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Artist Behind Old Chucky Reveals Brad Dourif & David Bowie Inspired the Design

The artist behind Chucky's latest look opened up about how they made a doll age less than gracefully. 

By Ama Ofosu

Our favorite killer doll is back for round two of the third season of Chucky. If you watched the latest episode, you might have noticed Chucky's undergone a bit of a makeover. He's dying! In fact, he's dying of one of the worst things a seemingly immortal magic doll can... Old age.

How to Watch

Watch Chucky on SYFY. Stream from the beginning on Peacock.

It turns out, all that killing has finally caught up to him, and he's not just battling teenagers anymore; he's also fighting the effects of a Catholic exorcism, which made his preferred deity, Dambala, forsake him and turn him into a geriatric nightmare. It is giving a mid-(after)life crisis! This new look, which is jarring and very different from the child-like face we are all used to, is thanks to the work of Tony Gardner, the animatronic puppet effects supervisor who makes Chucky come to life each episode.

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When tasked with the challenge of creating an aging Chucky doll, Gardner told Indie Wire, "The main question was, how do we stay true to who the character is and how do we also push it so there's humanity, and it's relatable?"

Chucky lays in bed in Chucky Episode 305.

Their goal was to create a version of the doll that looked both sympathetic and evil, though it's hard to get sympathy from a homicidal doll, yet they killed it (pun intended).

The biggest challenge Gardner faced was transitioning from the round ball skull underneath, established in previous films as Chucky's head shape, to a shriveled, skeletal appearance requiring the illusion of fat removal.

"So, we had to take a little bit of artistic liberty and carve down where you would traditionally dig into a person's face to make them look older — sink in the temples, sink in the cheeks. At the same time, you're fighting big fat cheeks and a very unpronounced jawline, so you have to amp up the wrinkles on the forehead and eyes to balance it out," Gardner explained in the interview.

But it doesn't just stop with the face. He's gone bald! Well, not entirely. Like most aging individuals, Chucky has lost much of his hair, and the classic vibrant red color is gone.

For some finer details, Gardner looks to Brad Dourif, the Academy-Award nominee behind Chucky's voice, as a reference. The older actor has character lines on his face that are replicated on the doll. Another unexpected influence on Chucky's new look is artist David Bowie. Gardner aimed to emulate the way Bowie wore his clothes, which were oversized, giving him a skeletal appearance. Speaking of clothes, what was once a vibrant-colored shirt under overalls is now worn down and stained, rotting like Chucky himself.

It's the attention to those little details that make Chucky such a fun show to watch and keep viewers guessing as to what happens next. For a magical killer doll who has returned form the grave so many times his catchphrase is "I always come back," this time it feels different without Dambala on his side. Only time will tell if he gets out of this one. 

Catch new episodes of Chucky on USA Network and SYFY and catch up on past episodes on Peacock.

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