Does the world need a nearly 30-years-later Bill & Ted sequel? Look, the world needs a lot of things right now—like, all the things—and if lifelong friends and occasional costars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter want to strap back on their guitars and the time-traveling duo’s surfer-dude lingo and scratch our collective cult comedy nostalgia itch in this time of strife and division, then what sort of seriously un-chill monster would we be to stop them. As the very belated threequel Bill & Ted Face The Music hits whatever streaming and screening venues COVID guidelines and common sense will allow on Friday, Reeves and Winter sat down with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday’s Late Show to explain just why this was what the world, indeed, needed.
“That’s exactly what happened,” deadpanned Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq., to you) to Colbert’s speculation that a 29-year marinating period was what the now 55-year-old pair had in mind all along for their universe-saving, time-hopping rock gods to return. Reeves (Ted Theodore Logan) instead told Colbert that original writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson had come to them a decade ago with the idea of Bill and Ted finally having to get around to writing that song that George Carlin’s time mentor Rufus once told them would “help put an end to war and poverty, will align the planets and bring them into universal harmony, allowing meaningful contact with all forms of life, from extraterrestrial beings to common household pets.” (Plus—excellent for dancing.)
The film, as Winter explained, sends the now happily married fathers of two equally excellent teen daughters on their long-delayed third trip through time and space, where they visit alternate future Bills and Teds (including a prison yard-jacked version, alarmingly) in hopes of stealing their own, as-yet-unwritten song before the universe is permanently un-aligned, and they get in so much trouble. With Colbert confirming that Winter and Reeves’ audition-born friendship has endured just as solidly as the film’s steadfastly wedding-rocking Bill and Ted’s has, the prospect of seeing this improbable, deeply unnecessary, yet somehow still thoroughly anticipated reunion with a pair of aging movie knuckleheads from a time when we only thought we knew what a truly misaligned universe looked like seemed very welcome indeed.
Especially since, as noted, Winter and Reeves remain close and supportive friends. For Winter (now primarily a documentarian of note) and Reeves (who steadfastly refused to allow Colbert’s speculation about a John Wick and Neo throwdown), being saluted with “Wyld Stallyns!” by delighted fans (and delighted kids of delighted fans) when they’re seen dining out together—as they did in the before-times—isn’t the stuff of rolled eyes and jaded, Shatner-esque irritation. “Bill and Ted bring smiles,” beamed Reeves, “You know? Makes people feel good.” And honestly, in their joint Late Show appearance, so do Alex and Keanu. Re-teaming with not just Solomon and Matheson, but original series producer Scott Kroopf, and, according to the suitably goofy trailer, William Sadler’s game-loving Death, was, according to Reeves and Winter, only natural—not to say inevitable.
The pair were tight-lipped about exactly what shape Bill and Ted’s shenanigans will take in the August 28 release, but they’ve got Kristen Schaal on board as the Rufus’ equally forbearing daughter to help guide them (since we lost George Carlin to stupid linear time back in 2008), and a movie-hungry public looking for some reassuringly dumb throwback movie magic. So things should all work out in the end—as ever for Bill and Ted—excellently.