Crystal Lake update: Is the Friday the 13th prequel series still happening?

After a huge creative shake-up, there's a question if Crystal Lake can go on. Is the Friday the 13th prequel series happening?
Friday the 13th. Image Courtesy Paramount Pictures, Shudder
Friday the 13th. Image Courtesy Paramount Pictures, Shudder /

There’s been some shakeup for the planned Crystal Lake TV show, so is the prequel to the Friday the 13th movies still happening? Here’s what we know!

Few horror movie franchises are as iconic as Friday the 13th. For decades, fans have relished in the tales of Jason Vorhees, the hockey-mask-wearing, seemingly indestructible monster who slashes and hacks his way through a bevy of teenagers over a dozen movies.

It’s sometimes forgotten that in the original Friday the 13th film, the big twist is that the killer isn’t Jason. It’s his mother, Betsy, who blamed the camp counselors for letting her son drown years ago. The final scene showed Jason seemingly alive, setting up the score of sequels.

The franchise has become part of pop culture and plenty of life in it. In 2022, A24 announced it was working with Peacock for Crystal Lake, a prequel series that promised to explore what happened to Jason and what drove Betsy to her crusade.

Many compared it to Bates Motel, the acclaimed show that was a prequel to Psycho. It would be produced by Bryan Fuller, no stranger to tackling a famous property with his Hannibal TV series with scripts by Kevin Williamson of Scream fame. They even got the original “final girl,” Adrienne King, to return. 

But in May 2024, it was confirmed that Fuller had left the series with him citing it as creative differences.  

"Adapting classic horror is something I have some experience with. These shows require a vision that elevates and transforms, as well as delivers what audiences have come to expect, which is an ambitious and risky endeavor. It requires people to take the leap with me. When it works, as with Hannibal, the results can be powerful for the storytellers and the audience. I couldn’t be more proud of the work my co-showrunner Jim Danger Gray and I were able to accomplish with our brilliant writing staff despite the challenges we faced. For reasons beyond our control, A24 has elected to go a different way with the material. We hope the final product will be something Friday the 13th fans all over the world will enjoy."

Williamson shared his own thoughts, which also teased the plans for the show.

"Bummin’ hard, so sorry I won’t be a part of what would  have been an epic Bryan Fuller show. Your pilot was so beautifully realized. A gorgeous portrait of a mother unraveling in her grief. Not to mention bloody horrific! I was so looking forward to our hour long chase episode!"

So, with the big showrunner and writer gone, is the show going on?

What’s happening with the Crystal Lake TV show?

Per Bloody Disgusting, despite the exits of Fuller and Williamson, it appears Peacock and A24 are still moving on with plans for Crystal Lake. It appears it was just creative differences between what Fuller had planned against what A24 wanted.

It is tricky adapting a famous work for a TV show, especially a prequel. Bates Motel managed to make it work well and Fuller did the same with Hannibal. Still, when one mentions Friday the 13th, the image is always Jason hunting down campers, not a psychological storyline of his mom coming apart.

There are worries about the possibility of retconning the Friday movies and trying to paint a sympathetic view of Jason. There’s also the chance of the show adding some pre-Jason killer who builds on the Crystal Lake legacy. As of now, A24 and Peacock still seem determined to go ahead with the show and try to ensure that Crystal Lake lives up to the legacy of the Friday the 13th films for some wild scares. 

Friday the 13th is streaming on Max.

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