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Don Mancini Snuck a Delightful Casper Reference In Season 3 of Chucky

Series creator Don Mancini couldn't help but include a nod to Devon Sawa's Hollywood career while working on Chucky Season 3.

By Chris Phelan

Full-circle homages don't come along too often in unrelated Hollywood projects. Still, fans of a particular 1995 childhood classic will be happy to know that the masterminds behind Chucky couldn't let a cheeky easter egg opportunity pass them by, even if it was very subtle.

How to Watch

Watch Chucky on the USA app and Peacock.

Long before his memorable role as President James Collins, Devon Sawa played the title character in the 1995 cult hit Casper alongside Christina Ricci. We've already gone on the record saying the film still holds up in 2024 and is an "easy watch in its own right." Although Sawa only saw a few moments of screen time as a "real boy" in the film, his 1995 role was memorable enough to influence the Hollywood visual effects industry – and eagle-eyed viewers saw this during multiple points in Chucky Season 3 Part 2.

It's been a wild ride – all of Season 3 has arguably overshadowed everything that's happened in the first two seasons of Chucky – but we always told ourselves if we had the opportunity to corner the star of Casper and the man responsible for the success of modern-day Chucky, we'd ask them the question everybody wants to know. 

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Fortunately, we recently got that opportunity.

Was Devon Sawa'sRole in 1995's Casper Referenced in Chucky?

Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) stands in a red-lit hallway in Chucky Episode 306.

SYFY WIRE caught up with Devon Sawa and Chucky creator Don Mancini and – certainly fueled by recently re-watching Casper on Peacock – we asked them point-blank: Will fans see any references to Sawa's ghostly acting roots in Season 3 Part 2 of Chucky?

Devon Sawa clearly didn't think two projects nearly 30 years apart would feature anything that linked them together.

"I don't think you'll see a Casper reference," Sawa quickly pointed out, seemingly unaware of what Don Mancini was about to reveal. 

But in a nice little show of respect to the actor, Mancini admitted that wasn't the case, although there was no way Sawa would've noticed during filming anyway. The mastermind behind Chucky admitted that, through the magic of post-production, they were able to work a little Casper easter egg into Chucky after all. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed the ghosts inhabiting the White House in the latest Season 3 episodes have had a decidedly throwback look – and that's no accident.

"In the finale, when the ghosts of Washington, Nixon, Dolly Madison, and Lincoln are coming to get him, the ghosts have a bit of a glow," he explained. "In [the world of visual effects], we call it the 'Casper Glow' – you know, just that kind of telltale glow."

So, while there's no overt references to Casper in the show, like many things Mancini creates, there's a loving reference visually to the iconic film. It's part homage, part the impact that Casper had on the visual effects of ghosts in all of film and TV, part delight. 

What is Chucky's Homage to Devon Sawa's Role in Casper?


Fans of Casper – live-action, animated, or otherwise – are intimately familiar with the art direction surrounding the Casper character. The subtle, warm glow that seemingly floats and resonates around the ghost is nearly as iconic as Casper himself. 

"We gave that to [Brad Dourif's] Chucky as well at the end of Episode 6 after the nuclear explosion," Mancini continued. "It was like, 'How do we up the ante here?' Well, here's Brad Dourif and we gave him the Casper Glow. So in a way, behind the scenes, that was our homage to Devon."

Ultimately, it was Mancini's way of tipping his cap to the illustrious career of Devon Sawa, who at one point was found on more teenage bedroom walls than Michael Jordan. (It also helps that the Casper Glow undoubtedly looks visually fantastic on modern televisions and screens.)

So there you have it, Chucky fans. Despite its widely different subject matter, tone, and, well, general attitude toward murder, the show still managed to shoehorn a well-deserved easter egg highlighting one of its stars' best-known roles. How cool is that?

Ultimately, it's just another reason to add to the ever-growing list of reasons why the Chucky revival has been one of television's best stories of the 2020s. 

Catch new episodes of Chucky on USA and SYFY.

Reporting by Stephanie Gomulka

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