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'M3GAN' writer explains why M3GAN's name absolutely had to be 'M3GAN'

Let’s just say this AI-powered death doll would never, ever answer to ‘KAR3N’.

By Benjamin Bullard
M3GAN (2023)

Welp, you’ve either seen M3GAN in a theater by now...or else she’s probably coming after you. After all, that’s just the type of methodical, relentlessly proactive approach we’ve come to expect from the AI-activated killer doll at the center of the first breakout movie hit of the new year.

If anything, the Amie Donald-acted, Jenna Davis-voiced android propelling the movie to box office heights serves as a textbook-perfect example of getting exactly what you want — even if it means being more than a little on the assertive side. For a robot, in fact, you might even say she has a distinctive quality of character: a personality that slices through all the B.S. when it’s time to get downright violent and start throwing those tiny little plastic hands. 

Screenwriter Akela Cooper (Malignant, American Horror Story) helped shape M3GAN’s overprotective attitude from a story she created with James Wan, one of the movie’s two producers, alongside Jason Blum. Believe it or not (and we’re definitely too scared not to), one of the earliest themes Cooper was certain the film couldn’t do without was the “M3GAN” name itself — because, as she recently explained to Gawker, no other designation could quite exude the right homicidal-antihero vibes. 

“Her name,” replied Cooper when asked point blank about the pint-sized slasher’s “non-negotiables.”

“It was on the drive home after like my initial meeting with [Wan's production company] Atomic Monster about even taking a crack at the elevator pitch that they had — I knew her name was Megan,” she explained. “That kind of implies a certain personality. M3GAN is a force in her name alone: She’s not a Karen, because she’s not asking to speak to the manager — she’s handling s*** herself.”

With due apologies to all the Karens of the world, M3GAN’s buoyant box office numbers have definitely vindicated Cooper’s nuanced naming instincts. Through its first week of release, the PG-13-rated Universal Pictures fright flick has carved out a $56 million ticket haul worldwide, including $38.5 million on North American shores. 

Cooper said she’s stoked that M3GAN has struck such a resonating note with horror fans — especially since its synthetic, stabby, singing star is driving people into theaters right in the often-sluggish dead of winter.

“A lot of movies get put in January, just to make sure they are released,” said Cooper. “But Universal Pictures had faith. And kudos to Universal, because it hit big. The response from everyone thus far has been incredible. I’m really happy that audiences are not only enjoying the movie, but loving it and connecting to it.”

M3GAN is now playing — and slaying — in theaters nationwide.

Want another killer doll fix? Stream Chucky on Peacock.