It's funny because DreamWorks' original plan was to make five Shrek movies. No, not four films about Shrek and one about Puss in Boots; five Shrek films. At the time, Puss in Boots was going to be a direct-to-video spinoff with the subtitle "The Story of an Ogre Killer". Back in 2005-ish, I recall that DreamWorks wanted the fifth Shrek to be a prequel about how Shrek came to live in the the swamp. I guess that the fourth one would always be the finale, but diminishing returns and the response Shrek the Third gotten must've convinced them to stop at four, but still make Puss in Boots.
Anyways, a fifth Shrek… It's starting to make sense actually, because DreamWorks' latest theme park project is a Shrek-themed attraction ("Shrek's Far Far Away Adventure") that will be opening in London next year. Shrek Forever After was also the biggest overseas, so the green ogre - I guess - is still popular to some extent. I don't know, I thought his popularity waned by the time the fourth film was in the works. Well, here in the states at least.
By the way, I still think the original holds up despite the lame petty Disney-bashing in it. (Some of it is definitely a vehicle for Katzenberg to take potshots at Michael Eisner and Disney in general.) Despite all that, the story and character development is top-notch and a lot of the humor does work in the film. Well, when it's not trying to be anti-Disney. Shrek 2, I loved when I was young, but looking at it today, it's a lazy wannabe-hip film for middle schoolers that was dated immediately after it came out. I remember all my peers - I was in seventh grade at the time it came out - loving it and thinking it was so cool and "adult", while they thought The Incredibles was kiddie and lame. (Remember, it's gotta have… Attitude!) Shrek the Third I remember very little of, I remember my theater experience more (saw it with my good friend and his fam). I skipped Shrek Forever After in theaters, caught it two years later (or was it one?) on TV. I thought it was meh, it wasn't annoying like the last two sequels, it wasn't mean-spirited but it wasn't anything special either. It was basically like vanilla ice cream, I want a topping or something on it!
Puss in Boots though, I really liked that and I was looking forward to the sequel, but that appears to be a no-go at this rate. While Puss in Boots didn't bring anything new to the table, it was a solid, fun adventure flick in its own right that was free of all the pop culture joke stuff and the snarky attitude that defined the Shrek series.
So will a fifth Shrek continue the ogre's adventures? Or will it be that prequel that was planned nearly a decade ago?