Puss in Boots was an instant scene-stealer when he debuted in 2004’s animated sequel, Shrek 2. Superbly brought to life by Antonio Banderas, the character was given his own adventure 11 years ago, and a sequel, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, is now set for release later this year. Directed by Joel Crawford, the first 27 of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was screened for a lucky few recently, with the filmmaker revealing to Variety that the Dreamworks follow-up will tackle much darker themes than many are likely expecting — such as death and mortality.
“There are darker tones in this. Puss is down to the last of his nine lives. He’s grappling with his mortality, his fear of death is the engine that drives the movie, and the Grimm fairy tales were a big inspiration [on that front].”
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has been described by the creative team as a “fairy-tale spaghetti Western,” and picks up with the swashbuckling feline all these later. When he learns that he has used eight of his nine lives, Puss in Boots and his friends set out on a journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore the lives he has lost while also escaping new enemies who are trying to hunt him down.
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Not only will Puss in Boots: The Last Wish deal with much darker themes than before, Crawford revealed that there will be plenty of other changes along the way.
“At the forefront of our minds was not just reintroducing Puss to the world, but introducing the world to where the character is now. For us, it was really just about introducing this larger-than-life legend, this fairy-tale character, in a different way than before.”
Clearly, things have changed for Puss in Boots since he teamed up with the ogre and the donkey, with producer Mark Swift further teasing the change in atmosphere as Puss in Boots finds himself standing at Death’s door.
“Being 20 years into this series gives us license to evolve and change a little bit. We handle these kind of deeper topics, pretty scary topics, and one of the things that gives us a little license to do that is the fact that we have taken this film out of the realism look.”
Antonio Banderas Returns for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Thankfully, while Puss in Boots: The Last Wish takes both the title character and audiences to a very different place thematically, Puss’ voice will remain the same as Antonio Banderas returns as the sword-wielding cat.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has amassed a stellar supporting cast alongside Banderas, including Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, Puss’ female counterpart; Harvey Guillén as Perro; Florence Pugh as Goldilocks; John Mulaney as “Big” Jack Horner; Wagner Moura as the Big Bad Wolf; Olivia Colman as Mama Bear; Ray Winstone as Papa Bear; and Samson Kayo as Baby Bear.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on December 21, 2022, by Universal Pictures.