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SYFY WIRE Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Is 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish' a riff on 'Logan'? The director doesn't disagree.

The Puss in Boots actor Antonio Banderas and co-director Joel Crawford says there's a thematic crossover!

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

It has been 11 years since Puss in Boots, the beloved Shrekverse swashbuckler voiced by Antonio Banderas, strutted in his last theatrical adventure on the big screen. Of course, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the time away has aged the feisty feline physically and emotionally — for the better. DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which has already been nominated for Best Animated Featured by Critics Choice and the Golden Globes, gives us a more mature Puss, one whose celebrity and reckless behavior is cut short when he's faced with the finality of only having one more of his nine lives left. 

Frightened by his looming death, Puss leaves it all behind to go into self-exile, growing an "Old Man" Puss in Boots beard and leaving his connections behind. In truth, The Last Wish has a lot of parallels with 2017's Logan, which gave us a grizzled, world-weary Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) whose mutant abilities are waning until he finds a reason to care and connect once more. Joel Crawford tells SYFY WIRE that he and his co-director, Januel Mercado, take that comparison as a big compliment. "It was interesting because the movie has been compared to Logan in some ways," Crawford said, enthusiastically.

In The Last Wish, we witness Puss falling to his lowest point only to crawl back to a place of family and connection. Crawford says that dramatic change for the boisterous cat was a big sell for Antonio Banderas, who has voiced the character going back to Shrek 2. "When Januel and I pitched him the story, Antonio really was excited to show the audience another side of Puss in Boots," Crawford remembers. Puss in Boots was introduced as this hero who's fearless and is never sweating, you know. But Antonio was like, "We can really show more depth. And this movie can be an exploration of vulnerability." To see this hero realize he's mortal, and that vulnerability actually opens him up to connections. This story is about finding those people worth sharing your life with, like a found family thing with Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault), and Perrito (Harvey Guillen)."

Banderas says he remembers being struck by how much the premise of the sequel applied to his own life. In 2017, the actor suffered a heart attack that required subsequent heart surgeries. Since then, he's been vocal about how the experience changed his own appreciation for the fleeting nature of life.

"In the moment [in the script] in which the character knows that he has only one life, and suddenly his character changes, I was like, 'Woah!' Because, in a way, it has to do with my own personal life," Banderas says. "I had an experience that was very close to that."

"The [directors] managed to do a package that allowed us to reflect about life," continues. "To have fun with it, but at the same time, winking an eye to the possibility of having a little bit more of depth and complexity in the character with a resolution at the end of the movie that I think is very fair, very beautiful, and very educational. It teaches the kids that it's important to value what we have. And what we have is this life that has been given to us, and how to use that."

Crawford concurs, adding, "What actually excited us coming in was there's something so fun, and also so important in the nugget of this movie. Puss in Boots has burned through eight of his nine lives. It's this fairytale premise that a cat has nine lives. And then realizing he just has one life, there's this beautiful, positive, joyful message that life is special. It's worth celebrating and sharing with others If we can bring you into a big comedy/action/adventure, and then almost surprise, the audience with this heartfelt message, that's worth telling now."

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is now in theaters. Stream the first Puss in Boots on Peacock now.