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The Latest on Shrek? Where Shrek Forever After Last Left the Franchise

After all, Shrek is love...Shrek is life.

By Josh Weiss
Shrek (Mike Myers) scares a cat who jumps in Shrek Forever After (2010).

Beyond an amusing cameo in The Pentaverate limited series, the fan favorite character of Shrek has remained noticeably absent from the pop culture landscape since his last feature film, Shrek Forever After (now streaming on Peacock), opened in theaters more than a decade ago. Since that time, we've gotten a pair of Oscar-nominated spinoffs — Puss in Boots (2011) and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) — the latter of which teased a long-awaited return to the kingdom of Far Far Away. 

"Honestly, when we were making the story, we put that in a hopeful way," Last Wish director Joel Crawford confessed to SYFY WIRE. "We love the Shrek universe [and] we’re so happy to be able to continue Puss in Boots' story. We were really hopeful of, ‘If audiences receive the movie and want more of the Shrek world and demand more, then we can go to Far Far Away. We don’t know any master plan. 

But when the sequel (also available on Peacock) racked up widespread critical acclaim, an Academy Award nomination, and close to half a billion at the global box office, DreamWorks Animation decided to give fans the news they'd been waiting for: a confirmation that their favorite swamp-dwelling ogre would return to the big screen. Announced last spring, Shrek 5 is currently in active development, with Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy expected to reprise their roles as Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey, respectively. It was also announced that Murphy's motor-mouthed jackass would take center stage in his own spinoff title.

For More on the Shrek Series:
The Shrekoning: How three events in the mid-2010s marked Shrek's meme evolution 
Why Shrek 2 Remains Such an Animation Banger Two Decades Later
Live Like an All Star in This Scottish Highlands Airbnb Inspired by Shrek's Swamp Dwelling

But where did we last leave these characters? Let's take a brief stroll down memory lane...

Remembering Where Shrek Forever After Left the Franchise

At the end of the fourth adventure, Shrek manages to reverse the magical contract he signed with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) and returns to his own reality. While he thought he wanted to relive the glory days of being a fearsome ogre, Shrek comes to the realization that nothing makes him happier than raising three beautiful children (Fergus, Farkle, and Felicia) with Fiona. The final dance number — set to the franchise's second cover of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer" — and an end credits sprinkled with pivotal moments from the first three films seemed to imply the saga had officially reached its end. The ever after doesn't get any happier than that, so where can things go from here?

What Will Shrek 5 Be About?

No plot details on either Shrek 5 or the untitled Donkey spinoff are available at this time. Sitting down with Variety last year, DreamWorks "creative partner" Chris Meledandri (also founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment) touched on the approach to expanding the fairy tale-inspired universe.

“It’s not that dissimilar to the process that we went through with Mario, where you look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honor those core elements,” he said. “And then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that.”

This is pure speculation, but it would make a ton of sense to open the story with Shrek and Fiona's three kids all grown up and ready to leave the swamp. That seems incredibly ripe for conflict as the two parents clash with the next generation of ogre-dom. The Donkey-centric project, on the other hand, may end up being an origin story, especially since many fans like to toss around the theory that he hails from the Pinocchio story (i.e. one of the wayward boys turned into a donkey on Pleasure Island).

Shrek Forever After is now streaming on Peacock alongside Shrek 2, Shrek The Third, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

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