WARNING: Spoilers for Child's Play 2019.
The ending of Child's Play leaves behind one classic question: how can Chucky still be alive? Directed by Lars Klevberg, MGM’s 2019 remake stays true to the original Child's Play premise but offers a timely narrative spin. The primary franchise characters remain the same, as Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) looks after her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) in Chicago, and purchases a doll that transforms into a killer. Mark Hamill replaces Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky, while Brian Tyree Henry steps into the shoes of Detective Mike Norris. Given the film’s tech-themed plot, Chucky has the ability to operate outside his body and control items that have been developed by Kaslan Products.
Tim Matheson portrays Henry Kaslan in Child’s Play, the CEO of Kaslan Products. As a Steve Jobs-like figure, this all-new character opens the film and explains the business model for the toy known as Buddi 1, and the pending introduction of five dolls known as Buddi 2. Whereas the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray brings Chucky to life in the original film, a Vietnam factory worker is responsible for Chucky's digital powers in Child's Play 2019, as the disgruntled Kaslan employee changes the doll’s personality settings before leaping to his death. So, Chucky is programmed to be violent, and later defends his “best buddy” Andy upon being immersed into the dysfunctional Barclay household. In a unique plot twist, Chucky trolls people with audio recordings in Child's Play, allowing for memorable and inventive kills. The doll is oddly both a murderer and a malicious documentarian, which makes Child’s Play especially relevant in how it references internet culture and dark web threats.
The original Child’s Play uses voodoo to explain Chucky’s actions, but the reboot takes a more practical approach by mixing the doll's motivations with technological glitches. When Andy discovers that Chucky killed his mother’s boyfriend, he tearfully sets up the doll and essentially organizes a technological hit. This precedes a crucial sequence, in which a tech-savvy apartment creep re-builds Chucky and learns that the doll connects to Kaslan Products. In terms of modern culture, this plays into the digital cloud concept: information can be deleted, but that doesn’t mean it goes away. Meaning, Andy should've been smarter about how he disposed of the Buddi doll. Because he didn't consider the technological aspect, he fueled Chucky's programmed inclinations to kill, or at least to please his main buddy. For much of Child's Play, Chucky is a work-in-progress as a killer/friend, evidenced by his bizarre reaction to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and how it affected Andy and his friends.
All of this leads to a finale where Chucky takes being Andy's friend (or buddy) to the end a little too literally. But does the killer doll survive Child's Play's ending?
Chucky Is "Killed" Multiple Times In Child's Play
Chucky’s first apparent death takes place at the Buddi 2 launch event. After systematically killing a store employee and terrorizing shoppers by manipulating in-store televisions and drones, Chucky takes control of new technology: a Buddi 2 bear. He’s soon beheaded, but it doesn’t really matter. As a character with advanced A.I., Chucky 2019 is similar to HAL from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or to cite modern internet lingo, he’s “extremely online” and connected. Of course, Andy doesn’t understand what appears to be a dark truth: Chucky can’t be killed, at least in the traditional sense via physical trauma. Furthermore, Chucky has the ability to shame people with secret recordings. That underlying horror apples to real life, and suggests that future Child's Play installments will capitalize on sociopolitical themes that Black Mirror so effectively incorporates into storylines.
In the Child’s Play climax, Chucky is once again “shut off,” but then makes an aerial attack on Andy and Karen. Unsurprisingly, Detective Norris shows up (after being injured by a razor-bladed drone during the Buddi 2 launch slaughter) and takes down Chucky with a gunshot. Soon after, Andy and his pals bash the doll to smithereens.
But once again, Child’s Play highlights modern technological developments for an important lesson about destroying evidence. Thirty years ago, Chucky was shot and left for dead, which didn’t turn out so well (evidenced by his re-emergence in Child's Play 2). Twenty years ago, the protagonists in Office Space (a comedy) smashed the hell out of a computer; a literal destruction of technology and a metaphorical act of rebellion. Back then, the moment felt purely comedic because the internet was still a relatively new thing, at least for the average moviegoer.
Now, in 2019, Chucky lives in a realm that most humans can’t fully understand. His very existence is based on recorded interactions with people, all in the name of a better "connection." When the script is flipped, though, and Chucky becomes more of a voyeur than a buddy, he's essentially an A.I. nightmare, especially if someone's on his bad side.
Chucky Is Somehow Back At The End Of Child's Play - How?
Child’s Play ends with Chucky back together and being re-packaged. One simple smirk and flash of his red eyes confirms this is the same model and implies that he’s already plotting a new series of murders. However, as creepy an ending as this may be, Child’s Play doesn’t exactly reveal what happened to him immediately after being smashed to pieces. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it leaves audiences speculating about the specifics, rather than complaining about overly explanatory filmmaking (that can come in a sequel).
Most likely, Chucky was able to upload his AI consciousness to another Buddi doll. It’s also possible that someone assembled his pieces, much like what happened in the original Child’s Play 2 (more than ahead). In Child's Play 2019, Chucky’s survival makes sense based on the collective events of the film. He’s not just a piece of plastic - his creation is much more complex. And if a Vietnamese employee of Kaslan Products could quickly alter the personality programming of a Buddi doll, it’s certainly possible that said doll could do the same on a larger scale, and with an acute understanding of the broader implications.
Will The Buddi 2 Help Chucky?
The final moments of Child’s Play reveal that Kaslan’s CEO decided to recall all Buddi 2 dolls. So, they’re off the shelves and not for sale. Theoretically, however, the technology lives somewhere; if a rogue Buddi 1 is still on the loose, how could the Buddi 2 dolls help Chucky?
The diversity of the Buddi 2 dolls means that Chucky has even more opportunities for covert operations. He’s already taken control of a Buddi 2 bear doll, so he could easily do the same with a Blonde, Ginger, or POC Buddi 2 doll. It really depends on who he targets next. If Chucky is savvy enough, he could create his own Buddi 2 posse. Or there may be a secret Buddi 2 doll that will be responsible for assisting Chucky in the future. After all, Kaslan’s CEO teases five Buddi 2 dolls, yet Child's Play only showed four, so don’t be surprised if a Bride of Chucky-like character becomes part of a future storyline in MGM’s Chucky universe.
Child's Play's Ending Totally Sets Up A Sequel
Child’s Play sets up a sequel, one that will undoubtedly be more complex and gory. The 2019 remake effectively demonstrates that Chucky can live online, and the Buddi 2 subplot will most likely be part of a new story about business, technology, and crime. As a genre film, Child’s Play hits all the right story beats with inventive kills, a few jump scares, and a smart script (not to mention the solid cast performances). But there’s so much more to explore given the artificial intelligence angle. Chucky could become a universal villain, at least if MGM really wants to expand the narrative worldwide.
Lastly, the Child’s Play end-credits tease an inevitable sequel via Hamill’s creepy interpretation of the Buddi song. Throughout the film, Chucky learns to embrace his abilities and ultimately accepts his villainous existence. Moving forward, fans can expect a more diabolical Chucky, an A.I. killer who takes great pride in his work a la Hamill's work on The Joker. Just the fact that Chucky can destroy lives by recording private moments make him an intriguing horror villain. And given that he’s got a flair for violent theatrics, the next Child’s Play film could indeed be a game-changer.