It may have taken Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter nearly twenty years to bring their threequel to the big screen but it was worth the wait. Now that it has finally hit the small screen, it is climbing the Hulu charts as it sits at #8 as the most-watched film on the streaming service.
When we catch up to our laid-back heroes in Bill & Ted Face the Music, they are, believe it or not, middle-aged parents. But as middle-aged parents, they have yet to create the song that is prophesied to unite the world. This is going to be an issue.
The Great Leader (Holland Taylor) and Rufus’s (the late George Carlin from the first two films) daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) warn Bill and Ted that if they don’t present their song in short order (by 7:17 pm that same evening), reality as they know it will collapse.
After all these years of being unable to create such a song, Bill and Ted fear they will not be able to create one in time, so they decide to use their time-traveling phone booth to travel in the future to their future selves to get the song. When they get there, though, they quickly realize they failed, their wives have ditched them, and future Bill and Ted blame past Bill and Ted for their failures.
The Great Leader is impatient, also not believing Bill and Ted will be able to create song and harmony. So, she sends out a time-traveling robot named Dennis to kill our heroes. Kelly travels to the present time to warn Bill and Ted but instead meets Bill’s daughter Thea (Samara Weaving) and Ted’s daughter Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) who decide they need to help create the song.
Now Billie and Thea jump into the time-traveling phone booth, heading to the past to find great musicians and bring them to the present. They recruit Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ling Lun, and Grom, a prehistoric drummer but when they get to the present, Dennis arrives and accidentally kills them, sending them all to Hell.
Meanwhile, Bill and Ted find their elder selves in the future, who are now on their deathbeds. The elders give the youngers a USB drive that contains the famed song by “Preston and Logan,” telling their younger selves the song must be played at 7:17 tonight at the MP 46 road marker.
Just as the younger, middle-aged Bill and Ted get ready to return to their present, Dennis arrives to inform them of his blunder. In turn, Bill destroys the USB marker, hoping a distraught Dennis will kill them so they can go to Hell and rescue their daughters.
Instead, Dennis turns his weapon on himself, intending to end his own life. Bill and Ted throw themselves in front of Dennis’s beam, sending all three to Hell. Their, Bill and Ted find their daughters and the rest of the musicians but first must make amends with an old bandmate, Death (William Sadler).
With time running short, reality collapsing, and the song still in hand, do Bill and Ted, Billie and Thea, and the rest of the musicians have enough time to play their song?
Bill & Ted Face the Music was a long time coming. The second film in the series, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, wasn’t as popular as the original, so the idea of a third film was not an immediate thought by the film’s stars.
It wasn’t until around 2005 when Keanu Reeves was asked if he’d ever had an interest in playing Ted again and when Reeves answered with an enthusiastic yes, he, Winters, and the first two movie’s writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon began to cook up ideas for a possible third movie.
One thing Solomon wanted the world to know as they worked on the script that would become Bill & Ted Face the Music was that the film was not a “money grab”. “We have a script that we really are proud of,” Solomon said via Digital Spy, “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.”
To play Bill and Ted’s daughters, director Dean Parisot chose Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) and Brigette Lundy-Paine, who identifies as gender non-binary, and whose goal in the film was to represent a genderlessness to their role.
“As a nonbinary person, I definitely bring a nonbinary genderlessness to whatever character I’m playing, if the role allows for it,” said Lundy-Paine via Advocate. “And because Bill & Ted is is so innocent, then the genderlessness was sort of allowed to flourish in that setting.”
Not only were Lundy-Paine and Weaving allowed to choose their own wardrobe to present that look, but Lundy-Paine also has an idea of what they wish for their future. “I want to play hot boys,” they said. “So whoever is responsible for writing hot boy movies, hit me up.”
Keanu Reeves was eager to get back to playing loveable Theodore Logan. In a career that has seen as many downs as it had ups, Ted represents one of the highs for Reeves. He first created the character back in 1989 to much fanfare, following it up by playing pretty much the same character in the ensemble Parenthood.
Reeves would tackle Ted again two years later and though it wasn’t as popular as the first, he was well on his way to making a big name for himself in Hollywood.
Keanu Reeves would then find roles in films like My Own Private Idaho, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Speed, A Walk in the Clouds, Feeling Minnesota, and The Devil’s Advocate before his first big franchise hit.
The Matrix was a smash for Keanu Reeves and led to The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. While the Matrix franchise was huge for Reeves, his film choices following Revolutions began to take their toll on his career.
Up and down it went until another franchise presented itself to Keanu Reeves. John Wick. This one reaffirmed Reeves’s place in Hollywood, leading to two other very popular John Wick films.
Fans have been waiting patiently, but The Matrix 4 is right around the corner, Expectations are high for this one, let’s see if Reeves and company can deliver.
Not to be outdone, Reeves’ John Wick franchise is also ready to continue. John Wick: Chapter 4 is currently filming with John Wick: Chapter 5 rolling right after that. Keanu Reeves has no problem giving fans what they want, even stating that if there is an actual story for it, he would love to come back as Ted for the fourth time.
For now, you can catch the further adventures of Bill & Ted as they face the music on Hulu.