Shrek’s 20th Anniversary: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About The Film (2023)

In the spring of 2001, DreamWorks releasedits computer-animated movie,Shrek. The movie revolves around a terrifying-looking ogre who is on the verge of losing his beloved swamp after Lord Farquaad sends unwanted mythical creatures out of his city and to Shrek's land. Shrek then goes onto make a deal with Lord Farquaad to get his peaceful swamp back, making friends along the way.

RELATED: Everything We Know About Shrek 5So Far

The animation and premise ofShrek were a hit, makingitone of the most successful animated comedies to date. The original film just passed its 20th anniversary and a fifth Shrek movie is set to release in 2022.With the passing of the 20th anniversary, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes tidbits that fans don't know about this beloved movie.

Shrek Is Based On A Children's Book

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BeforeShrek became one of the best movies of the 2000s, it wasactually based on the children's bookShrek! by William Steig.

The book was released in 1990 andaccording to its Amazon description, was "about an ordinary ogre who leaves his swampy childhood home to go out and see the world." The movie is obviously altered slightly from the book but Shrek's appearance and ending withPrincess Fiona are the same.

Some Of The Actors Never Met Each Other While Recording

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With great characters and funny quotes, fans can assume that filming Shrekwas a fun time. With comedians and actors like Mike Meyers, Cameron Diaz,and Eddie Murphy voicing Shrek's characters,the moviehad an iconic line-up of funny talent.


But according toParade, the actors didn't record together. "They all read their parts separately," the source wrote. This meant that all of the banter between Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona were done on separate days, so the cast likely didn't mingle all that much.

Children Weren't Fond Of Princess Fiona In The Test Screening

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Being a DreamWorks movie,Fiona differs from the typical Disney princess. At the start of animatingShrek, animators found out that audiences didn't resonate with the original Fiona theyhad designed.

According toNPR, animators "re-imagined Princess Fiona as a slightly more cartoony-looking love interest" after audiences felt she was too human-like compared to Shrek. They then shiftedher as more cartoonish and it worked.

Someone Else Was Supposed To Voice Shrek

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(Video) 'Shrek' Turns 20: A Look Back on the Franchise | What Happened To

One thing that some fans may not know about Shrekis that legendary comedian andSNL star, Chris Farley, was set to voice Shrek. He even recorded most of Shrek's dialogue for the film. In 1997, however, the comedian died unexpectedly, leaving DreamWorks at a loss for how to move forward withthe character.

According toInsider, creators asked Farley's friend and fellow comedian, Mike Meyers, to take his role and re-do the vocals for Shrek. Meyers signed on and the rest was history.

Shrek Took A Long Time To Complete

Shrek is a 90-minute film that took four and a half years to complete, according toParade. Aside from Shrek'sfunny quotes and witty comebacks, the most difficult part aboutShrek was animating every scene.

The characters, multiple locations, and action scenes had to be realistic enough for computer and clay animation, taking years to complete. The same can be said for the second, third, and fourth movies.

The Original Princess Fiona Was Fired

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Princess Fiona is one of Cameron Diaz's best roles. She's fierce, confident, and independent. However, Cameron wasn't the film's first actress for Fiona.What Culture noted that comedian Janeane Garofalo signed on for the role of Fiona, but without reasoning, was fired.

RELATED:10 Best Cameron Diaz Movies, According To IMDb

They brought Diaz in once Mike Meyer's signed on, so it's possible that DreamWorks redirected the characters' personalities after Meyers was hired — leading to the firing of Garofalo.

A Few Days Of Voice Work, Years Of Animation

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Now that fans know that the voice actors didn't record together, it turns out that recording didn't take very long either. During an interview with Ellen Degeneres, Cameron Diaz said that the voice work only took a couple of days compared to the work of the animators.

"I went in and I did one day, probably half a day, probably four or five hours. I did half the film — the voice of the film. And then a year later, I went back and did another five hours and did the second half of the film."

Shrek Has His Own Star On The Walk Of Fame

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(Video) How Has Shrek Aged? - Eddache

Due toShrek's love of pop-culture references,the character would be honored to know thatthose in Hollywood felt he and his film deserved its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2010, Shrek was awarded his own star, making him the2,408th star on the Walk of Fame. To celebrate Shrek's big win, his voice actor, Mike Meyers, was there (along with a mascot-version of Shrek) to accept and celebrate the honor.

A Monumental Credit In Animation

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Shrek is one of the top-performing animated comedies. Withfive movies, specials, a musical, and multiple games — it's an incredibly successful franchise. In fact, in 2001, Fox News noted thatthe Oscars added a new category to its awards, Best Animated Feature, andShrek won.

Taking away the inaugural award at the Oscars makes the film a part of history.Shrek's sequel (Shrek 2) also won Best Animated Feature in 2004.

Alan Rickman Chose Snape Over Lord Farquaad

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Before Shrek was released, famed actor, Alan Rickman, was known for his time inDie Hard and various TV shows and plays. While in production, Alan Rickman was offered the role of Lord Farquaad.

However, Heat Worldnoted thatRickman ended up turning down the role for the opportunity to playProfessor Snape in the iconic franchise,Harry Potter. When Rickman turned down the role, John Lithgow stepped in and voicedthe character instead. Farquaad went on to be the face of many memes and was a great antagonist in the franchise.

A Disney Parody

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There's an unspoken competition between Disney and other popular animated companies, includingDreamWorks, and it doesn't take much to notice the subtle digs at Disney throughoutShrek.Entertainment Weekly noted thatShrek'sproducer,Jeffrey Katzenberg,used to run Disney's animation division. Because of this connection, there are plenty of classic jokes in Shrek that could be seen as a dig towards Disney.

While Katzenberg recognized the rivalry, he explained, "We were poking fun at people’s expectations. Certainly, it is a homage to Disney; it is making fun of those things that we all grew up with and loved. You want to make jokes that people recognize, particularly with parody."

Shrek Creators Lawyered Up

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Between Shrek'sraunchy jokesand the kingdom of Duloc looking a lot like the parks at Disney World,Shrek producers hired lawyers to watch the movie to make sure there weren't any possible lawsuits coming their way.

(Video) 11 Facts You Didn't Know About Dreamwork's 'Shrek' | EW Cheat Sheet | Entertainment Weekly

According to TheNY Post, co-director Andrew Adamson said, "We showed each and every scene to lawyers as we went along.We certainly did not want to be sued by Disney.” After watching, lawyers assured DreamWorks they wouldn't have to make cuts.

It Took Animators Plenty Of Tries To Perfect Shrek

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While animators were inspired by the original ogre from the bookShrek!, DreamWorksaltered Shrek's image to create the perfect ogre for the big screen.

The Artifice noted that the creative team researched "fairy-tale creatures" for the perfect appearance and it took“over 50 different sculpts for Shrek before they decided on his final look." While Shrek was a terrifying ogre, they created him in a way that made fans sympathize with him.

John Lithgow Found The Irony In Lord Farquaad's Height

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Lord Farquaad was one of Shrek's biggest enemiesand is voiced by British actor, John Lithgow. Considering Lithgow's incredible resume, he broke his own rule to voice the part of Lord Farquaad.

In an interview with theLA Times, Lithgow said, "I always said I would never play anyone short, and then came [“Shrek’s"] Lord Farquaad." The actor continued saying, "There’s always something new that I hadn't thought of." The irony is that Lithgow stands at 6'4" (193 cm) tall. Animators snagged Lithgow's facial expressions for Farquaad's.

It Took A Long Time Before Shrek's Personality Was Solidified

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The humans inShrek assumethat he is a dumb ogre with zero intelligence. But onthe contrary, Shrek is quite bright. He just enjoys his downtime and moments to himself without others interrupting him.

In an interview withInverse,directors and writers said that it took time before solidifying Shrek's personality. Storyboard artist Conrad Vernon said, "We had gone down a road where Shrek is a nice ogre who wants to be a knight..." They soon made him into an ogre "who is misjudged, therefore he shuts himself off from the world."

The Sequel Was Quickly Greenlit

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After almost five years of working onShrek, the creators weren't sure how it was going to be perceived by audiences. But after the test audience raved about it, they knew it was going to be a hit in box offices.

In an interview withInverse, storyboard artist Conrad Vernon knew that they had a hit on their hands and that a sequel was next on their list. "When it came out, it just skyrocketed. As soon as it hit big, immediately everyone was like 'OK – start working on a second one,'" he said. The sequel came out in 2004 and is noted as one of the best movies in the Shrek franchise.

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Eddie Murphy Improvised A Lot Of His Lines

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Donkey is a cherished character in theShrek franchise that fans are hoping returns in the fifth movie. Eddie Murphy's voice and comedic timing made him the perfect actor for the role.

Because of Murphy's talent, he improvised a few of his lines, according toThe Gamer.In the movie,Princess Fiona burped, which prompted Murphy to improvise the line, "She’s as nasty as you are!"

The Idea For The Gingerbread Man

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The Gingerbread Man is one of the more beloved characters in the franchise. In the first movie, Lord Farquaad is terrorizing the Gingerbread Man for information, but he refused to crack. His high-pitched voice and daredevil attitude made him fun to watch.

According toInverse, when all the artists worked on possible ideas and storyboards, Vernon said when he focused on the Gingerbread man, he thought, "What if they were torturing the Gingerbread Man for the information? How do you torture a gingerbread man? Well, you break his legs off, you dunk him in milk..." He continued saying, "I wrote it out on a piece of paper and then boarded it out. And when I pitched it, I used that voice." Vernon's idea was a hit and it set the comedic tone for the film.

The Same Actor VoicedPinocchio And The Three Little Pigs

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Pinocchio and the Three Little Pigs were side characters in theShrekfranchise, but they deserved spin-offs of their own. Their voices and sense of humor added depth to the movie, compared to Shrek's hostile personality.

Interestingly enough, actor and director Cody Cameron voiced all four characters in theShrek franchise. He was able to separate each character and add his own spin on the pigs' accents.

Mud Showers

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In the opening scene ofShrek, Shrek gets out of bed and starts his typical day as an ogre. Shrek took a bath and a shower of sorts in the mud, proving that while it doesn't make sense to get clean in the mud -- that's Shrek's entire point. He loved being dirty. To add the perfect movement of a mud bath,Cinema wrote, "The effects department actually took mud showers of their own." Their homework paid off becauseShrek in its entirety is incredibly life-like.

NEXT:10 Things That Make Absolutely No Sense About Shrek


Who turned down Shrek? ›

Nicolas Cage on his VERY costly decision to turn down Shrek. Nicolas Cage turned down the role of Shrek because he was too vain. The 49-year-old actor, who is friends with DreamWorks studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, was initially asked to voice the friendly green ogre.

What was the main problem in Shrek? ›

When it comes to writing a story, there should be a problem, or conflict. In the movie Shrek, one of the conflicts was Shrek's fear of not being liked or respected by other people (especially by Princess Fiona) because he is an ogre. That is called the inner conflict; it is what goes on inside the character.

What is Shrek's goal in the movie? ›

But all of the sudden, the evil Lord Farquaad banishes a bunch of fairy tale creatures to Shrek's swamp. So Shrek now must go on a quest to save Princess Fiona, along with a fast-talking donkey whose name is literally Donkey in order to get his swamp back.

What is Shrek's full name? ›

Trivia. His full name is Sir Shrek. He bathes in mud in his swamp.

Is Shrek a real name? ›

Shrek is a fictional ogre character created by American author William Steig. Shrek is the protagonist of the book of the same name, a series of films by DreamWorks Animation, as well as a musical. The name "Shrek" is derived from the German word Schreck, meaning "fright" or "terror".

Who was the 1st choice for Shrek? ›

Chris Farley was initially hired to voice Shrek, and he had recorded nearly all of the dialogue for the character, but died before completing the project.

Who is the villain in Shrek 5? ›

Rumpelstiltskin, also known as Rumpel Stiltskin, Mr. Stiltskin or simply Rumpel, is the main antagonist of DreamWorks' twentieth full-length animated feature film Shrek Forever After, the fourth installment of the Shrek film series.

Who was the traitor in Shrek 3? ›

Rapunzel is the secondary antagonist of DreamWorks' fourteenth full-length animated feature film Shrek the Third, the third installment of the Shrek film series. She is a bogus member of the princess group and a friend of Princess Fiona.

Why did Shrek save Fiona? ›

Shrek (film)

Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad, agreeing to rescue Fiona in exchange for the removal of the fairytale creatures from his swamp. Once inside the castle, Shrek puts on armor found on the bones of unsuccessful knights and tells Donkey to find the stairs to Fiona's tower while he searches for the dragon.

What is an important message in Shrek? ›

Friendship. This theme encourages the audience to realise that friendship is important. Donkey often sings songs that are based around friendship. Shrek realises that Donkey, as a friend, has had a positive impact on his life.

Why did Shrek go to jail? ›

It was where Shrek, Donkey and Puss were incarcerated for creating a scene in Far Far Away after they were arrested in K.N.I.G.H.T.S. They weren't there for too long however, as the fairy tale friends busted them out.

How old is Shrek's? ›

While we know from the first song's lyrics that Shrek is actually seven, we're never explicitly told Fiona's age. At least not directly. But if we dig into the musical's script, we get a brief character note that tells us that young Fiona is also seven.

Is Shrek a hero or villain? ›

Meet Shrek. Shrek is the protagonist and hero in the film Shrek. In the beginning of this film, Shrek struggles with accepting himself as an ogre.

What was Shrek the punishment for? ›

Conversation. Reminder, 'Shrek' was seen as a punishment where Dreamworks animators were banished to work on the film once they failed on other projects. “It was known as the Gulag, if you failed, you were sent to the dungeons to work on Shrek.” Employees called it being "Shreked."

What is Shrek girlfriend name? ›

Fiona is the franchise's female lead and Shrek's romantic interest.

What are Shrek babies called? ›

Farkle, Fergus, and Felicia. Farkle, Fergus, and Felicia (also known as the Ogre Babies or Ogre Triplets) are the ogre children of Shrek and Princess Fiona. Farkle (indicated by the tuft of hair) and Fergus are male, and Felicia is female (indicated by a pink bow in her hair).

Does Shrek have a gender? ›

This is because Shrek is a fictional character, and as such, does not have a set gender. In the original 2001 film, Shrek is voiced by Mike Myers, who is a man. However, in the subsequent films in the franchise, Shrek is voiced by a woman, Catherine Tate.

Why is he named Farquaad? ›

Lord Farquaad is thought to be a caricature of Michael Eisner, then-CEO of the Walt Disney Company and a subject of DreamWorks' then-CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's (and the film's) ire. Farquaad's name is also believed to be a corruption of the slur "fuckwad".

How was Shrek born? ›

Shrek was born to an unnamed father and mother about thirty years prior to when he rescued Fiona. He lived with his parents before he was sent away on his 7th birthday.

Does Shrek 5 exist? ›

Currently, in development, the fifth installment in the popular franchise has had a difficult time of it, but fans will be excited to know that, as of now, it's still happening. Despite alterations in direction and storylines, it seems to finally be coming out of purgatory for a release sometime in 2022.

Who is the best Shrek villain? ›

Farquaad was Shrek's first villain and the most memorable antagonist to date. Unlike his successors, Lord Farquaad was completely original, which gave the writers more freedom when designing exactly what type of person he was. Farquaad's comically evil personality made every moment he appeared on screen engaging.

Who was the OG Shrek? ›

Before Shrek made it big on the silver screen, there was William Steig's SHREK!, a book about an ordinary ogre who leaves his swampy childhood home to go out and see the world.

Why is Fiona half ogre? ›

She explains that when she was a child a witch cast a spell on her, causing her to transform into an ogre when the sun goes down, and that the curse can only be broken by true love's first kiss.

Is Fiona a villain? ›

Type of Villain

Fiona Fox is a supporting antagonist in the Archie comics incarnation of the popular Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

How tall is Shrek? ›

According to Adam Adamson, who directed the first two movies in the franchise, Shrek's height sits somewhere between 7 and 8 feet tall. Due to the fact that there is no material outside of the movies that states any details about his physique, we may never have an exact measurement for the fairy tale hero.

Why is Rapunzel bald in Shrek? ›

The villainess played the role of a frightened maiden in a tower, wanting to be "rescued" by Charming. However, Shrek's friends arrived to stop Charming, with the Gingerbread Man rappeling down Rapunzel's hair and pulling it off her head, revealing it to be a wig and leaving Rapunzel bald.

Who is the villain of Shrek 4? ›

Rumpelstiltskin (or simply Rumpel) is the main antagonist Shrek Forever After, the fourth and final movie of the Shrek film franchise.

Why did Rapunzel betray Fiona? ›

Et Tu, Brute?: Rapunzel betrays the Princesses and Fiona due to her crush with Charming, or at least the power being his queen would bring her. The Evil Prince: Prince Charming.

How old is Fiona in Shrek? ›

In Shrek the Musical, it is claimed that Fiona was imprisoned in a tower on Christmas Eve when she was 7 years old. She spent at least 16 years in that tower until Shrek rescued her. She was rescued at age 23.

What is Fiona curse in Shrek? ›

Fiona was cursed in Shrek because she was born under a curse that said she would turn into an ogre at nightfall on her 16th birthday. Fiona's parents didn't want their daughter to be an ogre, so they locked her away in a tower to keep her from turning into one.

Does Fiona have a baby in Shrek? ›

Fergus, Farkle, and Felicia are secondary characters in the Shrek franchise. They are Shrek and Fiona's triplet children. They appear in Shrek the Third, Shrek the Halls, Shrek Forever After, and Scared Shrekless.

What is the best quote of Shrek? ›

The 10 Most Emotionally Resonant Quotes from the Shrek Franchise
  • “That'll do Donkey, that'll do.” – ...
  • “Ogres are like onions.” – ...
  • “This'll be fun. ...
  • “It's gonna be champagne wishes and caviar dreams from now on.” – ...
  • “Shrek, Fiona will you accept an Old Frog's apology and my blessing?” –
May 18, 2021

Why is Shrek a good leader? ›

Anyone can be placed in a position of leadership, but it is the action of leading that separates imposters from true leaders. Shrek rescued Fiona from the dragon and created a team of misfits to save Far Far Away. He won the heart of Fiona and Donkey's loyalty, and he became the hero of the entire land.

What are the deeper themes in Shrek? ›

The story of Shrek is mostly about self-love, self-acceptance as well as learning to tolerate others & accept them. Yet whilst Shrek has issues being accepted, he initially also gives Donkey a hard time.

How big is Shrek's pp? ›

However, based on the various theories and descriptions, it is safe to say that shrek's pp is definitely above average in size. It is a girl with height 8ft and weight 450 lbs.

Does Shrek 3 exist? ›

Shrek the Third premiered at the Mann Village Theatre, Westwood in Los Angeles on May 6, 2007, and was theatrically released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on May 18, 2007.

How old is Arthur Shrek? ›

The trio's journey soon leads them to Worcestershire Academy, an elite high school across the sea, where they discover that Arthur ("Artie", as he prefers to be called) is a scrawny 16-year-old picked on by virtually everyone, from the cool kids down to the retainer wearing geeks.

How did Shrek get his name? ›

The name "Shrek" is derived from the German word Schreck, meaning "fright" or "terror". In the films, Shrek was voiced by Mike Myers, and in the musical, he was played principally by Brian d'Arcy James.

Who is older Shrek or Fiona? ›

did you know that Shrek is 108 years old in the first Shrek movie, making an 86 year age gap between him and Fiona, who's supposed to be 22?

How strong is Shrek? ›

According to Article 2 Section 1, “Shrek's power is not limited, neither infinite but rather Low-Omnipotent and has the power to defeat any threats that has hate/love on him.

What does Shrek mean? ›

SHREK means "monster" in Yiddish, and is derived from the German word "Schreck," which means "terror" or "fright." But never fear - SHREK is actually a loveable and misunderstood ogre who is currently starring in SHREK THE MUSICAL, one of our best reviewed shows ever!

Why is Shrek green? ›

How come Shrek looks rinkee green? It's because he lives, eats and sleeps in such a way that he has a strong, natural complexion. As a holy color, green is the reason it is known as Shrek.

Is Rumpelstiltskin evil in Shrek? ›

Overall, he stands out as the most evil villain in the series next to Bloodwolf and Big Jack Horner. Even Lord Farquaad, the Fairy Godmother and her son Prince Charming did not go as far as Rumpelstiltskin.

Why did Shrek isolate himself? ›

Shrek originally isolated himself because deep down, he felt that nobody would accept him and that he was inherently unlovable.

Why is Fairy Godmother evil in Shrek? ›

The Fairy Godmother isn't like her classic benevolent counterpart who uses her magic for the heroic reasons. Instead, she is a conniving businesswoman who is only out to use others to benefit herself and her son Prince Charming.

How tall is Lord Farquaad in Shrek? ›

Lord Farquaad
Hair colourBlack
Height4'6 (138cm)
Weight43kg (95 lbs)
Blood typeRed
21 more rows

What's a cool random fact? ›

The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet (9 m). Diet Coke was only invented in 1982. There are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones in the King James translation of the Bible. When snakes are born with two heads, they fight each other for food.

What are some fun facts about ogre? ›

An ogre is fictional monster. A female ogre is called ogress. Most stories say ogres eat humans, including small children and babies. The word originally comes from French: Charles Perrault mentioned an Ogre in his fairy tale "Little thumbling" published in 1697.

What is Shrek's hobbies? ›

Survivalist: Living in the middle of a swamp for most of his life, Shrek has learned to live off the land to support himself and later his family. He is an excellent hunter, forager and cook, creating improvised dishes such as weed rat stew.

What are 5 weird facts? ›

Like the dot over an i or a j.
  • Water makes different sounds depending on its temperature! ...
  • McDonald's invented a sweet-tasting type of broccoli! ...
  • Rabbits can't be sick! ...
  • Humans are the only animals that blush! ...
  • The hashtag symbol has a fancy term! ...
  • Apple pie isn't American!
Dec 13, 2022

What are 5 amazing facts? ›

5 amazing science facts that will blow your mind
  • A teaspoonful of neutron star. ...
  • Metals that explode when in contact with water. ...
  • Hawaii is moving closer to Alaska by 7.5cm every year. ...
  • Sunflowers are known as hyperaccumulators. ...
  • A cockroach can live for up to one week without its head.
Nov 15, 2021

What are 5 interesting facts? ›

Interesting Unknown facts that you need to know
  • Hot water will turn into ice faster than cold water. ...
  • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. ...
  • The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. ...
  • Ants take rest for around 8 Minutes in 12-hour period. ...
  • "I Am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

What are ogres weak to? ›

Ogre's are weak to fire although the effects are minimal.

What food do ogres eat? ›

An ogre (feminine: ogress) is a legendary monster depicted as a large, hideous, man-like being that eats ordinary human beings, especially infants and children.

Can ogres speak? ›

Their clothing consists of poorly cured furs and hides, which add to their naturally repellent odor. Ogres speak Giant, and those specimens who boast Intelligence scores of at least 10 also speak Common.

What is Shrek babies name? ›

Farkle, Fergus, and Felicia (also known as the Ogre Babies or Ogre Triplets) are the ogre children of Shrek and Princess Fiona. Farkle (indicated by the tuft of hair) and Fergus are male, and Felicia is female (indicated by a pink bow in her hair).

How old is Fiona in Shrek 1? ›

In Shrek the Musical, it is claimed that Fiona was imprisoned in a tower on Christmas Eve when she was 7 years old. She spent at least 16 years in that tower until Shrek rescued her. She was rescued at age 23.

What was Shrek's favorite food? ›

Shrek The Onion-loving Ogre

The forest is home to a creature known as Shrek, who enjoys eating fruits and vegetables grown there. The only thing that stands out to him, however, is onions. He enjoys the way they smell and taste.


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