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After decades of waiting, Bill and Ted return to theaters and Paid VOD today. This story has spoilers for their new sequel. Don’t read it unless you have seen Bill and Ted Face the Music. Cool? Excellent.
Ed Solomon knows Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) better than they know themselves. He and co-screenwriter Chris Matheson cooked up the fledgling rockers back in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He’s catching back up with them decades later for Bill & Ted Face the Music. And he had a somber ending in store for the duo, one that he changed during the writing process.
At the end of Face the Music, Bill and Ted’s daughters, Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), are the ones who compose the song that saves the universe. Granted, they recruit an all-star band of history’s greatest musicians to do it. But that was the hook of this new comedy. As Ed Solomon tells me for the latest ReelBlend podcast, that wasn’t always the plan. He states:
The ending changed a lot. Our original ending in this movie was a very somber, very quiet one in our very first draft. It was very personal. There was no reality coming unglued. It was, Bill and Ted had -- in an act of incredible hubris 30 years ago -- spent a hundred thousand dollars to rent the Rose Bowl for their 30 year anniversary. Assuming it would be just packed, and they’d do a triumphant 30 year reunion tour, or 30 year anniversary tour. And now it's getting close to that, and they've sold literally zero tickets because their careers tanked, But they still have to perform at the Rose Bowl, or at least go there. We had a scene where they go and try to get their money back from the Rose Bowl. And they're like, ‘No! Not possible.’ And we actually brought the movie to the end of the Rose Bowl, and it was empty, and no one was ever there and they failed. They failed. They never came up with the song. And they go home. And then, they just hear this music playing, and they realize it was never them. It was never them. It was their kids. And that was our original ending.
In a way, that ending fits. A chunk of Bill & Ted Face the Music is dedicated to the main characters coming to terms with the harsh reality that they did NOT succeed in writing the song of destiny that unites the galaxies. So a melancholic, downbeat ending in an empty Rose Bowl would have been on brand.
That felt too small. And if you look back at both movies, Bogus and Excellent Adventure, we had smaller endings that had to get reshot because audiences were like, ‘Come on, man! He's let us down.’ We build and build and build. And then, like, the first movie ended in a classroom instead of an auditorium. And the second movie ended in a smaller venue. I don't remember. But we reshot both endings. So we said, ‘Let's be smart and know that we aren't going to necessarily be able to reshoot this ending or don't want to just reshoot it again.’