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Friday the 13th Prequel Series Has the Rights to Jason Voorhees

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At this stage, it remains to be seen if Crystal Lake — Peacock’s upcoming Friday the 13th prequel series — with feature a hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding Jason Voorhees in some capacity. From a legal standpoint, however, such a prospect certainly seems to be on the table.

Variety recently reported that Crystal Lake was in the works at Peacock, with Hannibal developer and Star Trek: Discovery co-creator Bryan Fuller attached to serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer. As noted by Bloody Disgusting, an update to Variety‘s story reveals that Crystal Lake is also being executive produced by both Rob Barsamian, the president, treasurer and secretary of Horror, Inc; and Victor Miller, the writer of the original Friday the 13th film from 1980. This is of note, as Horror, Inc. holds the rights to the elements of the franchise that Miller doesn’t already own — rights that were previously believed to reside exclusively with original Friday the 13th director Sean S. Cunningham.

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This would imply that Peacock’s Crystal Lake is free to feature a villainous, adult Jason Voorhees, hockey mask and all. While the prequel series’ inclusion of the young Jason featured in the original Friday the 13th seemed like a foregone conclusion — given the fact that Miller owns the rights to the movie’s screenplay in the United States as of 2018 — the rights to the grown-up, hockey mask-wearing Jason were owned by Cunningham. Hence, why the franchise has been in a state of limbo for so long.

All that being said, the silver bullet came when Fuller was asked which characters and locations Crystal Lake would be able to use during an interview with Fangoria. “Everything. We can use everything. We can go to Hell, we can go to space. That’s not to say that we will do those things… although if we do go 10 seasons, I will be lobbying hard to go to space,” he said.

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The Man Behind the Mask Is (Potentially) Back

“A24 and Marc Toberoff, who is Victor Miller’s lawyer, have beautifully and excruciatingly assembled all of the Friday the 13th rights,” Fuller continued. “As a streaming series, we have the rights to do everything underneath the Friday the 13th umbrella. The movie rights are a completely different thing. They are tied up at New Line and are super, super messy and probably won’t be untangled anytime soon, but as far as us chickens in the television industry, uh, roost, we have access to anything and everything that Friday the 13th has done up until this point.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Fuller was asked directly if Jason Voorhees would factor into Peacock’s Crystal Lake. “I wouldn’t count Jason out,” he said. When pressed regarding if he meant the young Jason from the original film or the masked killer fans are most familiar with, Fuller said, “I think over the course of the series you will see many familiar manifestations of Jason!”

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Friday the 13th Is Finally Returning to Screens

Fuller was also asked how far back in the Friday the 13th timeline Crystal Lake would begin. “I don’t think I’m allowed to say just yet, but I would say it’s less a prequel series than a… pre-remake-uel series.” When asked to elaborate, the writer said he is not yet at liberty to reveal what exactly “pre-remake-uel” means.

Featuring the young Jason’s grieving mother, Pamela Voorhees, as its villainous serial killer, the original Friday the 13th released in 1980. Jason himself became the franchise’s villain starting with the 1981 sequel Friday the 13th Part 2, and first donned his now-iconic hockey mask in 1982’s Friday the 13th Part III. Jason subsequently served as the antagonist of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) and the space-faring Jason X (2001). While his influence loomed large in the film, Jason did not physically appear in 1985’s Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

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Following Jason X, the character of Jason Voorhees appeared in the 2003 film Freddy vs. Jason, a crossover between the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. Jason’s final big-screen appearance to date came in the 2009 reboot film Friday the 13th. Interestingly, Peacock’s Crystal Lake will not be the franchise’s first foray into television, as Friday the 13th: The Series aired on first-run syndication from 1987 to 1990. However, that TV show did not feature Jason Voorhees in any capacity.

Source: Variety; Bloody Disgusting; Fangoria

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