The Bill & Ted fan community haven’t had it easy over the past couple of decades. The only real content they’ve gotten to chew on since Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey left theaters in 1991 was the short-lived cartoon series Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures and a disastrous live-action Fox show that aired seven episodes in the summer of 1992 before being forever banished from the memory banks of every single person on the planet.
Making matters worse, series stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter pop up in the press every few months and promise that the long-awaited Bill & Ted 3 is on the verge of happening. We’d call it the Chinese Democracy of movies, but Axl Rose took a mere 11 years to turn that album into a reality and Bill & Ted 3 has been languishing for well over twice that time. Of course, it’s hard to blame Reeves and Winter for the stalemate. They just can’t seem to find a studio willing to pony up the cash to make it happen, even though Reeves is gearing up to begin work on John Wick: Chapter 3 a mere four years after the original hit.
Nearly every time that Reeves and Winter talk about Bill & Ted 3 they reveal a little more information about the proposed storyline. We’ve heard for years that it focuses on the two buddies growing old and realizing that their promised fate of recording music that united the planet never came to pass, but in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly they revealed a lot more of the idea along with the proposed title: Bill & Ted Face the Music. “Indomitable spirits confronted with, ‘Is this the end?'” Reeves said. “Of course, there is a little caveat in that someone comes from the future and says: ‘Not only do you have to save the world, you have to save everything.'”
Even without firm studio backing, the duo recruited original Bill & Ted screenwriter Ed Solomon to pen a new script and they even lined up Galaxy Quest’s Dean Parisot to direct it. “The whole trajectory of getting the next one off the ground has been pretty much exactly like the experience of getting the original,” Winter said. “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.’”
If all of this wasn’t exciting enough, they also promise that William Sadler is returning as Death. For those that don’t remember, Bill and Ted med Death when they (briefly) died in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. After defeating him in a series of games, he joined their quest and ultimately became the bassist in their band. Although it was probably lost on most viewers at the time, the storyline was a parody of the 1957 Ingmar Bergman movie The Seventh Seal where a medieval knight challenges Death to a game of chess.
Bill and Ted opt to challenge Death to a game of Battleship. After they defeat him with an excellent strike at J-7 – “I totally knew he’d put it in the J’s, dude” – he insists they play a best two out of three. Not in much of a position to negotiate, they break out Clue. When Death incorrectly surmises that Colonel Mustard committed the murder in the study with the candlestick (it was actually Professor Plum), the games continue with Electric Football and Twister until Death finally concedes and brings them back to the surface. It’s perhaps the single greatest sequence in either of the Bill & Ted movies.
Unsurprisingly, Sadler is more than willing to put the dark robe back on to play Death in Bill & Ted 3. “Have scythe, will travel,” he tweeted in response to the new round of Bill & Ted 3 articles. Hollywood, come on. We’re sick of waiting. They have a script. They have a director. All the actors are ready to start work, including the Grim Reaper himself. Give them the money. This trilogy needs a conclusion. In these difficult times, we need Bill and Ted more than ever.