Bill & Ted
|Bill & Ted|
|Produced by||Scott Kroopf|
|Written by||Chris Matheson |
|Budget||$51.5 million (3 films)|
|Box office||$116.6 million (3 films)|
Bill & Ted is an American science fiction comedy film series created by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. It features William "Bill" S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan, portrayed by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively, two metalhead slacker friends who travel through time. The series spans three films: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), and Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). The series has been mainly produced by Scott Kroopf.
There have been numerous spin-offs, including an animated television series (with Winter and Reeves reprising their roles), a live-action television series in 1992, video games and comic books. Originally released and co-produced by Orion Pictures, ownership moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer following the purchase of Orion in 1997, and MGM has been the main licensee and distributor since. The series has grossed $79 million and received generally positive reviews from critics.
The series follows the pair of William "Bill" S. Preston Esq. (played by Alex Winter in the films) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves), initially two idiotic teenagers living in San Dimas, California in 1988. They want to make their rock band, "Wyld Stallyns", successful but their ambitions and lackadaisical attitudes leaves them close to flunking out of high school and threatening to split the band up forever. Unknown to them, their music will form the basis of a utopian society in the future. The leaders of this society send Rufus (George Carlin) to help Bill & Ted pass school with the aid of a time machine, that appears as a phone booth, to make sure they pass and assure the future. Later films focus on attempts by others to break up Bill & Ted so that their music will never lead to the utopia.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Excellent Adventure introduces Bill and Ted who are trying to write a history report. Rufus, a guide from the year 2688, arrives to provide them the time machine which allows them to travel back in time and meet historical figures in order to learn about key historical events. If Bill and Ted fail to pass, their teacher will have to flunk them and Ted's father will transfer him to an Alaskan military academy, which will lead to Wyld Stallyns never forming, in turn destroying a Utopian future built around their music.
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
In Bogus Journey, Chuck De Nomolos, a resident of the utopia, is sick of it and sends a pair of Bill & Ted robot doubles back into the past to kill Bill and Ted and make a future based on his ideals. Bill & Ted are killed, face the Grim Reaper, and manage to best him at several games, giving them the opportunity to find allies to stop their robot doubles and De Nomolos before an upcoming Battle of the Bands where they must also rescue the princesses they are engaged to and start their musical careers.
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
Bill and Ted are now middle age parents, yet to realize the music that the future Utopian society will follow. They are warned by the Great Leader and Rufus's daughter Kelly from the future that they only have a short time in their present to create the great song or reality will collapse. Bill and Ted decide to travel to their future to try to find their song, but are hunted by a time-travelling robot. Kelly warns their teenaged daughters, Billie and Thea, about their plight, and the two go off into the past to help create a band to make the great song for their fathers in time.
Possible fourth film
Shortly before the release of Face the Music, Winter and Reeves discussed the possibility of a fourth Bill & Ted movie, the latter telling Rachel Smith of Entertainment Tonight that it would be "up to the fans." When asked in an interview with DiscussingFilm in August 2020 if the characters of Billie and Thea could result in a sequel or spin-off film, writer Ed Solomon stated, "It wasn't when we were first writing it, but as we saw Brigette and Samara inhabit these roles, I thought for sure if there was interest and people wanted to carry this forward, the Bill & Ted spirit, I would absolutely let those characters carry it forward. I think we've finished with the Alex and Keanu Bill & Ted story. I think it's done, but if people were interested in a Billie & Thea continuation, I think it'd be cool."
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990–1991)
The first season was produced by Hanna-Barbera and ran for 13 episodes on CBS in 1990, featured the voices of Carlin, Winter and Reeves returning to their roles in the film. A second season of eight episodes ran on Fox Kids and was produced by DIC Entertainment, with none of the original cast.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1992)
A later live-action series, featuring none of the cast from the film, included Christopher Kennedy as Bill and Evan Richards as Ted (who also voiced the same roles in the animated season produced by DIC). This version aired seven episodes in 1992 on Fox. William Sadler additionally reprised his role as the Grim Reaper in "The Assassin", a 1994 episode of Tales from the Crypt.
Cast and crew
|Character||Films||Animated series||Television series|
|Bill & Ted's
|Bill & Ted's
|Bill & Ted
Face the Music
|Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures||Bill & Ted's|
|Season 1||Season 2|
|William "Bill" S. Preston, Esquire||Alex Winter||Alex Winter||Alex Winter||Evan Richards|
|Ted "Theodore" Logan||Keanu Reeves||Keanu Reeves||Keanu Reeves||Christopher Kennedy|
|Rufus||George Carlin||George Carlin||George Carlin
|George Carlin||Rick Overton|
(Ms. Wardroe disguise)
|Captain Johnathan "John" Logan||Hal Landon Jr.||Peter Renaday||Unspecified voice actor||Matt Landers|
|Missy (née De Nomolos, Logan, Preston)||Amy Stoch||Unspecified voice actor||Lisa Wilcox|
|Princess Joanna Preston||Kimberley Kates||Sarah Trigger||Jayma Mays||Kath Soucie|
|Princess Elizabeth Logan||Diane Franklin||Annette Azcuy||Erinn Hayes|
|Mr. Preston||J. Patrick McNamara||Unspecified voice actor||Don Lake|
|Deacon Logan||Frazier Bain||Beck Bennett||Danny Cooksey|
|Mr. Ryan||Bernie Casey||Bernie Casey|
|Napoleon Bonaparte||Terry Camilleri|
|Billy the Kid||Dan Shor|
|Abraham Lincoln||Robert V. Barron|
|Sigmund Freud||Rod Loomis|
|Genghis Khan||Al Leong|
|Joan of Arc||Jane Wiedlin|
|Ludwig van Beethoven||Clifford David|
The Grim Reaper
|Theodora "Thea" Preston||Candace Mead
|Wilhelmina "Billie" Logan||Lauren Mead
|Thomas Edison||Hal Landon Sr.||Unspecified voice actor|
|Albert Einstein||John Ehrin||Arte Johnson|
|Station||Ed Gale & Gil Arturo|
(big suit actor)
(stunt double; uncredited)
|Evil William "Bill" S. Preston Esquire||Alex Winter|
|Evil Ted "Theodore" Logan||Keanu Reeves|
|Chuck De Nomolos||Joss Ackland|
|Colonel Oats||Chelcie Ross|
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart||Daniel Dorr||Kath Soucie|
|Babe Ruth||Reece Loustalot||Unspecified voice actor|
|George Washington||William Harris|
|The Great Leader||Holland Taylor|
|Dennis Caleb McCoy||Anthony Carrigan|
|Jimi Hendrix||DazMann Still|
|Louis Armstrong||Jeremiah Craft|
|Ling Lun||Sharon Gee|
|Grom||Patty Anne Miller|
|Elvis Presley||Deleted scene||Todd McDurmont|
- Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.
|Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure||Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey||Bill & Ted Face the Music|
|Director(s)||Stephen Herek||Pete Hewitt||Dean Parisot|
Michael S. Murphey
|Scott Kroopf||Scott Kroopf|
|Composer(s)||David Newman||Mark Isham|
|David Finfer||Don Zimmerman|
|Cinematographer(s)||Tim Suhrstedt||Oliver Wood||Shelly Johnson|
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Budget||Ref.|
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide|
|Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure||February 13, 1989||$40,485,039||$22,397||$40,507,436||$6.5 million|||
|Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey||July 19, 1991||$38,037,513||N/A||$38,037,513||$20 million|||
|Bill & Ted Face the Music||August 28, 2020||$20,439,660||$18,649,423||$38,109,083||$25 million|||
Critical and public response
|Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure||81% (52 reviews)||50 (16 reviews)||N/A|
|Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey||57% (53 reviews)||60 (10 reviews)||B+|
|Bill & Ted Face the Music||82% (248 reviews)||66 (39 reviews)||N/A|
DC Comics produced a tie-in comic following the plot of the first movie timed to coincide with that film's release on home video. The sequel was adapted by DC's competitor Marvel Comics, published to coincide with the second film's release in theaters. Its popularity led to the ongoing Marvel series Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book by Evan Dorkin, which lasted for 12 issues.
A cereal based on the animated series adaptation. It was made by the defunct Ralston Purina. It was short-lived, like the cartoon and it included many giveaways and promotions.
A musical based on the film was produced in 1998 called Bill and Ted's Excellent Musical Adventure.
There were also Game Boy, NES and Atari Lynx games released, which were very loosely based on the film's plot. A PC title and nearly identical Amiga and Commodore 64 port were made in 1991 by Off the Wall Productions and IntraCorp, Inc. under contract by Capstone Software and followed the original film very closely.
A video game for the Atari Lynx handheld based on the Bill & Ted films and the Saturday morning cartoon.
Halloween Horror Nights
Bill & Ted also featured in an annual live-action show at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood during Halloween Horror Nights. Typically the show parodied the past year's worth of notable pop culture events, featuring locally cast performers as the title characters.
In 2013, the Universal Studios Hollywood Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show was cancelled following allegations by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete from Vice of homophobia and racism in that year's show. The show continued at Universal Studios Florida, until 2017.
- "Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Tease the Possibility of a Fourth 'Bill & Ted' Film". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
- Boone, John (August 25, 2020). "Keanu Reeves Says 'Matrix 4' Is 'Something Very Special' (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
- Gilmore, Frankie (August 31, 2020). "Ed Solomon on Honoring the Past and Present in 'Bill & Ted Face the Music' – Exclusive Interview". DiscussingFilm. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
- Herbert, Steven (June 28, 1992). "Bill and Ted Make It to Prime Time, City Doesn't". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- "Exclusive: 'Bill & Ted 3' Co-Writer Ed Solomon on the Story, New Characters, and More". Collider.com. May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Solomon, Ed [@ed_solomon] (June 15, 2019). "The actors who played Little Bill and Little Ted in Bogus Journey were named Candace and Lauren Mead" (Tweet). Retrieved June 16, 2019 – via Twitter.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". Box Office Mojo. August 29, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Bogus Adventure (1991)". Box Office Mojo. August 29, 2020.
- Rottenberg, Josh (August 29, 2020). "How the team behind 'Bill & Ted Face the Music' assembled a band that could save the universe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
- "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
- "BILL AND TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY (1991) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
- "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
- "Bill & Ted Face the Music Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - Collectibles - Books, Comics & Trading Cards - Excellent Adventure Comic Book". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Comics - Marvel Comics - Issues". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Comics - Look In! - Overview". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Bill and Ted's Most Triumphant Return TPB (2016 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
- "Bill and Ted Go to Hell TPB (2017 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
- "Bill and Ted Save the Universe TPB (2019 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Musical - Overview".
- Taete, Jamie Lee Curtis (October 17, 2013). "The Bill and Ted Show at Universal Studios Is Super Homophobic (and Also Racist and Terrible)". VICE. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "Bill & Ted's Show". Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Studios Hollywood. October 31, 2013. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013.
- Taete, Jamie Lee Curtis (October 23, 2013). "Universal Studios Canceled Their Homophobic/Racist/Terrible Bill and Ted Show". VICE. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- Nichols, James (October 24, 2013). "Do You Think Universal Studios Should Have Canceled This Controversial Halloween Show?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- Child, Ben (October 24, 2013). "Bill and Ted Halloween show cancelled over 'gay Superman' complaints". The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- Bevil, Dewayne (September 20, 2017). "Universal: Why it's farewell for 'Bill & Ted'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 3, 2018.