Watch: Tim Story on the possibility of a cartoon character shared universe
Tim Story says the cameo appearance of another iconic cartoon creation in Tom & Jerry The Movie leaves the door open for a Marvel-style shared universe featuring these characters.
The new movie is a hybrid of live-action and animation, with the cat and mouse duo warring in the corridors of a glitzy hotel ahead of a celebrity wedding.
During one scene, the characters come face to face with another famous cartoon character in a scene which pays homage to a classic horror movie.
"It would be really fun if that happened," Story tells Yahoo Entertainment UK when asked whether the cameo could lead to something more.
He adds: "The character you're speaking about is in the same universe, so it actually could happen.
"For those who haven't seen the movie, please check it out because there's a lot of little surprises in it."
Warner Bros has shown willingness to explore a shared world of cartoon characters before, introducing Captain Caveman and Wacky Races villain Dick Dastardly into new Scooby-Doo outing Scoob last year.
Read more: Will Forte on voicing Shaggy in Scoob
The film was described by Warner Bros as "our first shot at unlocking the whole Hanna-Barbera Universe", suggesting plans afoot to delve into the wider world of the animation house's characters.
With the enjoyable cameo in Tom & Jerry The Movie, the studio seems keen to at least tease the same idea for the MGM cartoon studio.
Story says the Tom & Jerry world has been part of his life childhood but, despite this, he wasn't too daunted by the prospect of guiding it into the 21st century movie world.
"I won't say I wasn't nervous to bring it to the screen, but my confidence was always pretty high up there," he says.
"I say that because I grew up on the cartoons and, when something like this is that much in your DNA, you know where you can and can't go and what characters you want to use.
"I felt so comfortable with this property. I just really love these characters and have always felt like I could bring something to it."
Chloë Grace Moretz plays the movie's human lead, as hotel employee Kayla. She hires Tom to help rid the hotel of its mouse problem before the impending, glamorous nuptials.
The human cast also includes Michael Peña, Colin Jost and Rob Delaney, with the title characters voiced via archival recordings of William Hanna, Mel Blanc and June Foray — as well as new material from voice acting veteran Frank Welker.
Tom & Jerry The Movie will be available to rent at home in the UK via digital platforms from 25 March.
Watch: Trailer for Tom & Jerry The Movie