When it first debuted at film festivals back in 2014, The Guest was a major hit among genre fans, though its wide release didn't make much of a financial impact on general audiences. Sitting at 91% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the film's streaming debut on various services has allowed it to grow an impressive following over the years, with various members of the cast and crew vaguely keeping the door open for a follow-up in the years since. While writer Simon Barrett didn't detail what he and director Adam Wingard or star Dan Stevens are planning to do, he did confirm something is "concretely" going to happen that will tie up any loose ends from the film, but that whatever shape this project takes might not be what fans are anticipating. Barrett recently wrote and directed Seance, which hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on May 21st.
"I can give you a very concrete answer to that question, which is, we are doing something related to The Guest," Barrett confirmed with ComicBook.com. "And it is concretely happening, but it is not a feature film or a comic book, because I think that's what people would expect us to do. And I think that's the thing that no one actually wants us to do, because I think if we actually made a feature film version of The Guest 2, or realistically, the graphic novel version would just be a cheaper version of trying to achieve kind of the same thing narratively. I think that could only disappoint people at this juncture, because people have to remember that the same weird, quasi-original artistic sensibility that caused me to write The Guest in the first place would continue to guide me with a Guest sequel."
He continued, "So I would likely do something perverse, and just have Dan's character be the successful owner of a local hardware store and the entire story is just about him dealing with a difficult supplier, but in a totally legal and healthy way, because he's totally grown as a person. And so, in a sense, I think Seance was trying to be the slightly more optimistic version of the same narrative that You're Next and The Guest somewhat explored with their characters. So, we're never going to do just like, The Guest 2. Because I just don't think... The Guest was just never meant to have a sequel like that. However, at this point, enough people have asked us about it, that of course, inevitably Adam and I have had enough conversations about what we would hypothetically do, that we've now developed a bunch of ideas that we've become very attached to, because we think they're actually good."
The film saw David (Stevens) arrive at the family home of a close friend he served with in the military who had died in combat, allowing the family to help grieve the loss of their son. However, a mysterious set of events unfold that lead Anna (Maika Monroe) and Luke (Brendan Meyer) to think that David isn't who he says he is, as he shows off almost supernaturally heightened combat skills.
"There's definitely going to be one thing that tells you what the further adventures of Dan Stevens' character and Maika Monroe's character and Brendan Meyer's character, what those could have been," Barrett confirmed. "And then, we'll see if it leads into anything more concrete, but we're not going to exploit any of our fans and we're not going to ruin anything. Because I think that's the easiest thing for filmmakers to do, especially when you have a film like The Guest, which initially we felt like was a failure. And then later, we were gradually convinced was a success. I think it's very easy, especially in that situation, to want to double down on that success. Or because it's so gratifying, especially when it feels a bit after the fact, and you're so excited that you were right, that your story was good and you do want to do more of it."
He added, "But I think that's a big mistake. I think that's an easy mistake for filmmakers to fall into, is this notion of like, 'Oh, I did this thing and people liked it. So I should do more of that, in a direct way.' I think you really have to be careful of the fact that that fandom that you have, especially with a film like The Guest, it's a precious thing. And people like The Guest, I think partially, because there isn't a Guest 2, and we didn't ruin it. And it is this unique film that stands on its own and doesn't really feel like it should exist, because it doesn't make any financial sense for it to exist. And that's true, which is also a hard thing about making a sequel. Is, The Guest didn't make any money."
Despite all of the inherent challenges of continuing a beloved project, the filmmaker admitted that he and his collaborators might have found a way to fulfill not only themselves, but also the fans.
"I think you have to really careful. I think it's really easy to say, 'Oh, the fans want The Guest 2, let's give it to them," but that can be a really self-indulgent thing to do, as an artist," Barrett pointed out. "I think the better thing to do is be like, 'Okay, the fandom's claim -- there are a couple of people who claim to be fans of The Guest and that want the sequel. What's a way to respect that and give them something, but not disappoint them and not let them down?' And that's a real challenge, and I think we have a cool answer, but we'll see. People might be really pissed off."
In Seance, Camille Meadows is the new girl at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls. Soon after her arrival, six girls invite her to join them in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. But before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.
Seance hits theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on May 21st. Stay tuned for updates on the possible future of The Guest.
Are you hoping to get a follow-up to The Guest? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!