In 2004, the horror film Saw, from director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before being released theatrically. It inspired a dedicated cult following that propelled the feature to massive pop culture success. The indie horror flick was followed by six more installments, with the most recent chapter of the series, Saw 3D, arriving in 2010 - though the original briefly returned to theaters for its 10th anniversary in 2014.
Still, despite the lackluster response to Saw 3D, Lionsgate began talk of another film in the franchise soon after its release. The studio was reportedly discussing a continuation of the series as recently as 2013, despite Whannell claiming he hadn't heard talk of another film. Now, though, it seems Lionsgate is moving forward properly on Saw 8.
The Tracking Board is reporting Lionsgate has brought in Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (Sorority Row, Piranha 3D) to pen the eighth installment of the horror franchise, titled Saw: Legacy. Details on the storyline - whether it will be a continuation, a reboot, or a prequel - are currently unclear, but Wan and Whannell will serve as executive producers on the film.
Of the seven films, Wan only directed the first, though he worked with Whannell on the story for both Saw and Saw III - with Whannell also writing the script for Saw II. Both remained involved in the franchise as executive producers, but went on to re-team for the Insidious series while Wan also helmed The Conjuring. Wan returned to the latter series for The Conjuring 2, which will hit theaters later this year, and is slated to direct the DC Extended Universe's Aquaman film thereafter.
The Saw franchise has never been exceptionally well-received by critics, but between each movie's small budget and the series' cult following, every film has been a commercial success; the franchise has made a total of $873 million on a combined estimated budget of $64 million. The box office potential and devoted following of the Saw films certainly provides incentive for Lionsgate to continue the series - especially considering the studio's underperforming releases of 2015.
However, although Wan and Whannell's Saw was original when it first introduced the series' main antagonist, Jigsaw, after seven installments the premise may be wearing a bit thin for some viewers. Still, there are plenty of horror franchises that continue on with a similar premise for a number of chapters and manage to entertain audiences. Of course, it's unclear how Saw: Legacy will fit into the franchise so it remains to be seen whether the eighth film will be a return to what fans know or a fresh entry to the series.
We’ll keep you updated on Saw: Legacy as development continues.
Source: The Tracking Board