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The Thing: John Carpenter & Original Producer Talk Sequel Hopes, What Could Be Next

Could MacReady and Childs be coming back for more alien action?

By Josh Weiss
Exclusive: John Carpenter on the creature that made The Thing a horror classic

John Carpenter made waves in The Thing fan community this week after teasing a potential sequel that would resolve the lingering ambiguity of his 1982 masterpiece.

"I just think there’s another bit of a story to tell there, which I’m not going to tell you about," he said during a recent interview with Fandom. "But there have been some discussions about The Thing and what we could do because, as far as we know, both those two main characters — Childs [Keith David] and MacReady [Kurt Russell] — are still alive. They were alive at the end of The Thing, so maybe they’re still alive."

The celebrated filmmaker was a little more tight-lipped on the subject while appearing at this year's Texas Frightmare Weekend (via Creepy Catalog), stating: "I have been sworn to secrecy, okay, because there may be, I don’t know if there will be, there may be a Thing 2."

RELATED: Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Fictional Star Rick Dalton Pursued Role in John Carpenter's The Thing

It's the same vague response he gave us last year when SYFY WIRE asked if he knew who was a Thing at the end of the first movie: "The gods came down and swore me to secrecy."

Talk of another Thing movie began in 2020 when it was reported that Universal Pictures and Blumhouse were going back to the John W. Campbell source material, Who Goes There?, and the expanded version (which includes lost chapters) known as Frozen Hell.  

What could a sequel to The Thing look like?

This is the approach championed by Stuart Cohen, one of the lead producers on the '82 original, who convinced his old USC Film buddy, John Carpenter, to direct. 

“I think the story’s been told about as well as it can be by John," he tells SYFY WIRE over the phone. "I think there's more plot to be had with the franchise — I'm just not sure there's more story, which involves the arc of character development. What more do you really need to know about the relationship of MacReady and Childs at the end of John's film?"

"I do think there is room for a cutting-edge reimagining of Campbell’s original short story," the producer continues. "You can set it in contemporary times [or] set it in 1938 — and involve a cutting-edge filmmaker. Make John Carpenter the executive producer and have him work with Jennifer Kent [or] Moorhead and Benson, whom I actually think would get along great with John. That’s my instinct based on their work and John’s instincts. Call it Who Goes There? and forget about the franchise. That’s the film I’d like to see."

The Thing Stills

Interestingly, Moorhead and Benson already have a proof of concept with their Thing-inspired episode of the Jordan Peele-produced/hosted Twilight Zone reboot (now on SYFY!). "You could do a number of things. It depends upon who you get to work with," Cohen says, also throwing Atlantics director Mati Diop into the mix of filmmakers he'd like to see involved with the material.

"Reimagine, redo the short story. The scenes are still relevant. I would keep it all analog, keep the monster analog," he says. "Do a reimagining of it and [don't] worry about the further adventures of MacReady and Childs. Again, the story’s been told about as well as it can be by John. Some films deserve not to be remade and this is one of them. John and I never thought of this film [spawning] a sequel when we made it, even if it had been successful. Because the story had been told. What more do you say? I guess maybe we’ll find out."

Cohen explains that the entire appeal of the Campbell novella comes down to "containment [and] isolation. Nobody’s going anywhere and there’s a clock ticking … The horror comes internally, it doesn’t come externally."

The producer then goes on to reveal an almost Stranger Things-y pitch he's been mulling over for quite some time:

"Take 12 bright science majors, winners of contests around the globe. Science projects on the effects of global warming, for example, and the 12 winners win a grand prize — a trip down under to McMurdo to do research for a summer, and they get more than they bargained for. You can do that. Smart kids, smart monster. Always keep that. Smart kids, smart monster. The monster’s smart and clever in the short story. It’s diabolical."

The Thing (along with its divisive 2011 prequel) is available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the mood for more creature features? Terror of Mechagodzilla, Jumanji, King Kong, Land of the Lost, Abominable, The Golem, Cocaine Bear, and the original Jurassic Park trilogy are all streaming on Peacock.