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Zach Galligan on returning to 'Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai'

Zach Galligan talks to yahoo Entertainment from San Diego's Comic-Con about returning to the new HBO Max series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.

Video transcript

KEVIN POLOWY: I know you cannot say too much about your role in "Gremlins-- The Secret of the Mogwai," but what excited you about returning to the GCU, the Gremlins Cinematic Universe? We're going to coin that today.

ZACH GALLIGAN: Well, first of all, it's been an incredibly long time. I mean, "Gremlins 2" came out in 1990. So you're talking 30 years exactly when I got the gig. Because remember, I actually booked this in June of 2020. So I've had to not be able to talk about this or tell anybody about anything, you know, for 25 months. It's like one of the longest NDAs I've ever had.


ZACH GALLIGAN: It was crazy.


ZACH GALLIGAN: So it was fantastic. They've done some really interesting things with the whole mythology. They've kind of like-- even though it takes place in the 1920s, in some ways they've updated it so that it looks kind of hip, and cool, and groovy. And the animation is-- it's kind of in a style I don't really think that I've seen. So it's very unique. Can't really compare it to anything else.


ZACH GALLIGAN: So that makes it kind of a unique viewing experience. And just having a new creative team in there to kind of take a fresh look at it was-- it's just really exciting, and I'm actually quite grateful to be part of it.

KEVIN POLOWY: And Joe Dante is involved, right? I believe he's a consultant. That obviously gives it some cred, I would imagine. Have you guys been back in touch?

ZACH GALLIGAN: I mean, we never really lost touch.


ZACH GALLIGAN: Joe and I probably email each other maybe every couple of months.

KEVIN POLOWY: Oh, that's awesome.

ZACH GALLIGAN: You know, he sends me hilarious articles sometimes. Like he sent me a "New York Times" rave review of "Gremlins 2," which if you remember did not really get received all that well at the time.


ZACH GALLIGAN: And he sent me a rave review just with three words, "Vindicated at last."

KEVIN POLOWY: I mean, no one will argue that the first "Gremlins" movie was a classic, but "Gremlins 2," did you guys feel-- was that an ongoing conversation? Did you guys feel like that one got a bum rap that maybe was a little underrated?

ZACH GALLIGAN: Any time you do something as subversive really as what Joe did, which was take a second sequel and just make it kind of make fun of the first-- it's almost a satire of the first one. You know, most of the time when people go see a blank two, they want to see more of the same.

KEVIN POLOWY: They don't expect you to spoof yourself basically.

ZACH GALLIGAN: I don't think anyone's done it since, before or after. And so I think the whole meta thing about it or postmodern thing, however you want to describe it, I think it threw a lot of people off. Because they were just expecting to see like chunk two of "Gremlins," you know what I mean?

KEVIN POLOWY: Right, right.

ZACH GALLIGAN: And to be fair, threw me off a little bit too because a lot of it was very "Mad Magazine" kind of style humor going on. So it took a little adjustment to get to the new tone.

KEVIN POLOWY: Yeah, yeah.

ZACH GALLIGAN: But then you also had things like working with Christopher Lee, who is a legend, you know, and other great actors and stuff. So it was good fun.

KEVIN POLOWY: He's so great in that film.

ZACH GALLIGAN: Dr. Catheter.

KEVIN POLOWY: Yes, yes. Back to "Secret of Mogwai--"


KEVIN POLOWY: --for a second. I think this series has a predominantly Asian cast.


KEVIN POLOWY: How important was that aspect for you, especially returning to the back story, the roots of the "Gremlins" mythology?

ZACH GALLIGAN: I just think it's a really logical extension of the mythology. Mr. Wing is such a crucial part of the mythology. I mean, he is after all Gizmo's owner. He's where Gizmo comes from. We don't know anything-- he's the beginning, you know.

So if you're going to go backwards and you're going to do a prequel, he's the obvious place to start, I thought. And Keye Luke did such an amazing job. That's such a classic performance that he delivered at a pretty old age. He was like 87 or something like that when he did it. He looks really good--


ZACH GALLIGAN: --for his age.


ZACH GALLIGAN: Even though they put the beard on him. We took his beard off. He looked like he was about 62 years old.


ZACH GALLIGAN: Yeah, he was amazing.

KEVIN POLOWY: I'm sure it's been discussed though. Do you know if a third film has ever been-- has sort of, you know, seriously made its way--

ZACH GALLIGAN: Well, it is common knowledge that Chris Columbus wrote a third "Gremlins" script. Whether anything's going to come of that is anybody's guess. I have no idea. I'm not really in the loop on the development phase of that. So we'll just have to kind of wait and see. I know that Chris Columbus would like to do a part three. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen.

KEVIN POLOWY: Your buddy Joe Dante made some headlines recently when he called Baby Yoda a shameless rip off of Gizmo. Not to get too controversial, but where do you sit on this?

ZACH GALLIGAN: I'm staying out of this one.

KEVIN POLOWY: You're staying out?

ZACH GALLIGAN: I think they're both adorable, and I think there's room for both characters. You have a huge universe of characters that people love.


ZACH GALLIGAN: You know, it's not really something I want to stick my nose into.

KEVIN POLOWY: You want to wade into.

ZACH GALLIGAN: There's no benefit to wading into that controversy.

KEVIN POLOWY: Right. You have said Gizmo's cuter though.

ZACH GALLIGAN: I'm always going to say Gizmo is cuter than anybody because he's my buddy.