Update 11/1 at 4pm: In an interview with Fangoria, Bryan Fuller seems to have clarified that the Crystal Lake series can use “everything” from the Friday the 13th franchise, including Jason’s iconic hockey mask, though any potential movies that New Line makes may have to contend with that issue. Our original story is below.
It may be October but Peacock is already thinking about summer camp, as the streamer has ordered a Friday the 13th prequel series titled Crystal Lake that hails from writer Bryan Fuller and A24.
Released in 1980, the original Friday the 13th movie followed a group of counselors at Camp Crystal Lake who are picked off one by one 22 years after a young camper named Jason Voorhees drowned to death. Though many (including Drew Barrymore‘s character in Scream) mistakenly assume that Jason is the killer in Friday the 13th, he doesn’t actually pop up (pun intended) until the very end of the movie, while the character’s trademark hockey mask didn’t make an appearance until the third film in the franchise.
The original Friday the 13th grossed nearly $60 million against a reported budget of just $550,000, so naturally, the hit film spawned a sea of sequels, as well as a series, though it didn’t have any connection to the Jason Voorhees storyline.
Fuller, who will also serve as showrunner and executive producer, is keeping plot details under wraps for now, though the series is described as an “expanded prequel.” Victor Miller, who wrote the original F13 movie, will also executive produce along with Marc Toberoff, Rob Barsamian, and A24, the latter of which serves as the studio behind Crystal Lake.
“I discovered Friday the 13th in the pages of Famous Monsters magazine when I was 10 years old and I have been thinking about this story ever since,” Fuller said in a statement. “When it comes to horror, A24 raises the bar and pushes the envelope and I’m thrilled to be exploring the campgrounds of Crystal Lake under their banner. And Susan Rovner is simply the best at what she does. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be working with her again.”
“Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic horror franchises in movie history and we were dying to revisit this story with our upcoming drama series Crystal Lake,” added Rovner, the chairman of entertainment content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We can’t wait to get to work with Bryan Fuller, a gifted, visionary creator who I’ve had the pleasure of being a longtime friend and collaborator, along with our incredible partners at A24, in this updated version for Peacock that will thrill long-standing fans of the franchise.”
A lengthy legal battle played out behind the scenes before Peacock could announce this series, as Miller sought to take back the rights to his original screenplay, which his lawyer Toberoff argued was a “work for hire.” An appeals court ruled in Miller’s favor in 2021, giving him back the U.S. rights to the script (notable in that Peacock is only available in the U.S.) as well as the characters within, including Jason Voorhees. However, recognizable elements that were later introduced to the franchise, such as Jason’s iconic hockey mask, cannot be used, which may be why the prequel route made more sense.
Either way, I’m very curious about this series, as I like what A24 has done on the television side of the business, and I loved the way Fuller approached his Hannibal series. He put a new twist on an “old friend,” and if he has been thinking about the Friday the 13th story since he was a kid, then I have faith it’s in good hands. Fuller is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.