It has been decades since audiences last saw Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) completing their Bogus Journey and learning to play instruments so they finally could compose the song that would unite the world in harmony. This has been their destiny ever since the two meet Rufus (George Carlin) outside of a Circle K in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But if you recalled, when Bill and Ted returned from their musical education at the end of Bogus Journey, they also had babies… named Bill and Ted.
I assumed that Bill and Ted had baby boys. So, apparently, did series co-creator Ed Solomon, who also wrote the new Bill and Ted Face the Music, opening on August 28. Solomon has been with Bill and Ted since day one, and likely knows them better than they know themselves. So when I had the chance to interview him about the new movie, and the series’ legacy, I asked if they gender swapped the kids from Bogus Journey to now be played, in 2020, by Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine. Solomon confessed:
I’d like to pretend they were always girls. They weren’t always girls. We assumed, because we were adolescent boys when we wrote Excellent Adventure, and we were barely post-adolescent boys when we wrote Bogus Journey, of course we assumed they were going to be boys. They happened to be played by girls, interestingly. Candace and Lauren Mead played those characters. But regardless, look, we were immature adolescent males. And so we wrote an immature adolescent male fantasy. 30 years pass. Life changes. The world changes. We change, we grow up, we get married, we have children, we have sons, we have daughters. And of course our culture evolves, as it should.
But we still, in 2009 and 2010, we thought, ‘Let’s write them as boys.’ Because that’s what we figured! Young Will and Theo. And I cannot tell you how boring they work. Oh God derivative. Stale. We tried to give them like Bill and Ted type voices. Just unbelievably like rehashed crap. We hated it. We tried to make them into cool guys. That was stupid. And then when we finally had the idea a few years later, ‘Wait, why are we beating our heads against the wall with this? What if they had daughters? What if it’s Billie and Thea?’ It just opened it up completely. So that's much better idea. And it helped us with something we were trying and to do anyway with the movie, which is -- the first two movies, they are male centric. They were written by boys who knew no better. And so this also gave us a chance to go, ‘Let’s just widen it, man. Let’s like, let there be more of a female presence and just make it more inclusive.’
There’s no way to know how different Bill and Ted Face the Music might have been if they cast sons instead of daughters in the third adventure. I’m going to trust Ed Solomon when he tells us that it just didn’t work, on any level.
But having seen the movie, I can confirm that Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine are excellent continuations of the loveable “heroes” we followed in the first two Bill and Ted movies. They personify the wonder and ingenuity that sets Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) apart from other movie duos. And it’s clear that the main characters wouldn’t be ready to face the music if not for the support of their daughters.