Bill & Ted
|Bill & Ted|
DVD covers of the Bill & Ted films Excellent Adventure (left) and Bogus Journey
|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Produced by||Scott Kroopf|
Michael S. Murphey
|Written by||Chris Matheson|
|Music by||David Newman|
|February 17, 1989 – present|
|Box office||$78.5 million|
Bill & Ted is an American comedy film series featuring William "Bill" S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore "Ted" Logan (Keanu Reeves) as two metalhead slackers who travel through time. The first Bill & Ted film, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, was released on February 17, 1989, followed by a sequel two years later entitled Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. A third film, Bill & Ted Face the Music, started pre-production in May 2018. In addition to the films, the franchise has spawned both an animated television series (with Winter and Reeves reprising their roles) and a live-action television series in 1990 and 1992 respectively, video games, and comic books.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Films
- 3 Television
- 4 Cast and characters
- 5 Comics
- 6 Cereal
- 7 Musical
- 8 Video games
- 9 Halloween Horror Nights
- 10 References
The franchise is based on the characters of William "Bill" S. Preston Esq. (played by Alex Winter in the films) and Theodore "Ted" Logan (Keanu Reeves), two teenagers (as of 1989) living in San Dimas, California. Both are aspiring musicians, wanting to bring their own band "Wyld Stallyns" to fame, but both are also dim-witted. Unbeknownst to them, their music becomes the focal point for enlightenment that creates a utopian society in the far future. Leaders in the future, aware of the importance of Bill & Ted to complete school and bring their band to fame, send a representative, Rufus (George Carlin), back in time with a time machine that appears as a phone booth, and teaches them how to use it as to complete these key moments in their lives and assure the future utopia comes about.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Excellent Adventure introduces Bill and Ted who are trying to write a history report. Rufus arrives to provide them the time machine which allows them to travel back in time and meet historical figures and 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 the future.
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
Bogus Journey sees Bill and Ted being killed by robot doubles who capture their fiancées, and their attempts to get back from the afterlife by challenging the Grim Reaper to a series of games. Bill and Ted (along with the Grim Reaper) eventually return to present-day Earth just prior to the Wyld Stallyns' performance at the Battle of the Bands, which takes place later that night.
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
In 2010, Reeves indicated that Matheson and Solomon were working on a script for a third film. Winter has stated that the role of Rufus (previously played by the late George Carlin) would not be recast.
In April 2011, Reeves stated that a third film was close to happening. On April 24, 2011, Winter tweeted that the script for the third installment had been finished. The plot was suspected to be about Bill and Ted writing a song that could save the world, although in a pre-San Diego Comic-Con International interview, Alex Winter stated the storyline may also involve time travel to the prehistoric era, and the film would likely see a cameo by Eddie Van Halen as well as the return of Socrates and Billy the Kid, who appeared in the first movie.
The current script does not feature William Sadler reprising his role as the Grim Reaper, but the screenwriters are looking for a way to include him, and Sadler has expressed interest in returning to the role. In August 2012, director Dean Parisot of Galaxy Quest and Red 2 was attached to direct. In March 2013, at the SXSW Film Festival, Winter confirmed progress on the film was still moving forward.
In August 2013, when asked about a third film, Reeves replied, "There have been a couple of drafts [of a Bill & Ted 3 script] and right now, we're waiting on the writers to come up with another draft. But we're all very excited." In an October 20, 2013 Reddit AMA, Reeves revealed that he has seen the script for Bill & Ted 3, stating, "We are working on trying to get Bill & Ted 3. There's a script and we are trying to put it together."
In a September 2014 interview with Yahoo! Movies, Winter revealed more details on the plot, stating that "[Bill and Ted] will be 40-something and it's all about Bill and Ted grown up, or not grown up". Winter also stated that the film would not be a reboot of the franchise, stating that "it's a Bill & Ted movie, that's what it is. It's for the fans of Bill & Ted. It fits very neatly in the [series]. It's not going to feel like a reboot." On the March 2015 episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, Reeves confirmed that Bill & Ted 3 is still being planned, stating, "Yes, they want to do that. The writers wrote a script, which is a really cool idea and Alex Winter and I – Alex played Bill, I played Ted – so we're trying to get it made".
Reeves gave an update on the film in February 2017 during an interview on The Graham Norton Show saying the story was written and discussed the plot of the film. “Basically, they’re supposed to write a song to save the world and they haven’t done that. The pressure of having to save the world, their marriages are falling apart, their kids are kind of mad at them, and then someone comes from the future and tells them if they don’t write the song it’s just not the world, it’s the universe. So they have to save the universe because time is breaking apart” Reeves said. During the New York City Comic Convention, Reeves revealed that the title will be Bill & Ted Face the Music.
Solomon, speaking to Digital Spy in January 2018, said of the film's long pre-production period:
We have a script that we really are proud of, that we worked very hard on, that we've done many iterations of – and we did it on spec, meaning we spent years working on it because we wanted to get it right, creatively. This is not, 'Hey let's all cash-in on the Bill & Ted thing for money' – this is the opposite. This is, 'We love these characters, they've been with us for our whole lives' – Chris and me, and Alex and Keanu – and we wanted to visit them again as middle-aged men. We thought it would be really fun, and funny, and sweet.— Ed Solomon
Solomon further stated that they have had issues getting financing for the film as those they have approached want to see a reboot of Bill & Ted, rather than a sequel, and had also expressed concerns that since the first film was not distributed internationally, there would not be a large audience for this film. Solomon said that elements of the script would see the middle-aged Bill & Ted revisiting events of the first film, such as watching their interactions outside of the Circle K. Solomon confirmed that they have Steven Soderbergh aboard for production of the film, along with Scott Kroopf, who produced the original films. They also have planned for Bill Sadler to return as the Grim Reaper.
Pre-production of Face the Music was started in May 2018, with both Reeves and Winter confirmed to return to reprise their roles. The United States distribution will be handled by MGM under their Orion Pictures label. The international distribution rights are expected to be determined during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, with Bloom Media negotiating these rights.
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.
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.
Cast and characters
|Character||Films||Animated series||Television series|
|Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure||Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey||Bill & Ted Face the Music||Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures||Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures|
|Bill S. Preston, Esq.||Alex Winter||Alex Winter
|Theodore "Ted" Logan||Keanu Reeves||Keanu Reeves
|Rufus||George Carlin||George Carlin
|Mr. Preston||J. Patrick McNamara||Don Lake|
|Missy Preston||Amy Stock-Poynton||Lisa Wilcox|
|Captain Johnathan "John" Logan||Hal Landon Jr.||Matt Landers|
|Billy the Kid||Dan Shor|
|Mr. Ryan||Bernie Casey||Bernie Casey|
|Princess Joanna||Diane Franklin||Sarah Trigger||Kath Soucie|
|Princess Elizabeth||Kimberley Kates||Annette Azcuy|
|Deacon Logan||Frazier Bain||Danny Cooksey|
|The Grim Reaper||William Sadler|
|Chuck De Nomolos||Joss Ackland|
|Ms. Wardroe||Pam Grier|
- Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.
A one-shot comic book adaptation of the sequel was published to coincide with the second film's release. Its popularity led to the series Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book by Evan Dorkin and produced by Marvel Comics.
A cereal based on the cartoon adaptation. It was made by the now-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 feature in an annual live-action show at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood during Halloween Horror Nights. Typically the show will parody 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.
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- "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Musical - Overview".
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- Nichols, James (24 October 2013). "Do You Think Universal Studios Should Have Canceled This Controversial Halloween Show?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Child, Ben (24 October 2013). "Bill and Ted Halloween show cancelled over 'gay Superman' complaints". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Bevil, Dewayne (September 20, 2017). "Universal: Why it's farewell for 'Bill & Ted'". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved January 3, 2018.