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SYFY WIRE gremlins

Zach Galligan thinks Gizmo’s MTN DEW commercial ‘portends good things’ for Gremlins fans

By Adam Pockross
MTN Dew Gremlins commercial with Gizmo and Zach Galligan

On Monday, we got a chance to see Zach Galligan’s Billy Peltzer reconnect with everyone’s favorite Mogwai, Gizmo, thanks to a brand-new MTN DEW Zero Sugar ad featuring the two Gremlins stars hanging out again in live action for the first time in 31 years. When SYFY WIRE spoke to Galligan about the reunion, he noted that though he wasn’t sure about Warner Bros.’ intentions on the matter, as far as re-kickstarting the venerable franchise goes, the new spot “certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Though he stresses that he’d be the last to know, Galligan feels more optimistic about the franchise’s future than he has in decades. “This definitely feels, for the very first time in decades, like the franchise is really revving up. It feels like a car revving up in the driveway getting ready to go for a nice drive,” Galligan tells SYFY WIRE. 

One of the reasons he’s so optimistic is due to the level of technical wizardry displayed by the crew bringing Gizmo back to life for the commercial. 

“The thing I was most impressed with was it was animatronic, it was incredibly sophisticated ... the number of cables and wires going into the Gizmo was in the dozens; they had extremely professional and prepared puppeteers who clearly had, in my opinion, been training for weeks if not months for this spot, which I found unusual, since the genesis of the spot took about six weeks,” Galligan says. “So the intriguing takeaway from the commercial was that somewhere, someone is practicing with high technological versions of Gizmo for some unsubstantiated reason. There’s no way they could have done the level of technology and the kind of slick skills that they demonstrated without weeks of practice.”

All of which is to say that Galligan thinks that’s a good sign for the future of the franchise. “I think it portends good things, for anyone who’s a Gremlins fan, let’s just say that.”

Granted, Galligan contends he’d be the last to know about such franchise developments.

“I’m just an actor, and Warner Bros. pretty much knows they can snap their fingers and hire me whenever they want. They don’t really tell me anything,” Galligan says. “I found out that Gremlins 2 was going into production about three months before I was on the set and they had been doing pre-production for 18 months before they told me!” 

 And no, he hasn’t read, nor seen, nor even been made officially aware of Chris Columbus’ reported threequel script. And Galligan gets it.

“You have to understand, these franchises are worth so much money, and the secrecy is so enormous, that their feeling is [to] tell the fewest number of people possible. Including me," Galligan says. "I mean, why run the risk that I’m gonna run on social media and run my mouth off? It’s better to tell me nothing.”

Just the same, Galligan does know a thing or two about the franchise, particularly his character, Billy Peltzer. And it’s hard not to dream about where Gremlins 3 could go from the spot, which finds Peltzer watching TV with Gizmo, drinking a MTN DEW Zero Sugar, and offering Giz a drink ... which he of course then spills on himself, and poof! Out pop more baby Mogwai, which is not the least bit surprising to Billy's Goth teenage daughter, who has a Goth Mogwai on her shoulder, presumably one of many around the house. 

“I think the idea of the commercial is that even 30 years later, I’m still pretty clumsy and casual about the rules, so my guess is that I’ve blundered many times," Galligan says. "So when my daughter comes in, she has one of ... who knows, 50? 60? additional Mogwais I’ve created. And I guess the inference is that the house is infested with them.” 

So Gremlins 3 could be about Billy being not a crazy cat person, but a crazy Mogwai person?

Though two hours of that sounds plenty good to us, Galligan thinks the franchise would likely head in one of two “viable” directions. 

“My guess is they’re going to do something where either my kid would disobey the rules, which is a lot more understandable since young people tend to be more casual about these things,” Galligan says, “Or you would find that there’s another Mogwai that’s not Gizmo that somebody finds, and they would have problems with the rules and you would need to call Billy and Gizmo in to fix the problem.”

Whether or not Gremlins 3 ever happens, Galligan is just happy for what’s been, and what’s happening with the new spot. He says he feels nothing but “Gremlins appreciation” to have been part of something so lasting. But interestingly, it’s not just lasting popularity, it’s growing popularity. Heck, just yesterday we heard about big casting news for HBO Max's upcoming animated prequel series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai

“It’s very peculiar that in many ways the franchise is more popular now and has more of a fanbase now than it ever has," Galligan says. "Which is a really bizarre thing to think about, considering how long ago we did the first movie — you know this summer is going to be 38 years since we shot it."

Amazing how well Gizmo has aged, don’t you think?