In news that is totally non-heinous and most excellent, the long-awaited third installment in the Bill & Ted movie series is officially underway.
The film, entitled Bill & Ted Face the Music, will feature stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter returning to their iconic roles from 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.
Bill & Ted franchise creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, who penned the previous films in the series, have already completed the script. Set to direct is Dean Parisot of Galaxy Quest fame, and Steven Soderbergh (director of the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy) is among the executive producers.
“We couldn’t be more excited to get the whole band back together again. Chris and Ed wrote an amazing script, and with Dean at the helm we’ve got a dream team!” Reeves and Winter told The Hollywood Reporter.
“We’re tuning the air guitars!” Winter added on Twitter.
Following the announcement of the sequel, co-writer Ed Solomon tweeted, “I am overwhelmed and quite moved by the response this announcement has gotten. We have been working ten years to get this done in the right way… thank you so much for the support.”
The movie is currently in pre-production. No release date has been announced, but a 2019 release would be an appropriate choice considering it will mark the 30th anniversary of the series.
The nostalgia factor is expected to be a big pull for audiences waiting for this reunion. Bill & Ted Face the Music will explore the world of two 50+ men, married with children, living lives far from their expectations, who still have a dream.
Reeves described the plot of the film last year on The Graham Norton Show, saying Bill and Ted still haven’t written the song that was supposed save the world (as destined in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure). Now in their 50s, their marriages are failing, their kids are mad at them, and then “someone comes from the future and tells them if they don’t write the song it’s just not the world, it’s the universe” they must save. So, no pressure.
Though Reeves and Winter have said “the band is back together,” one sad note will be the absence of George Carlin, who passed away in 2008.
Carlin played “Rufus,” Bill and Ted’s mentor and friend from the future. Not only did Carlin appear in the first two movies, he also voiced Rufus in the cartoon TV series Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures in 1990.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, released in 1989, followed two high school friends who dreamed of becoming rock stars, when a dude named Rufus came from the future to tell them their music would one day change the world – but first they had to pass their history test. So began an excellent adventure through time and space.
The film was followed by Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991, which saw the duo travel to the afterlife and back again. Along the way, they picked up bandmates the Grim Reaper (played by William Sadler) and two alien life forms named Station.
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey ended with Bill and Ted seemingly bringing world peace about by playing a song they wrote (“God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II,” really a cover by Kiss of the original 1973 song by Argent.) No word yet on how Bill & Ted 3 plans to address the ending of Bogus Journey.
The 27 years since Reeves and Winter last played Bill and Ted have seen the actors take on a variety of roles. Reeves notably starred in The Matrix trilogy that began in 1999 and became one of the most successful franchises ever with ticket sales topping more than $3 billion worldwide.
Alex Winter has ventured from acting to writing and directing documentaries. Downloaded (2013) is a documentary he completed on the effects of downloading music on the music industry and how bands and labels changed their practices to survive. Winter’s next documentary subject will be the enigmatic Frank Zappa.
Bill and Ted Face the Music will be distributed by MGM’s Orion Pictures in North America.