“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is out in theaters now, and it calls back to its famous feline’s first screen appearances with Shrek, Fiona and Donkey in more ways than one.
It’s been quite awhile since there’s been a “Puss in Boots” entry (the first film came out in 2011), and the “Shrek” franchise, of which it’s a spinoff, hasn’t had a feature since 2010. As such, this new “Puss in Boots” has to not only work as a standalone film but prime the pump for the return of everyone’s favorite flatulent green ogre. (There is an as-yet-unannounced fifth “Shrek” film currently in development at DreamWorks).
That’s a lot of pressure for one little kitty’s shoulders!
“I wanted to bring as much truth to Puss’ world as possible. There’s this excitement. It’s so fun, the nostalgia of Shrek and to have these little cameos with characters from that world. But we were very cognizant of the fact that this is Puss in Boot’s movie. This is his journey,” director Joel Crawford told TheWrap. “And we didn’t want it to just be like, ‘Remember this character? Remember this one?’ It’s fun to get these little Easter eggs, but it doesn’t distract from Puss in Boots being back. There are so many possibilities within the story we already had and we didn’t want to throw anything else in.”
So what “Shrek” Easter eggs reside within “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish?” Read on to find out!
Major spoiler warning for “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.” Turn back if you haven’t already watched!
Gingerbread Man is seen in a flashback
Early in the movie, after Puss in Boots (once again voiced by Antonio Banderas) is killed after a giant bell crushes him, he goes to visit a doctor, who tells him that he’s reached the end of his nine lives. This triggers an ingenious (and macabre) series of flashbacks to Puss’ various deaths. One of these deaths involves himself and the Gingerbread Man from the “Shrek” movies cooking something in a giant oven. They open the oven and flames escape, presumably burning them both to death. We have to imagine the Gingerbread Man is an equally resilient fellow.
The Wicked Witch is an extra
After Puss gets the evaluation from his doctor, he leaves the room and passes by several people in the waiting room. Among them is The Wicked Witch who has been seen in several “Shrek” installments. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, but still connects the world of Puss to the larger “Shrek” universe.
Shrek and Donkey!
The main stars of the “Shrek” universe, Shrek and Donkey, are seen briefly during a sequence where Puss looks back on his life. As he’s reminiscing, there’s a brief shot of the three characters, silhouetted against a glowing moon, “Hakuna Matata”-style. It’s the only time you see the characters in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” but it’s just enough.
Pinocchio in Big Jack Horner’s flashback
But the stars of the “Shrek” franchise aren’t exclusive to Puss in Boots’ flashbacks. Pinocchio actually pops up in the story of Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney), the movie’s Big Bad. Again, the moment is very brief, but it’s still a thrill for longtime “Shrek” aficionados.
Heading to Far, Far Away
They saved the biggest Easter egg for last, as in the final moments of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” Puss, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and their new friend Perrito (Harvey Guillén from “What We Do in the Shadows”) hijack a ship and make their way to “see some old friends.” One of the final shots in the movie is the ship drifting towards Far, Far Away, the storybook land where Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and the rest of the gang reside.
Grand adventures await, no doubt – and that fifth “Shrek” installment surely looms ever closer.