With the possibility of a third Bill & Ted adventure seemingly off the table, we’re forced to satisfy ourselves by endlessly revisiting that first, radical film. That’s not the worst thing in the world. In addition to being the saving grace of hungover history teachers everywhere, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the perfect balance of dumb fun and loopy, time travel logic. But, according to the film’s writers, our two air-guitar-wielding heroes almost went on a very different kind of adventure. The kind of adventure that involves making friends with Hitler.
In honor of Keanu Reeves’ birthday, co-screenwriter Ed Solomon shared the four pages of hand-written notes he and Chris Matheson penned back in 1984 when they were outlining the story on spec. While the core plot remained intact—“Bill and Ted have a huge history project due. They’re failing…They go back into history and bring things and people back”—most of the specifics were different. For one thing, there was no phone booth. Instead, as the tentative title suggests, Bill and Ted traveled back in time with the aid of a “Time Van” they received from their 28-year-old school friend Rufus (who we’re guessing wouldn’t be played by George Carlin).
Mashable took the time to decode some of the handwriting and uncovered other differences, including the historical settings the duo find themselves in. Instead of first traveling to France and scooping up Napoleon, Bill and Ted accidentally travel back to Nazi Germany and pick up none other than Adolf Hitler who accompanies them back to San Dimas and “develops a friendship” with their classmate Randolph. Even in these early stages, Solomon and Matheson were able to recognize that a buddy film involving Hitler may have been in poor taste.
In the more sporadic notes that follow the initial plot outline we can see descriptions of Bill and Ted’s visit to ancient Rome where they accidentally murder Julius Caesar, their trip to caveman times where they introduce smoking weed to early man, and a quick stop off on the Titanic where they cause general mayhem and destruction.
All in all, this original premise has more of a “Forrest Gump in time” feel to it, with the title characters playing pivotal roles in historic events rather than bumbling in and out of them. Still, big things come from small beginnings, and without this hand-written document we may never have gotten to see what strange things were afoot at the Circle K.
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