The iconic Child’s Play franchise is branching out into TV with the new Chucky series of SYFY. Fans at the NYCC Chucky panel were treated to a screening of the new series and a Q&A with creator Don Mancini and Child’s Play actress Jennifer Tilley.
Like most Chucky films, you don’t need any prior knowledge of the character or franchise to get the gist of what’s happening. In classic horror movie style, the lighting is dim, the music is loud, and the characters are oblivious. Jake Wheeler is a 14-year-old artist-in-training who is bullied at school for being gay and terrorized by his father at home. He picks up the Chucky doll at a local yard sale, planning to use Chucky for parts in his new sculpture. When Jake brings Chucky home, it sets off a chain reaction that results in death and destruction.
The show is just as delightfully campy as the previous films, with the first episode following Chucky as he vomits up liquor to electrocute his victims and yells obscenities at audience members. However, because there’s more time to explore relationships and character development in a TV show, more emphasis is placed on getting to know our characters and the history of Chucky — or Charles Lee Ray — himself. The audience watches as Jake wrestles with his morality: Should he listen to Chucky and kill all his enemies for their opposing viewpoints, or is there something worth redeeming in everyone?
After the screening finished, creator Don Mancini and original cast member Jennifer Tilley took to the stage to answer some questions. They chatted about the impetus behind the Chucky films, whether or not Jennifer Tilley would be in the series (spoiler alert: She is!!), and who their favorite characters are. Mancini revealed that he particularly resonated with Jake — many of the character’s scenes with his bullies were taken from Mancini’s high school experience. Not only did he want to normalize seeing a young gay protagonist, but he wanted to “make it cool.”
The icing on the cake? During the Q&A session, Chucky actors Zackary Arthur (Jake Wheeler) and Alex Vincent (the original Andy Barclay actor) appeared, with Zackary Arthur asking the cheeky question “Why is Jake Wheeler your favorite character?” Of course, the audience went wild. Although we have to wait for episode five to see the original cast members, having both Arthur and Vincent on stage solidified the connection between the movies and the show.
For all the gory details, check out the Chucky trailer below. And watch the series premiere on USA and SYFY on Oct. 12!