Clark Collis
December 06, 2017 AT 11:00 AM EST

Everyone loves Gizmo in Gremlins (and if you don’t, then you are a fiend). But would the cute critter be anywhere near as popular if he transformed into the film’s villain?

In a recent Q&A, Gremlins director Joe Dante talked about how the beloved Mogwai was originally supposed to turn into the leader of the gremlins — until a certain Steven Spielberg made a suggestion.

“We invented a way to get Gizmo to move,” Dante told fellow filmmaker Mike Williamson. “But the problem was that Gizmo was supposed to, in the original script, turn into Stripe, the bad Gremlin, after about 20 minutes, and that was they that we planned to do the movie…But Steven Spielberg got it into his head, after seeing all of our tests with Gizmo, that he liked Gizmo so much that he said, ‘You know, we really shouldn’t get rid of him, he should stick around and be the hero’s pal for the entire picture.’ Which was terrifying for us, because we were about four weeks away from shooting, and we had no idea how to make this puppet, which was really small, carry a movie, and be a character, basically.”

You can check out the full clip above. But how can you see and hear more of Mr. Dante’s reminiscences? Good question — and one to which we have the answer! From Dec. 8 through Dec. 26, hundreds of theaters are hosting “Gremlins Rule Breakers” events, which will feature both the classic horror-comedy and the Q&A with the director. You can find a full list of participating theaters at the Gremlins Rule Breakers website.

Warner Bros.

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