Chevy Chase’s Best Movie Was Supposed To Get A Dark Sequel

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Ask a person their favorite Chevy Chase role, and you will get a different answer based off of how old they are, which is a testament to the long, storied career of the comic. To some people, Community’s Pierce Hawthorne was his best, but to most, he’s remembered as Clark Griswold, the downtrodden family patriarch that just wanted to take his family on the best possible vacation. Co-star of National Lampoon’s Family Vacation, Beverly D’Angelo, recently shared with Screen Rant details on the planned sequel that was never produced because it was just too dark for the franchise.

D’Angelo played Ellen Griswold, the patient on-screen wife of Chevy Chase, for the first four Vacation films. Each movie covers a different family vacation, from European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, and finally Vegas Vacation, though the unproduced film in the series was not going to feature a vacation at all, but rather, a wedding. Taking place after 1997’s Vegas Vacation, the film was going to center on Ellen and Clark road-tripping across the country to reach their daughter’s wedding, which sounds like a good premise, but the catch is that the film opens with the elder Griswolds getting a divorce.

Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo playing an old, divorced couple requested by their daughter to attend her wedding sounds like it would make a great movie. The actress described one of the problems in getting the film approved as “Hey, it’s about Clark and Ellen and that family. But there’s something about demographics, and I think they didn’t want old people in it or something.”

Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

By the mid-2000’s, Chevy Chase and D’Angelo were 20 years older than the first Vacation film and almost 10 years beyond Vegas Vacation. At the time, studios were not green-lighting comedies aimed at an older demographic, especially not one starring an older woman. According to the actress, another concern was that starting out showing a fan-favorite couple getting a divorce would be too dark and sad for what was, traditionally, a light-hearted comedy series.

All of that being said, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo’s plot for the unproduced sequel probably sounds really familiar right now. An older, divorced couple forced to get back together in order to attend a daughter’s wedding is the plot of the George Clooney and Julia Roberts film, Ticket to Paradise. What was considered too dark, sad, and aimed at the wrong demographic, is now available to watch in theaters across the country or streaming on Amazon Prime.

In recent years, the Chevy Chase franchise has seen two attempts at revival, first the Ed Helms reboot film, Vacation, and secondly, a Johnny Galecki (star of Christmas Vacation and The Big Bang Theory) produced series for HBO Max. After the reboot failed, the streaming series has seemingly stopped moving forward, with no public plans to continue. For now, fans of the classic comedies can catch them on streaming platforms while wondering just what could have been if the parent-focused road-trip sequel had become a reality.