Bill & Ted Face the Music, the long-planned third installment in the Bill & Ted movie franchise, may finally be a reality soon.
The project, which has been in various stages of development for about a decade, has excited fans, the stars, and filmmakers for all that time, but the problem always came down to rights and money. The movie was originally distributed by MGM/UA and Orion Pictures, both of which have had big financial troubles in the time since its 1989 release. That was an obstacle for a while, and then even once the filmmakers seemingly found a workaround, the budget was more than backers wanted to shell out...but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, writer Ed Solomon says that could all change soon.
“We are hoping to close a deal with some financiers,” said Solomon. “Hopefully within the next month or so, we’ll have news that will stick.”
The film will be directed by Galaxy Quest's Dean Parisot and will star Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, and William Sadler, all reprising their roles from the original pair of Bill & Ted films (as Bill, Ted, and the Grim Reaper, respectively).
Reeves has said in the past that Bill & Ted 3 is the biggest of the movies, with a more science fiction element. He has estimated that to make the movie right it could cost more than $50 million, which is bigger than the domestic box office takes of either Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure or Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Those films were made inexpensively and the first became a surprise hit, spawning a franchise that included TV and video game spinoffs, toys, and more.
In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the titular air-headed underachievers were approached by Rufus (George Carlin), a man from the future who told them that in order for his utopian society to come to pass, they had to pass an upcoming history report and become rock stars. To that end, he loaned them a time-traveling phone booth, and they managed to pass their history report by traveling back in time and kidnapping significant historical figures, who could then present to their class.
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey picked up a couple of years later, as the Wyld Stallyns were about to get their big break at a local Battle of the Bands. Bill and Ted were murdered by evil robot versions of themselves, sent by Rufus's nemesis Denomolos (Ed Solomon backwards, note) to prevent their rise. After besting the Grim Reaper in several '80s and '90s board games in a send-up of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, the pair returned to life to defeat their doppelgangers and win the battle of the bands.
Bill & Ted Face the Music will pick up with the heroes in real time, as they are well into middle age and have not yet managed to write the song that will change the world. Not only their own future, but the timeline itself is in danger should they fail.
"The whole trajectory of getting the next one off the ground has been pretty much exactly like the experience of getting the original," Winter told EW. "Going to every studio, and they’re like, ‘What the eff is this?’ It’s this kind of independent spirit, and the films have an anachronistic quality to them that’s a big part of what they are, fundamentally. I’m really happy that this one is the same. It doesn’t feel like some stale knockoff that a studio would have immediately gone, ‘Oh, this feels right. We have rebranded very successfully.'"