70 Trivia Facts About the ‘Leprechaun’ Franchise
Have you ever wondered what would happen if a vampire bit the leprechaun? The could’ve-been sequel Vamprechaun would’ve explored the answer to that question in the most chaotic way possible. Instead of biting your neck, the Vamprechaun would bite your ankles. Seriously.
Production company Trimark Pictures struck gold when they released Leprechaun in 1993. Despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics, the campy Little Slasher That Could turned its $1 million budget into a domestic gross of $8.6 million. Several sequels (and one reboot) later, the now franchise centering a sadistic leprechaun who’ll kill anyone standing between him and his gold has gained cult status. Here are 70 facts about the Leprechaun franchise.
Table of Contents
A cereal commercial inspired ‘Leprechaun’ (1993)
- A Lucky Charms cereal commercial inspired Mark Jones to write Leprechaun. Other inspirations include the horror/sci-fi comedy, Critters (1986).
- The Scooby-Doo animated television series’ central gang inspired the character archetypes of the first film’s main crew.
Differences in the script
3. Leprechaun was Trimark’s first feature theatrical release.
4. In earlier script drafts, the Leprechaun was less comical and more horrific, thanks partly to Jones’ prior research into the mythical creatures’ lore.
5. Jones said that the Leprechaun’s name is Basil, not Lubdan Buttowski. He blames the comic book series for the mix-up and doesn’t understand why they didn’t speak with him first. Also, he said that a circus wagon would’ve revealed the Leprechaun’s name in a previously planned, unfilmed scene.
Another actress almost slayed the role of Tory
6. Leprechaun was Jennifer Aniston’s film debut and predated her role as Rachel on the widely successful television sitcom series Friends (1994-2004).
7. Trimark initially offered Aniston’s role of Tory Redding to Kristy Swanson, who’d recently starred in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) movie.
8. The studio wanted Aniston to dye her hair blonde. Jones, feeling otherwise, told her not to bother. Following Jones’ instruction, Aniston skipped the dye, showed up on the first day as usual, and no one said anything about it.
9. Aniston rarely spoke of her role in the first film, which Warwick Davis chided her for in interviews. Later, Aniston revealed embarrassment and fear that her career wouldn’t have survived her decision to be in the movie.
‘Leprechaun’ without Warwick Davis?
10. Auditions for the Leprechaun weren’t fruitful, so casting director Lisa London recommended Warwick Davis. Davis was under contract with George Lucas via Willow (1988), with a potential sequel on the way. Leprechaun’s team gave special thanks to Lucas in the credits.
11. Speaking of special thanks, Vice President Dan Quayle also received one in the credits for expediting Davis’ visa. Davis is a British actor.
12. Upon joining the project, Davis helped create the creature we see today by adding more humor to the role.
Magic on set
13. It took Gabe Bartalos three hours to apply Davis’ Leprechaun makeup and forty minutes to remove it. Until then, Bartalos’ makeup credits included Fright Night Part 2 (1988) and Frankenhooker (1990). In 2021, he worked on a zombie horse for Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead.
14. Bartalos makes a small cameo; you can see him behind Aniston in the cafe scene. Jones was seated at the counter wearing a trucker’s hat.
15. To pull off the wheelchair chase scene, Aniston ran in slow motion. Davis struggled with the controls, so they sped up his scenes.
16. Davis mainly performed all of his stunts. Doubles include Deep Roy (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Tony Cox (Bad Santa). Cox shows up and is credited as the “African-American Leprechaun” in Leprechaun 2 (1994).
‘Leprechaun 2’ (1994): Some firsts, some lasts
17. Leprechaun 2’s alternate title is One Wedding and Lots of Funerals.
18. The casting crew considered Denise Richards (The World Is Not Enough, Starship Troopers) for the role of Bridget, his new love interest and descendant of a bride he courted a century prior. Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), was another rumored consideration for the role.
19. Warwick Davis has alluded to a pay increase as the primary motivator for returning.
20. This sequel is the last film in the franchise to have a theatrical release until Leprechaun Origins (2014).
21. This sequel is the only film in the franchise set on St. Patrick’s Day.
‘Leprechaun 3’ (1995) welcomes a new director
22. Davis liked Leprechaun 3 the most out of the franchise thanks to the film’s comedic elements and new director Brian Trenchard-Smith.
23. Have you seen Night of the Demons 2 (1994)? It’s another directorial project from Trenchard-Smith, hence the following cameos in Leprechaun 3: Merle Kennedy and Zoe Trilling–who played Mouse and Shirley Finnerty in Night of the Demons 2, respectively–are “Blackjack Girls” in Leprechaun 3. Rod McCary plays Father Bob and dresses up as a priest in both.
24. Despite being set in Las Vegas, they only had one night to film on location.
25. Did you notice Warwick Davis playing the slot machine out of his Leprechaun makeup? As Scott (John Gatins) enters the casino for the first time, you can see Davis seated at the end of the row.
26. It’s Trenchard-Smith’s signature on Scott’s check.
27. Leprechaun 3 is 1995’s most financially successful straight-to-video release and the franchise’s first time doing one.
28. Earlier considerations for this sequel included Leprechaun 3D.
29. The crew and cast took two weeks to film, including reshoots of scenes filmed during Leprechaun 2 due to rumored plot changes.
The Bride and Trial of Leprechaun?
30. There are rumors that the second and third Leprechaun installments were originally The Bride of Leprechaun and The Trail of Leprechaun, respectively. This one-two punch would’ve given us a different plot, including our favorite Leprechaun possessing people.
‘Leprechaun 4: In Space’ (1997): An ‘Apollo 13’ mockbuster?
31. Dave Tripet, the executive in charge of production for the first three movies, revealed that Leprechaun 4: In Space was originally a spoof of Apollo 13 (1995). Trimark commissioned an artist to replace Tom Hank’s face on the Apollo 13 poster with the Leprechauns, and they immediately started on the script.
32. Speaking of Tripet, there’s a character named Deputy Tripet in Leprechaun (1993) –coincidence?
33. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith stayed on for this project but ended up disappointed by the special effects, calling them worse than the first PlayStation.
34. Remember Doom, the first-person shooter for PC in the early 90s? Leprechaun 4 used the video game’s elevator sounds for (opening and closing) doors.
35. The casting crew considered Erick Avari (Stargate, The Mummy) for the role of Dr. Mittenhand.
36. Remember Tony Cox from the first two movies? He and Davis played Ewoks, among other roles across the Star Wars franchise.
37. This sequel references Star Wars several times including having Millenium Falcons painted on the Dropship’s walls and the Leprechaun’s lightsaber.
38. The Leprechaun is never referred to as such in this installment. Instead, he’s called an alien, monster, etc.
‘Leprechaun 5: In the Hood’ (2000): Trimark’s last hoorah
39. Leprechaun 5: In the Hood was Trimark’s last installment to the franchise.
40. Rob Spera (Criminal Minds, Supernatural) replaces Brian Trenchard-Smith, who directed the two previous installments.
41. Spera moved the Leprechaun’s rap scene from earlier in the film to the finale.
42. Hip-hop emcee and actor Ice-T (Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit) said yes to his role as Mack Daddy because his son was a franchise fan. Afterward, he recalls his time filming fondly and considers Warwick Davis a legend.
‘Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood’ (2003): Warwick Davis’ last hoorah
43. After six movies, this was Warwick Davis’ last time donning the emerald green robes. Heading out in style, he’s given a more demonic wardrobe for this film.
44. Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood is the only entry where we see the Leprechaun’s feet.
45. Initially, the setting of the sixth installment would’ve been an island during Spring Break. However, the previous “hood” installment’s performance motivated them to return.
46. Steven Ayromlooli replaces Rob Spera, who directed the previous installment.
47. This standalone sequel is the first in the franchise to be released by Lionsgate.
‘Leprechaun: Origins’ (2014): Reboot or nah?
48. Whether or not Leprechaun: Origins is related to the previous installments isn’t clear. While most sources refer to it as “the seventh film in the Leprechaun film series” and a “reboot,” others do not.
49. Dylan Post plays the Leprechaun. However, this installment’s version is more feral and inspired by subterranean mole rats. Post hadn’t seen any of the previous films.
50. Director Zach Lipovsky was not a fan of the previous films, which led to a “scarier” interpretation.
51. If this is related to the previous installments, it would have the worse reviews and ratings of the entire franchise.
‘Leprechaun Returns’ (2018): Aniston’s olive branch
52. Leprechaun Returns directly follows the first Leprechaun and ignores the other installments.
53. Linden Porco replaces Warwick Davis (and Dylan Post) as the Leprechaun.
54. Warwick Davis was offered a chance to return but declined because he took a break from horror until his youngest son reached 18.
55. Steven Kostanski (The Void) directs for the first time in the franchise.
56. Mark Holton returns to play as Ozzie.
57. Lionsgate tried to contact Jennifer Aniston to reprise her role as Tory Redding, but she didn’t return. According to the actress, no one asked her or her former costars to return for the previous installments.
58. The Tory voiceover is not Aniston; it is Heather McDonald (White Chicks). Check out the following video to see her skills:
59. Aniston congratulated Kotanski for continuing the Leprechaun’s original story.
60. Did you notice that the sorority’s name, Alpha Upsilon, is AU? That’s the abbreviation for gold on the periodic table.
The Leprechaun comic book series
61. The Lionsgate Films Presents: Leprechaun comic book series ran for four issues, Written by Zach Hunchar and Art by Kris Carter.
62. The comic book series reveals the Leprechaun’s name as Lubdan, the “king and sole survivor of the Leprechaun.” The summary explains that a modern-day treasure dealer stumbles across the Leprechaun’s pot of gold, steals it, and resells the shillings online, which means they could be anywhere.
‘Leprechaun’ sequels that could have been
63. Leprechaun 5 was almost about the Leprechaun taking over the White House. After filming Leprechaun 4: In The Hood, Brian Trenchard-Smith pitched the idea. However, Trimark thought it was too outlandish (go figure).
64. A nameless project would have seen Warwick Davis dressing up as the Leprechaun’s wife and on a hunt for her gold-obsessed beau.
65. Davis once floated the idea of a sequel focused on the Leprechaun’s nuclear family.
66. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a vampire bit the leprechaun? The could’ve-been sequel Vamprechaun would’ve explored the answer to that question in the most chaotic way possible. Instead of biting your neck, the Vamprechaun would bite your ankles. Seriously.
67. Leprechaun: Gold Rush? This sequel (which was never officially titled) would focus on the Leprechaun setting his sights on the Wild West.
68. We almost had Candyman vs. Leprechaun, a horror crossover similar to Freddy vs. Jason (2003). However, Tony Todd, who played Candyman, immediately rejected the idea.
69. Leprechaun vs. Wishmaster was another rumored potential crossover.
70. Mark Jones had an idea of a Leprechaun TV miniseries where Basil would travel across the country for his gold.