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Making Sense of the Puss in Boots Cinematic Universe

DreamWorks Animation's interpretation of the Puss in Boots character turns 20 in 2024!

By Tara Bennett
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Feliz cumpleaños, Puss in Boots! This year marks two decades since the suave, animated feline voiced by Antonio Banderas first showed up in 2004's Shrek 2 (now streaming on Peacock!). Since then, Puss has appeared in two more theatrical Shrek sequels, and his popularity as a character has earned him two big screen spin-offs, 2011's Puss in Boots and 2022's Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

While the crafty cat has also appeared in several shorts and even an animated streaming series specifically about his swashbuckling escapades, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, they aren't considered canon to the events in DreamWorks Animation's Shrek-verse. As such, we decided to look back at two decades of the gato's cinematic biography to celebrate some of his greatest moments. 

Looking Back at Puss in Boots' DreamWorks Animation History

Shrek 2 (2004)

In Shrek 2, Puss in Boots is introduced as a hit kitty hired by King Harold (John Cleese) to take out his son-in-law, Shrek (Mike Myers). As it turns out, Puss takes a liking to Shrek and Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and does a pretty lackluster job completing his assignment. Instead, he offers to help the pair in all their endeavors... which really gets Donkey's back up. Their rivalry culminates in a rousing duet of "Living La Vida Loca," which cements their friendship and the musically inclined kitty as a permanent member of the beloved Shrek cast. 

For More About Puss in Boots and the Shrek-verse:
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After 'Puss in Boots' success, a new 'Shrek' film in the works with original stars expected to return
Is 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish' a riff on 'Logan'? The director doesn't disagree.

Shrek the Third (2007)

Essentially a road movie, Shrek's family, including Donkey and Puss in Boots, travel to visit Fiona's (Cameron Diaz) cousin in the Far Far Away Kingdom. Having evolved into a confidante to the big green guy, Puss tries to help his friend with his major issues against ascending the throne. Shrek the Third also sees Puss and Donkey swapping bodies due to an errant spell, which tests the frenemies' patience with one another. 

Shrek Forever After (2010)

In this alt-verse tale set within the Shrek-verse, the normally sleek and surefooted Puss in Boots is revealed to have retired from the swashbuckling life to become Fiona's tubby tabby cat. While he might be slower, Puss is still keen of mind and leads the charge to set the world right in the aftermath of the magic used by Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn). Shrek Forever After is the proving ground that Puss in Boots can lead a major story and and earned the feline his first solo spin-off movie.

Puss in Boots (2011)

Executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, Puss in Boots reveals the tiny hero's origin story. From abandoned kitty in San Ricardo to the iconic black-booted rogue audiences love, Puss in Boots is a charming action-adventure featuring a laundry list of remixed fairy tale characters. More importantly, this installment also introduces Puss' first serious romantic attachment in Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Perhaps the cream of all the cat's appearances, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish took 10 years to get made, but it was immediately clear that it was well worth the wait. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, The Last Wish introduced an entirely new animation style into the Shrek-verse, and reunited Puss with Kitty Softpaws. It also told a more potent story with some existential ennui for Puss, as he struggles with only having one of his nine lives left. Funny, clever, and emotional, The Last Wish reinvigorated the character — and the franchise — with fresh ideas and remade him into a character with depth and soul. 

Check out Puss in Boots in action on Peacock with Puss in Boots ShortsThe Adventures of Puss in Boots, Shrek 2, and Shrek Forever After.