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Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko director wants to ‘expand this universe’

Richard Kelly has teased plans to return the film’s world, 20 years after its release

It’s been 20 years since a demonic, six-foot rabbit told Jake Gyllenhaal that the world was going to end, and it seems that time has actually come. In 2021, as we navigate a global pandemic, climate crisis, and global political unrest, it makes sense that Donnie Darko’s writer and director has teased his plans to return to the film’s universe – ready for the impending apocalypse.

In an interview with NME, Richard Kelly revealed his hopes to develop the Donnie Darko world. “Hopefully we’ll have something to show people soon that will really blow everybody’s minds,” he said. “I hope to expand this universe.”

This isn’t the first time the filmmaker has teased a Donnie Darko sequel. In 2017, Kelly told film website Coming Soon: “I’m probably not allowed to say anything more than there has been an enormous amount of work completed. I’m hopeful that we might get to explore that world in a very big and exciting way. But we’ll see what happens. A lot of work has been done.”

A sequel to Donnie Darko, titled S. Darko, was released in 2009, but Kelly had no involvement in it. He told IGN at the time: “I haven’t read this script. I have absolutely no involvement with this production, nor will I ever be involved.” The film, which stars Donnie Darko actor Daveigh Chase, Ed Westwick, and James Lafferty, was widely panned by critics.

The original film follows Donnie Darko (Gyllenhaal), a teenager who has disturbing visions of his imaginary bunny friend, Frank, who manipulates him to commit crimes ahead of the world ending in just over 28 days.

In 2016, Dazed spoke to actor James Duval, who played Frank, to discuss his role as the demon rabbit who became the ultimate outsider symbol. You can read the feature here, and watch the trailer for Donnie Darko below.