When Shrek was released in May 2001, few could have predicted how big a blow would be in tale about a tall, green, grumpy ogre who discovered his inner prince would eventually become. The animated film exceeded all box office expectations and decimated the records of The Lion King seven years earlier, finally with a whopping $ 491 million worldwide; A successful run that resulted in three sequels, including Shrek 2, The company raised $ 935 million worldwide in 2004, a spin-off, eight short films and three vacation specials. All in all that Shrek Franchising has led to an impressive $ 3.5 billion worldwide, and probably ten times more than merchandise sales alone.

The Shrek What we saw wasn’t the original vision for the film as Chris Farley was originally cast in the role. After 20 years of looking back, let’s take a look at all those involved and how different it could have turned out.

Dream works

At the time, DreamWorks Animation was struggling to keep up with Disney and Pixar. While the mouse house was busy making hits like Toy story, A bugs life, and Monster Inc., DreamWorks has stalled with me Antz, The Prince of Egypt, The way to El Dorado, and Chicken races – Sure, modest hits, but far from it Toy story.

So, despite its stellar cast and bouncing Smash Mouth soundtrack, Shrek was something of a gamble for the studio. A $ 60 million update to the classic fairy tale genre featuring a giant green ogre and a talking donkey based on an obscure 1990 children’s book, Shrek needed to be successful for the studio. Keep the following in mind: if Shrek failed, DreamWorks’ impending plan consisted of Geist: The stallion of the Cimarron ($ 122 million worldwide) and Sindbad: Legend of the Seven Seas ($ 80M WW). Shreks Success kept the animated studio afloat and enabled the team to run popular franchises such as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to train your dragon.

DreamWorks may not have fully folded, but you can easily tell the difference in the world beforehand Shrek and the world after Shrek.

Mike Myers

Shrek Chris Farley

Of course, there were many factors in the movie’s success, including most notably the main cast, which consisted of the then-scorching hot trio of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz. Myers was only a few years away from enormous success Austin Powers: The Spy Who Fucked Me;; Murphy saw a revival in his career in the family market The crazy professor and Dr. Dolittle Franchises, not to mention its twist into Disney’s animated hit Mulan;; while Diaz was a star on the rise thanks to roles in the hits, There’s something about Mary and Charlie’s angel, plus notable twists and turns in quirky dramas like Be John Malkovich and seditious fare like Oliver Stones Any Sunday.

In other words, the big three were lucrative draws and a unique marketing ploy that stood out at a time when it wasn’t used to overwriting animated dishes with giant stars – Tom Hanks and Robin Williams, who perhaps served as exceptions to the norm .

Myers, in particular, provided a unique take on Shrek by pronouncing him with the same Scottish accent he’d used for the villain Fat Bastard The spy who screwed me and that crazy dad in So I married an ax killer However, it was precisely this familiarity that likely made it possible to resonate with the audience that itched for more of Myers’ broad, youthful humor.

Chris Farley

Shrek Chris Farley

The popular Saturday Night Live comedian was originally supposed to speak for Shrek and even recorded a few lines alongside Murphy before his tragic death in 1997. In fact, you can see some of his work in the following player:

All of this to ask a basic, completely rhetorical question: would Shrek have been Shrek with Farley instead of Myers?

As you can see in the video above, the SNL star’s iteration of the green man was very different from Myers’. “Originally the Shrek character was a bit more like Chris, like a humble, awkward guy,” Myers explained USA today in 2015. “I always thought Shrek was raised in the working class, and since Lord Farquaad was played in English, I thought of Scottish.”

Indeed, Farley’s style oscillates between the lovable fool Tommy Boy and Matt Foley, motivational speaker, and doesn’t quite have the same impact as Myers’ rough, edgy approach.

Even Steven Spielberg sensed that Myers’ Accent, a controversial decision that resulted in nearly $ 4 million in animation changes to match the more outrageous style, greatly improved the movie. As a result of Myers, Shrek became a much bigger personality, which is ironic considering that Farley’s entire career is based on a similar style.

Another thing to consider, as mentioned above, was Myers in the midst of a hot period that only cooled off after the disaster Cat in hat two years later – he was still doing a murder Shreks Sequels, so don’t feel bad for the guy – while Farley didn’t get a hit after the one-two-three punch of Tommy Boy, Black sheep, and Beverly Hills Ninja 1995, 1996 and 1997, respectively. Remarkably, none of these films exceeded $ 37 million compared to the staggering $ 312 million raised by The spy who screwed me in 1999.

While Farley is still very much a public figure, one might also wonder if Farley’s star power was big enough to run a franchise like this Shrek. Even in the clip above, Farley’s somber tone is muffled under Murphy’s energetic performance. Perhaps with Farley as the counter, Murphy would have stolen the show the same way he did with Mulan.

Personally, I like to think Shrek This would have revitalized Farley’s career and opened the doors to larger family-friendly projects. He deserved the success that comedic greats like Robin Williams, Myers and Murphy had. At the ripe old age of 33, he was still young enough to change his trajectory and embark on a more unique career path.

Alternatively, maybe Shrek would have stalled at the box office and killed the franchise from the start. The filmmakers behind the cartoon obviously struggled with the main character until Myers got on board and gave Shrek a more robust and ultimately memorable personality after an unsuccessful Canadian accent.

Would Farley eventually come to the same conclusion after taking up his friendlier take on the character? Would the audience accept the film in a similar way?

Who knows. Suffice it to say, Shrek Starring Chris Farley would have resulted in a completely different movie and likely (for better or worse) changed the fortunes of DreamWorks Animation, Mike Myers, and animation films in general. Regardless, it’s a shame we’ll never get a chance to see the late comedian’s performance as the man was truly one of a kind.