Zach Galligan talks return to 'Gremlins' in 'Secret of the Mogwai,' avoids Baby Yoda-Gizmo controversy

Zach Galligan kicked off his movie career in memorable fashion as Billy, the young man who unwittingly unleashes hell on his quaint Pennsylvania town after mismanaging the adorable creature he receives from his dad in the 1984 horror-comedy favorite Gremlins. Galligan reprised the role in the less-appreciated 1990 sequel, Gremlins: The New Batch.

And as announced at San Diego Comic-Con Friday, Galligan, 58, will return to the Gremlins Cinematic Universe (GCU), playing a still-unannounced role (it’s highly unlikely that it's Billy) in the animated HBO Max prequel series Gremlins: The Secret of the Mogwai. Other cast members for the series, which traces the origins of Mr. Wing, the Chinatown man who “sells” the adorable mogwai Gizmo to Billy’s dad, include Sandra Oh, George Takei, Randall Park and Bowen Yang.

“It’s been an incredibly long time, Gremlins 2 came out in 1990, so you’re talking 30 years exactly when I got the gig [in 2020],” Galligan tells us during an interview at Comic-Con (watch above).

“I just think it’s a really logical extension of the mythology.”

Galligan never lost touch with Joe Dante, the director of Gremlins and Gremlins: The New Batch, who also serves as a consultant on The Secret of the Mogwai.

“Joe and I probably email each other every couple months,” he says. “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 well-received at the time. And he sent me a rave review with just three words: ‘Vindicated at last.’”

GREMLINS, Zach Galligan, Gizmo, 1984, (c)Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection
Zach Galligan in Gremlins. (Photo: Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection) (©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

But Galligan does not care to choose sides when it comes to recent headlines made by his friend Dante as the director called out The Mandalorian’s pint-size Force wielder Grogu, aka "Baby Yoda," arguing the creature was “completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied” from Gizmo.

“I’m staying out of this one,” he says. “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. It’s not something I really want to stick my nose in… There’s no benefit to wading into that.”

Prior to Dante’s comments, Galligan had at least called Gizmo the cuter feature creature.

“I’m always gonna say Gizmo’s cuter, because that’s my buddy.”

— Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jimmie Rhee

Gremlins: The Secret of the Mogwai will premiere in 2023.