Understanding The Difference Between Classic Chucky And The 2019 Remake

A legendary horror mascot shared between two rival companies.
Classic Chucky 2019 remake
Cinema Blend.com

November of 1988 introduced audiences around the world to America's favorite Good Guy doll Chucky. Possessed by the soul of sociopathic killer Charles Lee Ray a.k.a. the Lakeshore Strangler, Chucky's success has spawned several feature film sequels, video games, action figures, and even a divisive series reimagining.

After a series of direct to DVD feature films in the past few years, Chucky is now returning to terrorize a new generation of fans on not the big screen but small with an upcoming SYFY television series set for release on October 12th, 2021.

Titled simply Chucky, the show will center on a new unlucky child Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) coming across the horrific doll at a yard sale, while significant periods within Chucky's past history are explored. The highly anticipated television series marks the first time that series co-creator Don Mancini has been involved in his life's work since the release of 2017's Cult of Chucky

The Red-Headed Step-Child of Chucky

Following in the footsteps of iconic horror franchises A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, a Child's Play remake was in the works from MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) for over a decade before finally releasing within the United States market on June 21, 2019.

Scaring its way into theaters with a new starring cast and modernized story elements, the remake ditches Mancini's established continuity and follows many plot elements set from the first Child's Play. In its act of independence, the remake saw the exclusion of both creator Mancini and staple Chucky voice actor Brad Dourif, whose classic expressions and voice were replaced in favor of fan-favorite actor Mark Hamill (Star Wars).

With Hamill's Chucky as its headliner, the remake featured an entirely new cast consisting of relative newcomer Gabriel Bateman as the new Andy Barclay alongside Aubrey Plaza (Karen Barclay) and Brian Tyree Henry (Mike Norris); ushering the Chucky series back to the darker period of evil from which it originated.

Though initially receiving fan criticism for its dramatic changes to Chucky lore, Chuky's return to the big screen ultimately achieved a modest critical reception and garnered over $45 million worldwide.

The Red-Headed Step-Child of Chucky

Though director Lars Klevberg (Polaroid)'s Child's Play invoked a newfound aura of horror into the franchise, the only variables not involved were Mancini and the creatives who helped Chucky achieve international fame in the first place.

The change in leadership only helped to create an even greater wedge of tension between the two generations of Chucky. Klevberg's film was a modern reimagining of the original 1988 film starring 6-year old Andy Barclay receiving a "brand new" Good Guy doll from his loving mother.

In order to align with the contemporary time period, Chucky is no longer a plastic doll but a high-tech smart doll hailing from Southeast Asia to help drive home society's overreliance on AI technology. Don Mancini has been involved with every Child's Play film in a writing capacity since the original, which he helped pen alongside John Lafia and the movie's own director Tom Holland.

An Icon Under New Management 

Beginning with 1990's Child's Play 2, the future Chucky sequels found themselves in the ownership of esteemed film company Universal Pictures, following the dissolution of MGM's parent company United Artists.

Due to Universal's ownership over the Chucky character, it is the prestige studio's television division Universal Content Pictures (a subsidiary of NBCUniversal) that will distribute Mancini's upcoming television series.

MGM however retains exclusive rights to the first Child's Play film and the characters associated with the introduction to the franchise. As a sequel to 2019's Child's Play remake currently remains in discussion, Mancini and have gone full steam ahead on exposing the original Chucky to a larger audience once again.

Classic Chucky 2019 remake

Back to Basics 

Coming off directing duties for 2004's Seed of Chucky as well as later entries Curse / Cult of Chucky, Don Mancini will be in charge of wiring and directing each episode of the upcoming first season. This October, television networks SYFY and USA will serve as the premier home for the continuation of Chucky's murderous story.

While the remake or any future sequels are seemingly unauthorized from mentioning Chucky's partner in crime and wife Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly), conflicted son with daddy issues Glen (Billy Boyd) or any other subsequent supporting characters, any mainstay players Child's Play including the Barclays and police detective Mike Norris are fair game.

In an effort to reel the series back to basics, Mancini is bringing along a few longtime friends starting with the return of the classic Chucky fans know and love, who will once again be voiced by Brad Dourif.

Additionally returning for the latest entry in the Chucky franchise is the doll's original nemesis Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), Andy's heroic foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise McCarthy), and even the more recent Curse of Chucky protagonist Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif).

Future of Classic Chucky 2019 remake
Amazon Prime.com

Where Does Chucky's Future Lie?

Chucky and his fellow horror icons seem to be the prime candidates that lend themselves to a basic cable television format, in which a new season or even episode can act as its own independent arc and follow the killer targeting another unfortunate set of victims.

If the series proves to be a success, the feature films can become the revenue for alternate "what if?" storylines with the Chucky brand and characters, which may allow the dedicated horror fans to have their cake and eat it too. Though the direction of Chucky seems to be on television for the foreseeable future, Mancini has tentative plans to return the Good Guy to his feature film roots as well.

If Mancini's future Chucky movies are intended to be direct to DVD or theatrical releases, remain to be seen. The Chucky originator has even tossed around the idea of a potential Chucky / Freddy Kruger crossover to New Line Cinema. One thing is for sure, Chucky may not be the pop culture sensation that he was in the late 80s / early 1990s, but the future seems to be bright for a homicidal killer doll. 

SYFY and USA's Chucky will hit television screens just in time for Halloween on October 23rd, 2021.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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