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We’re going back to the swamp.

DreamWorks Animation has announced that “Shrek 5″ is officially in development, with a far, far away release date of July 1, 2026. Original “Shrek” stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz are all confirmed to return.

Antonio Banderas’ return as the feisty feline Puss in Boots is not yet confirmed. “Shrek 5” will be directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as a writer and artist on “Shrek 2” and “Shrek the Third,” and as head of story on “Shrek Forever After,” in which he also voiced Rumpelstiltskin. “Shrek 5” will be produced by franchise returner Gina Shay and Illumination founder Chris Meledandri; Brad Ableson serves as co-director.

Murphy let it slip in June that he had already begun voice recording for the film and will next do a Donkey spinoff movie.

“We started doing [‘Shrek 5’] months ago,” Murphy told Collider. “I did this. I recorded the first act, and we’ll be doing it this year, we’ll finish it up. ‘Shrek’ is coming out and Donkey’s gonna have his own movie. We’re gonna do Donkey as well. So we’re gonna do a ‘Shrek,’ and we’re doing a Donkey [movie].”

The “Shrek” franchise released four feature films between 2001 and 2010. The original “Shrek” turned DreamWorks Animation into a powerhouse studio with its $487 million worldwide gross. The movie became the first Oscar winner in the animated feature category. “Shrek 2” grossed $928 million. Both films competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. While “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” earned less acclaim than the first two movies, they still managed to gross $813 million and $752 million worldwide. Both “Puss in Boots” spinoffs were theatrical hits as well, grossing $555 million and $484 million, respectively. 

As Variety reported in 2018, Universal Pictures tasked Meledandri (who is also the powerhouse producer behind the “Despicable Me” franchise and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”) with overseeing a revival of the studio’s “Shrek” and “Puss in Boots” franchises. The animation guru was adamant at the time about not messing with with the franchise’s vocal performances, which he credited as being key to the “Shrek” films’ success.

“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations,” Meledandri said. “The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.”

The “Shrek” franchise also includes “Puss in Boots” spinoff titles, the most recent of which, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” opened in theaters in December 2022. The film was a box office hit with $484 million worldwide, and it also picked up an Oscar nomination for best animated feature.

The success of “The Last Wish” relaunched interest in a potential fifth “Shrek” movie, with Donkey voice actor Murphy saying in January 2023, “If [DreamWorks] ever came with another ‘Shrek,’ I’d do it in two seconds. I love Donkey. They did ‘Puss in Boots’ movies. I was like, ‘They should have done a Donkey movie.’ Donkey is funnier than Puss in Boots. I mean, I love Puss in Boots, but he ain’t funny as the Donkey.”

Meledandri told Variety in April 2023 that he was “thrilled” when he read Murphy’s comments, adding, “It’s evidence of his strong enthusiasm for a role that he so brilliantly inhabited and really created alongside the artists at DreamWorks. I found that comment to be very exciting.”

When asked if he thought Donkey was a character that could support its own film, similar to the fighting feline spinoffs starring Antonio Banderas, Meledandri answered, “Without question.” He also said he was keen to see the return of the film’s original voice cast (which includes Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Murphy) for “Shrek 5.”

Though no deals were in place at the time, Meledandri said negotiations with the three actors were going well. “We anticipate the cast coming back. Talks are starting now, and every indication that we’ve gotten is there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of the actors to return,” he said in April.

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