Gizmo & His Rambunctious Brethren Are Back in the Teaser for Max’s Animated ‘Gremlins’ Prequel Series

a closeup of Gizmo the Mogwai smiling with his arms wide open as if about to hug in a scene from the animated family series
Amblin Television/Warner Bros. Animation/

Nearly four years after it was first announced by WarnerMedia (eventually Warner Bros. Discovery) in July 2019 — which was almost a year before Warner’s HBO Max streaming service debuted in late May 2020 — Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai has been given a premiere date.

The series will premiere Tuesday, May 23, 2023, on Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s new enhanced streaming service that is combining HBO Max and discovery+ and adding a number of new projects. It is also expected to air as part of Cartoon Network‘s ACME Night programming block.

Secrets of the Mogwai is an animated family adventure set in a “world of magic and mythology” that serves as a prequel to the beloved 1984 horror comedy Gremlins and its 1990 follow-up, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The series goes back to 1920s Shanghai, where the Wing family first meets the young Mogwai called Gizmo.

A transformed gremlin -- short, squat, green, with batlike ears and sharp claws -- reaches out as if leaping toward a character standing where the camera and viewers are, in a scene from the trailer for the series "Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai"

Oh, dear. Who got Gizmo wet again? (Amblin Television/Warner Bros. Animation/

There, 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing, who was portrayed by Keye Luke in the Gremlins movies, and is voiced here by Izaac Wang) accepts the dangerous task of taking Gizmo home and embarks on a journey through the Chinese countryside.

Sam and Gizmo are joined by a teenage street thief named Elle (Gabrielle Nevaeh Green), and together, they encounter — and sometimes battle — colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. Along their quest, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil gremlins.

Max also released this official teaser for the series, featuring scenes that do seem to live up to the series’ promise of colorful monsters and spirits, and not only among the gremlins:

It looks cute and cool, and appropriately scary in spots but not overly so (given the family-friendly nature of Secrets of the Mogwai, it’s unlikely that you’ll see anything like the scenes that had Gremlins really pushing its PG-rating to the limit, such as gremlins being chopped up in a mixer and exploded in a microwave).

In the teaser, you can also hear the recognizable voice of always-awesome, legendary character actor James Hong — still hard at work in the industry as he enters his mid 90s — as Sam’s grandfather, who instantly recognizes a Mogwai for what it is when he sees it, and is understandably a little concerned.

Sure enough, the teaser also shows a bit of what longtime Gremlins fans know happens when a Mogwai gets wet, and the darker gremlins are spawned.

several green-bodied, red-eyed gremlins laughing diabolically as they gather around a seeming leader of the group in a scene from the teaser for the animated series "Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai"

(Amblin Television/Warner Bros. Animation/

The voice cast also features Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Matthew Rhys and AJ LoCascio.

Zach Galligan, who played Billy Peltzer in the Gremlins films, will be a recurring guest star among the voice cast (given the story is set about 60 years before Gremlins, it’s unlikely he’ll be playing Billy … but who knows what can happen in a world of magic?).

Also among the guest voices are Sandra Oh, Randall Park, George Takei and Bowen Yang.

Amblin Television, the TV arm of Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Entertainment, which produced the original movies with Warner Bros., is also producing Secrets of the Mogwai along with Warner Bros. Animation. Tze Chun (Gotham) is showrunner and an executive producer with Spielberg, Sam Register and others.

Joe Dante, who directed Gremlins and Gremlins 2, is a consulting producer.

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai premieres Tuesday, May 23, 2023, on Max, the same day the enhanced streaming service launches.