The Saw 10 announcement sent fans of the franchise on a social media frenzy after Production Weekly erroneously listed Atomic Monster as one of the film’s producers. James Wan, who co-created the first Saw with The Invisible Man’s Leigh Whannell, founded Atomic Monster Productions in 2014 and with the exception of this year’s Spiral, has been contributing (in some capacity) to the franchise as executive producer for the past eight films. Fans of the original Saw are understandably eager for his creative involvement in future movies. Bloody Disgusting’s Brad Miska confirms this to be a mistake, however. James Wan is not actively developing Saw 10.
With eight films so far and a ninth, Spiral: From The Book of Saw, hitting theaters on May 14, Saw is one of those franchises that just keeps on giving. You might say it’s the Pirates of the Caribbean of horror films, the spiritual successor of equally prolific multi-film slashers such as Friday the 13th, Scream, Final Destination, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. As long as the market exists, there will always be fresh installments. Still, sequels aren’t usually given the go-ahead prior to a film’s release. A Saw 10 being announced before the ninth film comes out is pretty bold. Studios are inherently entrepreneurial and would rather wait to see how a movie performs, critically and financially, before officially greenlighting a sequel. But not Saw.
Before Saw 10 happens though, there is Saw 9 to deal with. The latest of Jigsaw’s reality-defining challenges, Spiral: From The Book of Saw, tells the story of Zeke Banks, a police detective investigating a new case that’s strangely reminiscent of the Jigsaw murders. Comedian Chris Rock plays Banks, while The Handmaid’s Tale’s Max Minghella plays his partner, William Schenk. Samuel L. Jackson plays a senior cop in the force. Originally pitched by Chris Rock, Spiral is marketed as a soft reboot of the Saw franchise, featuring the writing talents of Jigsaw’s Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger. Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV, returns as director. The film was originally scheduled for a Spring 2020 release but had to be pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saw 10 is the culmination of a very small independent attempt at making a horror movie. Saw is the brainchild of Australian writers/directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who met and worked together in film school. Inspired by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s The Blair Witch Project and Darren Aronofsky’s Pi, the duo shot a low-budget 9 minute and 44-second short film over a period of two days on a 16mm camera, which would eventually become Saw 0.5, the basis for the first Saw. The story was considerably more compact, about a man named David (played by Whannell due to budget constraints) trying to escape a locked room and release his head from a bear trap. This would later become the iconic scene in 2004’s Saw, with David being switched out for Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young. Wan derived the title from a diary entry, while the concept of Jigsaw came relatively later, as an indirect result of Whannell’s migraines. Whannell had reportedly gone in for an MRI and was convinced his migraines were from a brain tumor. He began to contemplate life and death in the same way John Kramer has in the series. Fair to say the film has come a long way since then.