Screenshot: New Line Cinema (YouTube)

Every few years or so, when the subject of a fourth Austin Powers movie comes up, director Jay Roach typically offers some variation of the same reply: It’s up to Mike Myers, the star of the hit comedy trilogy about London’s foremost swingin’ super-spy. In a recent interview with The Independent, Roach returned to the idea of a sequel yet again while contemplating the success of the first three films—the last of which, Goldmember, was released in 2002 (cue your existential crisis). Roach reiterated that a fourth film would have “more to do with Dr. Evil,” though the original idea was to take a closer look at Mini-Me, the sidekick character played by the late Verne Troyer. The actor, who died in 2018, first played the character in the 1999 sequel The Spy Who Shagged Me, and memorably reprised the role for Goldmember, which featured a hilarious prison duet of “Hard Knock Life” with Myers’ Dr. Evil.

Although the decision rests with Myers, Roach seems less inclined to pursue a fourth Austin Powers film in light of Troyer’s death, given that their original idea for the sequel had been to focus more on Mini-Me and his life outside of Dr. Evil:

To be honest, I don’t know how we’d do it without Verne. We always had ideas of revealing a whole life that he had that would have taken his character much further. If Mike cracks it and figures it out, we would definitely do some kind of tribute to him. I’m there if he ever wants to do it.

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That said, it’s been 17 years since the last Austin Powers movie, and with each passing year, the chances of a sequel actually being anywhere near as good as its predecessors grows increasingly slim. That’s just movie science fact.