was the big bad? That’s when I started imagining doing the same thing with Chucky, having eight hours of narrative to play with and doing it with a bunch of like-minded horror geeks and legit Chucky fanatics. I’ve been around for quite a while now, and I meet a lot of younger people who love the franchise and who grew up on it, and so I felt, wow, if I can cultivate the excitement that they have for Chucky, in the same way I felt Bryan Fuller was able to cultivate my and the other writers’ excitement for Hannibal, we could have something really special.”
Mancini went on to explain that one thing he’s always tried to do with the Child’s Play franchise is keep reinventing it. Without the time restrictions of a movie, he could explore the franchise in a brand new way.
“Just having eight hours of story to deal with necessarily puts you in a position where you’re dealing much more with characters and relationships than you can in any single 90-minute movie. All of that just seemed really mouth-watering to me and I’m delighted and slightly shocked that it all worked out,” he said.
Making Sure the “Good Guy” Stays Bad
Another thing that gave Mancini hope while working on Hannibal was the series’ ability to be gory. If Hannibal could get some of its nastier visual gags past the censors, he had hope Chucky could do the same.
“Syfy and USA have a strong appetite, as strong as ours, for keeping the TV series tonally in check with what the fans want to see. Before we even sold the show, we had to confirm with the network that Chucky could drop his F-bombs. Chucky gets 10 F-bombs per episode, so that’s more than enough,” Mancini told EW.
Chucky will tell the story of a small town in middle America that becomes plagued by mysterious murders when a vintage (and possessed) ‘Good Guy’ doll shows up at a garage sale. The series stars Zackary Arthur, Jennifer Tilly, Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Devon Sawa, Lexa Doig, Teo Briones, Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Björgvin Arnarson. Brad Dourif will voice the titular character once more, reprising his role from the seven film franchise.
Chucky premieres on October 12, 2021 on USA and SYFY.
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