Guess who’s back? The first trailer for Child’s Play, a reboot of the 1988 horror film that launched a franchise, has arrived. Emphasizing how much of a difference 30 years makes, the new film reimagines Chucky not as a doll possessed by a serial killer, but an almost sentient spirit who spreads fear and terror via our very, very vulnerable smart home devices.
On Thursday, Orion Pictures released the trailer for Child’s Play, written by Tyler Burton Smith and directed by Lars Klevberg. The film stars Aubrey Plaza as a single mother who gifts her lonely son (played by Gabriel Bateman) a toy Buddi doll (voiced by Mark Hamill), which comes with an array of smart features. However, strange incidents begin to happen that hint Buddi may be more dangerous than your average doll.
Such smart features in Buddi include “Buddi Video” (“See what Buddi sees!”) and — I swear this is in the trailer — “Buddi Drone,” which allows Buddi to connect to a drone. As the trailer confirms, this is a very scary thing indeed.
“He could be anywhere,” warns Andy (Bateman), “We have to stop him.”
While the film is a reboot of the original Child’s Play, it hasn’t exactly been a long time since the last Chucky movie. In 2017, original creator Don Mancini wrote and directed Cult of Chucky, the seventh film in the series that featured the return of characters from throughout the franchise. It received a warm reception, with 77% of critics rating it favorably on Rotten Tomatoes.
But Mancini has no involvement with the new Child’s Play. Original distributors Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) sought Mancini’s blessing for the reboot, which he denied them. In a December 2018 interview on the film podcast Post Mortem with host Mick Garris, Mancini said:
We said no thank you, because we have our ongoing thriving business with Chucky. Obviously my feelings were hurt … And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three … decades. So when someone says, Oh yeah, we would love to have your name on the film… it was hard not to feel like I was being patronized. They just wanted our approval. Which I strenuously denied them.
Chucky actor Brad Dourif is also not involved in the reboot. Replacing Dourif is Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who was the “first choice” to play Buddi/Chucky by the filmmakers and producers. (Hamill once played a spoof of Chucky in a 2005 episode of Robot Chicken.)
“We asked, thinking there was no way it would ever happen,” said producer Seth Grahame-Smith in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “and he said, ‘Yes.’ He was the first choice, a big swing, and it just happened.”
Child’s Play will be released in theaters on June 21, 2019.