Mel Brooks is finally making History of the World, Part II and we have info.
After over 40 years, we are getting a sequel to Mel Brooks‘ beloved History of the World, Part I, in which the beloved writer/director/actor satirized an enormous swathe of human history (plus pre-history). While many people are far past retirement age at 96, it appears that is the age at which the man behind the best Star Wars parody ever decides to continue one of his most ambitious projects ever with History of the World, Part II.
While the original History of the World, Part I was a theatrically released feature film, History of the World, Part II will premiere as a variety series on Hulu. We are here to explain what is known about the new project and what we can expect to see in it.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II IS A SEQUEL TO MEL BROOKS’ 1981 HISTORICAL SPOOF
The first History of the World movie was Mel Brooks’ seventh movie as a writer-director, the majority of which he also starred in. His previous movies had largely skewered the entertainment industry in some way, with his directorial debut The Producers taking aim at the theater, Blazing Saddles (which was co-written with the legendary Richard Pryor) spoofing film Westerns, Young Frankenstein acting as a loving homage to Universal Pictures horror, and Silent Movie making fun of, uh, silent movies.
In contrast, History of the World, Part I took (mostly) actual events, times, and places to task, largely in extremely fictionalized forms. In addition to Mel Brooks, the movie co-starred members of his regular troupe of actors, including Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, and Cloris Leachman, as well as other popular entertainers of the time period like Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, and Sid Caesar.
The movie also featured a number of cameos (as is Brooks’ habit) from notable cultural figures of the time, like Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner, Alien actor John Hurt, and stand-up comedian Jackie Mason.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II WILL STAR AN ENORMOUS COLLECTION OF COMEDY GREATS, INCLUDING DANNY DEVITO AND SETH ROGAN
Unsurprisingly, it seems that History of the World, Part II will also boast an impressive cast of comedic talent. Although Mel Brooks has not been creatively involved in a television project since 2008’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series (and hasn’t been involved in a film since the 2005 remake of The Producers), he is a legendary figure in comedy and it makes sense that a lot of people will be eager to be part of his biggest project in years.
History of the World, Part II will star Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, Jackass kingpin Johnny Knoxville, Schmigadoon‘s Dove Cameron, The X-Files‘ David Duchovny, Atlanta‘s Zazie Beetz, Abbot Elementary‘s Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams, Minx‘s Jake Johnson, Welcome to Chippendales‘ Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Ratajkowski, Somebody I Used to Know‘s Jay Ellis, Danny DeVito from everything, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Lauren Lapkus, and the great Jason Mantzoukas.
But it does not end there. The series will also include D’Arcy Carden, Ronny Chieng, Rob Corddry, Hannah Einbinder, Josh Gad, Kimiko Glenn, Brandon Kyle Goodman, Richard Kind, Jenifer Lewis, Poppy Liu, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Jack McBrayer, Zahn McClarnon, Charles Melton, Brock O’Hurn, Andrew Rannells, Sam Richardson, Nick Robinson, Timothy Simons, J.B. Smoove, David Wain, and Reggie Watts. While that is a whole lot of people, we have still not listed the entire announced cast.
At this point, it seems like History of the World, Part II will have a very overstuffed roster of actors. The actors listed above are only the ones that we know about so far, and it is very likely that the Hulu series will feature cameos and supporting appearances from even more notable figures.
MEL BROOKS IS WRITING, BUT NOT DIRECTING HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II
Mel Brooks is known for performing multiple roles in his projects, typically writing, directing, producing, and acting in his movies (and usually doing some song and dance, too). With the exception of 1974’s Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks has acted in and written every movie he has directed.
This time around, however, Books is neither directing nor appearing in History of the World, Part II. The series will be directed by David Stassen (best known for The Mindy Show and the Dwayne Johnson comedy Central Intelligence), who is also credited as a co-writer. Brooks and Stassen are both listed as producers of the show, in addition to stars Nick Kroll, Wanda Sykes, and Ike Barinholtz.
THE ORIGINAL HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART I COVERED FOUR DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS
The first movie covered four distinct time periods of human history via segments: the Stone Age, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and the French Revolution. Additionally, brief scenes cover Moses (Mel Brooks, naturally) receiving the Ten Commandments from God and Jesus Christ at the Last Supper.
Being a Mel Brooks movie, the depicted time periods involve everything from a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey that involves apes learning to masturbate, a Busby Berkeley-style musical explanation of the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition, and King Louis XVI describing what a pleasure it is to be a monarch (which eventually ended up as an extended rap remix). We can definitely expect History of the World, Part II to treat things with the same reverence.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II WILL PORTRAY A NUMBER OF REAL-LIFE FIGURES SUCH AS SIGMUND FREUD AND HARRIET TUBMAN
As can also be expected, many of the comic actors in History of the World, Part II will be portraying real-life figures, albeit in very exaggerated or counterfactual ways.
So far, we know that the series will feature Taika Waititi as Austrian psychiatry pioneer Sigmund Freud, Wanda Sykes as American Civil War-era hero Harriet Tubman, Jack Black as Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, Dove Cameron as Russian royal Princess Anastasia, Hannah Einbinder as Amelia Earhart, Josh Gad as William Shakespeare, and Jake Johnson as Marco Polo.
History of the World, Part I also included a number of fictional characters (mostly everyman types) to interact with the more famous names from different time periods, so we can expect that at least some of the cast will be doing the same.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II IS PREMIERING IN MARCH
History of the World, Part II will premiere on Hulu with two episodes on Monday, March 6. We already can’t wait.