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Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy is part of film history, especially as the first two installments are considered some of the strongest mob movies ever. And while plenty of filmmakers have taken inspiration from The Godfather, no one expected Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to be one of them. The ABBA infused sequel will soon arrive in theaters, bringing back the original cast for another musical romp. But there's also a new set of characters for the flashback sequences, revealing how Donna became pregnant with Sophie all those years ago. It's this prequel storyline that was reportedly influenced by The Godfather Part II. Director/writer Ol Parker recently revealed this himself, saying:
We stole the prequel-sequel format idea from Godfather 2. It's an homage to that.
Well, that was honest. Rather than being vague or letting Mamma Mia 2's likeness to The Godfather sequel be written up online, Ol Parker got ahead of the story. He "stole" the idea of a prequel/sequel, and now we'll have to see if audiences respond quite as well as with the iconic 1974 movie.
Ol Parker's comments to Variety help show how far the reach and influence of The Godfather franchise still is today. The films are some of the most iconic and acclaimed movies of all time (except for that whole Marie thing), and even Broadway musicals turned blockbusters are affected by Francis Ford Coppola's work.
The Godfather Part II was released in 1974, and was a direct sequel to the original film. But there's a twist: the movie is also a prequel, and shows how young Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro) became a powerful man in the old country. This gives the overall universe a more broad and expansive feel, and fleshes out Marlon Brando's iconic older Don Corleone.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will do something similar when it arrives in theaters this week. The two tier story will go as follows. In the present, Sophie (Amanda Seyfriend) finds herself pregnant, and uses Donna's journal and friends to help connect with a younger version of Meryl Streep. The prequel action will be shown onscreen a la Godfather 2, with Lily James playing young Donna. So while The Godfather Part II and Here We Go Again couldn't be more different movies, they share a framing device that will hopefully bring the latter success when it hits theaters in a matter of days.
Connection to Godfather 2 aside, there are still plenty of mysteries revolving around Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Perhaps the most obvious is the role of Meryl Streep's Donna, who is noticeably missing from most of the trailers. Did they kill her off? Or did someone make her an offer she couldn't refuse?
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again hit theaters July 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.