The third instalment of the Bill & Ted franchise, Bill & Ted Face the Music, is due to begin filming in January 2019, 30 years after Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was released, and the pair were visited by Rufus from the future to tell them that their music would one day unite the world in peace and harmony.
Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves have been vocal about how they’ve been trying to get the project off the ground for almost a decade, then earlier this year, images were released reuniting the pair with writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon with the announcement that plans for the threequel were finally in place. However, after the mixed critical response to belated comedy sequels like Dumb and Dumber To and Anchorman 2, will Bill & Ted Face The Music hit the right notes?
Keep It Californian
Although Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was filmed in Pheonix, Arizona, the film is based in San Dimas, California. Excellent Adventure has that distinct Californian vibe of many films from that era, which make them so iconic; the heat, the colours, the lifestyle. Yes, Bill and Ted are in their 50s now, but what gave the original film it’s flavour was the setting.
Facing The Music: Rock Should Save The World!
Chances are when you mention Bill & Ted to fellow fans they’ll retort with ‘Wyld Stallyns!’ Wyld Stallyns is Bill and Ted’s band and according to Rufus (George Carlin), in 2688 humanity has built a utopian society based around the band’s music. It’s therefore this sound, rock, that becomes the backdrop for both movies.
The soundtrack for 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure featured a slew of 80s rock acts that gave the film it’s great music. By the time 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey came around, bands like Primus and KISS were on the soundtrack.
However, since the early 90s, rock music has been in decline. According to Nielsen’s 2017 End of Year report, hip-hop has surpassed rock as music’s most popular genre for the first time ever. The musical landscape has completely changed in the 30 years since Bill and Ted were first visited by that time travelling phone booth, so perhaps it’s not just the duo’s song that is meant to save humanity, but rather rock ‘n’ roll that defeats the flat corporate sound of modern day pop and hip-hop, returning to take over the world with a most triumphant message of peace and harmony.
Don’t Focus On The Midlife Crisis
We’re all aware that Bill and Ted are now in their 50s and probably more than a little jaded with 30 years of life weighing heavily on their shoulders. Writer Ed Solomon said that this third movie would focus on the fact they are ‘rediscovering what they’re about.’
If Solomon and co-writer Chris Matheson are smart though, they’ll avoid going down the tried and tested midlife crisis route. It’s absolutely essential that the film appeals to its older audience but is something that younger fans can connect with as well. Not talking down to them is crucial.
What made Excellent Adventure so fun and watchable was the fact that the goal was simple; get through high school, save the world. The third instalment should have the same clear focus; write the song, save the world.
Forget Bogus Journey (But Bring Back Death!)
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey‘s messy plot made the film less compelling and as a result, it received a mixed response. In Bogus Journey, the pair are killed by robot doppelgängers sent from the future to prevent them from winning the San Dimas Battle of the Bands. They eventually escape Death and through a series of ridiculous challenges he assists them and, after visiting Heaven, they recruit an alien being called Station for help.
Despite the confused plot, it’s William Sadler’s Death who really steals the show, and there are even rumours of the return of his character in the next film. It’s never a good idea to go over old ground but who doesn’t want to see Death challenge Bill and Ted to a game of Battleship, Cluedo and Twister again?
Don’t Make It About Time Travel Again
When the news about the third film broke, writers Solomon and Matheson described the film as ‘kind of like a Christmas Carol with Bill and Ted.’ The idea of looking back on their lives sounds intriguing, especially with so much time passed, but if someone from the future is going to turn up in a phone booth again and take fans on another time travelling adventure, it could get boring pretty quick. And with George Carlin now sadly passed, that someone won’t be Rufus.
Plot Twist: The Future Got It Wrong
When Rufus travels back to the past to tell Bill and Ted that they need to bring about peace and harmony with their music, maybe he was delivering the message to the wrong Bill and Ted.
At the end of Bogus Journey, the pair win the San Dimas Battle of the Bands and go on to unite the world with their music along with the princesses and their kids – ‘Little Bill’ and ‘Little Ted.’ If Solomon and Matheson are saying that the premise of the next film is that they’ve still not written the song, clearly the band failed. However, what if it’s up to their kids to write the ultimate track and not their Dads? This could be an interesting and unexpected plot twist.