In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the titular duo (played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively) traveled back in time to find a number of historical figures to help them with a report for school. Perhaps unsurprisingly given its release in 1989, the world history of Excellent Adventure is dominated by white males, with only two historical figures -- Genghis Khan (Al Leong) and Joan of Arc (Jane Wiedlin) -- being anything but. In Bill and Ted Face the Music, the third film in the franchise, changed that math quite a bit, with a new group of historical figures that included Jimi Hendrix (DazMann Still), Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft), and Ling Lun (Sharon Gee) among those in attendance, gathered by Bill and Ted's daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine).
That was, according to co-writer Ed Solomon, a conscious choice -- but not one made for political reasons. According to Solomon, he and co-writer/co-creator Chris Matheson had talked over the nearly thirty years since the first two movies about things they might do differently in a prospective third film.
"There wer ea lot of things we did when we were adolescent boys," Solomon admitted. "Excellent Adventure is adolescent boys' fantasy; Bogus Journey is what young men in their early twenties think of as fantasy, which is immortality. We've grown a lot, we're very different, and the world is very different."
He added that in Face the Music, "there are dozens of things we did differently....We did want to make the movie more inclusive, more woman-centric -- but not to fulfill an agenda, because it was good for the movie."
Following the surprise blockbuster that was 1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Winter and Reeves returned to their title roles for 1991's Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Since then, the pair -- as well as writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson -- have consistently had to field questions about the possibility of a third movie featuring the characters, a pair of slackers who discover that in the future, world peace is achieved as a result of the music of Wyld Stallyns, a rock band they founded in their garage.
In the first film, a time-traveler named Rufus (George Carlin) allowed the pair to use a time machine that gave them a leg up on passing an important high school history presentation. The second film saw them killed and sent to Hell, where they had to defeat the Grim Reaper in order to be revived.
In the third film, Bill & Ted Face the Music, the now-middle-aged Bill and Ted have not yet written the song that kickstarts their world-altering careers, and the future is getting anxious. As reality starts to unravel, there is a literal ticking clock on Bill and Ted to fulfill their destiny. The pair elect to time-travel to the future -- or more accurately various alternate futures -- to steal the song from their future selves and set the timestream on the right path. Hal Landon, Jr. returns as Ted's father, Amy Stoch as his stepmother (who was Bill's stepmother in the first film), and The Flash veteran William Sadler reprises his role as Death, the Grim Reaper who is really bad at basically every game he tries to play -- but pretty killer on bass.
Bill and Ted Face the Music is available now in theaters, on-demand and on digital platforms.