Beyond just being two films about musical icons, last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the recently released Rocketman share something else in common: director Dexter Fletcher. Fletcher finished the former film about Queen and Freddie Mercury after Bryan Singer’s firing and directed the latter film about Elton John from the start. Because of this connection, Rocketman could have contained a wild Bohemian Rhapsody crossover, as Dexter Fletcher explained:
There was an idea I had one point, where Elton’s in a restaurant with his mother. I thought John Reid and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing, [but] it didn’t come to pass.’ It would’ve been a little too knowing. I’m not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!
Dexter Fletcher is right in what he told Gay Star News, it would have been amazing to see Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury interacting with Taron Egerton’s Elton John, even if it were only something as small as a wave between the two. It's a neat idea that would have been a great little nod to Bohemian Rhapsody; an Easter egg that I imagine many fans would have freaked out about if it were hidden as a surprise in Rocketman.
Such a crossover wouldn’t have been forced either and actually would have made some sense. That’s because of the character of John Reid, who provides the link between Queen and Elton John because he was the music manager for the former and the music manager and lover of the latter. Ironically, he was played by Game of Thrones vets in both movies, Aidan Gillen in Bohemian Rhapsody and Richard Madden in Rocketman.
Therefore this scene wouldn’t have been out of the realm of possibility historically, and you can understand Dexter Fletcher’s temptation to work with Oscar winner Rami Malek again for a fun crossover like this. Yet, as the director said, this cameo did not come to pass. But it is not that Rami Malek didn’t want to or because of some sort of scheduling conflict.
Dexter Fletcher never asked Rami Malek because he ultimately chose not to include such a cameo in the film, the reason being that as he said, it would be “too knowing.” While seeing Rami Malek’s Freddie in Rocketman would have been a hugely crowd-pleasing moment, Dexter Fletcher’s reasoning makes sense. Less a winking reference, this cameo may have come off a bit more hammer over the head.
It’s the kind of thing that would have taken you out of the movie for something that in the end was unnecessary. And having seen Rocketman, the scene Dexter Fletcher mentioned and when the cameo would have happened, where Elton is having dinner with his mother, is more serious in nature. A Rami Malek cameo as Freddie Mercury in that moment may have been tonally inconsistent with the rest of the scene.
Still, it would have been neat to see Freddie Mercury pop up at some point in Rocketman. Dexter Fletcher said he wasn’t trying to make a cinematic universe, but it is kind of a fun idea. If John Reid weren’t played by different actors in the two films, he could have acted as the Nick Fury to the musical Avengers. Maybe if Bohemian Rhapsody somehow gets a sequel, Taron Egerton can show up.
Rocketman is now playing in theaters. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to prep for all of the biggest film’s headed your way this summer.