Bill & Ted

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.

Bill & Ted
BillAndTedDoubleFeature.jpg
DVD covers of the Bill & Ted films Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey
Produced byScott Kroopf
Written byChris Matheson
Ed Solomon
StarringAlex Winter
Keanu Reeves
Production
company
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$51.5 million (3 films)
Box office$80.9 million (3 films)

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.

SettingEdit

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.

FilmsEdit

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)Edit

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)Edit

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)Edit

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 her 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 filmEdit

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."[1][2] 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."[3]

ReceptionEdit

Box office performanceEdit

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[4] [5]
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey July 19, 1991 $38,037,513 N/A $38,037,513 $20 million[6] [7]
Bill & Ted Face the Music August 28, 2020 $3,439,660 $2,649,423 $6,089,083 $25 million[8][9] [10]
Total $81,962,212 $2,671,820 $84,634,032 $51.5 million

Critical responseEdit

Critical response
Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure 81% (52 reviews)[11] 50 (16 reviews)[12] N/A
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey 57% (53 reviews)[13] 60 (10 reviews)[14] B+[15]
Bill & Ted Face the Music 82% (224 reviews)[16] 66 (39 reviews)[17] N/A

TelevisionEdit

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990–1991)Edit

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)Edit

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).[18] 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 crewEdit

CastEdit

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
Season 1 Season 2
1989 1991 2020 1990 1991 1992
William "Bill" S. Preston, Esquire Alex Winter Alex Winter Alex Winter Evan Richards
William Throne
(young)
Billy Slaughter
(young)
Ted "Theodore" Logan Keanu Reeves Keanu Reeves Keanu Reeves Christopher Kennedy
Brendan Ryan
(young)
Jared Bankens
(young)
Rufus George Carlin George Carlin George Carlin
(archive footage)
George Carlin Rick Overton
Pam Grier
(Ms. Wardroe disguise)
Piotr Michael
(voice)
Captain Johnathan "John" Logan Hal Landon Jr. Peter Renaday Unspecified voice actor Matt Landers
Missy Logan (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
Officer Deacon Logan Frazier Bain Beck Bennett Danny Cooksey
Mr. Ryan Bernie Casey Bernie Casey
Napoleon Bonaparte Terry Camilleri
Billy the Kid Dan Shor
Socrates Tony Steedman
Abraham Lincoln Robert V. Barron
Sigmund Freud Rod Loomis
Genghis Khan Al Leong
Joan of Arc Jane Wiedlin
Ludwig van Beethoven Clifford David
Death
The Grim Reaper
William Sadler
Theodora "Thea" Preston[19] Candace Mead[20]
(uncredited)
Samara Weaving
Wilhelmina "Billie" Logan[19] Lauren Mead[20]
(uncredited)
Brigette Lundy-Paine
Thomas Edison Hal Landon Sr. Unspecified voice actor
Albert Einstein John Ehrin Arte Johnson
Station Ed Gale & Gil Arturo
Tom Allard
(big suit actor)
Frank Welker
(voice)
Tony Cox
(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
Kelly Kristen Schaal
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[21] Todd McDurmont
Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.

CrewEdit

Occupation Films
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Bill & Ted Face the Music
Director(s) Stephen Herek Pete Hewitt Dean Parisot
Producer(s) Scott Kroopf
Michael S. Murphey
Joel Soisson
Scott Kroopf Scott Kroopf
Alex Lebovici
David Haring
Steve Ponce
Ed Solomon
Alex Winter
Writers Chris Matheson
Ed Solomon
Composer(s) David Newman Mark Isham
Editor(s) Larry Bock
Patrick Rand
David Finfer Don Zimmerman
Cinematographer(s) Tim Suhrstedt Oliver Wood Shelly Johnson

Other mediaEdit

ComicsEdit

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.[22] 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.[23]

There was a weekly 2/4 page semi-adaptation of the animated series published for a year by UK's defunct Look-In Magazine from 1991 to 1992.[24]

In 2015, Boom! Comics revived the franchise in comic form with Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return.[25] That success of that miniseries led to two additional miniseries.[26][27]

CerealEdit

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.

MusicalEdit

A musical based on the film was produced in 1998 called Bill and Ted's Excellent Musical Adventure.[28]

Video gamesEdit

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.

Home computerEdit

A single player graphic adventure PC game based on the 1989 film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. It was released by Capstone for DOS, Commodore 64, and Amiga systems in 1990.

Game BoyEdit

An action-puzzle game loosely based on Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Atari LynxEdit

A video game for the Atari Lynx handheld based on the Bill & Ted films and the Saturday morning cartoon.

NESEdit

An action-adventure video game based on Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure that was released in North America by LJN for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

MobileEdit

Wyld Stallyns is an action-RPG video game based on the Bill & Ted universe was released by Built Games in 2018 for iOS and Android devices.

Halloween Horror NightsEdit

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.[29][30][31][32][33] The show continued at Universal Studios Florida, until 2017.[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Tease the Possibility of a Fourth 'Bill & Ted' Film". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  2. ^ Boone, John (August 25, 2020). "Keanu Reeves Says 'Matrix 4' Is 'Something Very Special' (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". Box Office Mojo. August 29, 2020.
  6. ^ "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "Bill & Ted's Bogus Adventure (1991)". Box Office Mojo. August 29, 2020.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  11. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  12. ^ "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  13. ^ "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "BILL AND TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY (1991) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  16. ^ "Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Bill & Ted Face the Music Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  18. ^ Herbert, Steven (June 28, 1992). "Bill and Ted Make It to Prime Time, City Doesn't". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Exclusive: 'Bill & Ted 3' Co-Writer Ed Solomon on the Story, New Characters, and More". Collider.com. May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  20. ^ a b 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.
  21. ^ https://collider.com/bill-and-ted-3-face-the-music-interview-ed-solomon-chris-matheson-elvis-cameo/
  22. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - Collectibles - Books, Comics & Trading Cards - Excellent Adventure Comic Book". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  23. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Comics - Marvel Comics - Issues". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  24. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Comics - Look In! - Overview". www.billandted.org. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "Bill and Ted's Most Triumphant Return TPB (2016 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
  26. ^ "Bill and Ted Go to Hell TPB (2017 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
  27. ^ "Bill and Ted Save the Universe TPB (2019 Boom Studios) comic books". MyComicShop.com.
  28. ^ "Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure - The Musical - Overview".
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Bill & Ted's Show". Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Studios Hollywood. October 31, 2013. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013.
  31. ^ Taete, Jamie Lee Curtis (October 23, 2013). "Universal Studios Canceled Their Homophobic/Racist/Terrible Bill and Ted Show". VICE. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  32. ^ Nichols, James (October 24, 2013). "Do You Think Universal Studios Should Have Canceled This Controversial Halloween Show?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  33. ^ Child, Ben (October 24, 2013). "Bill and Ted Halloween show cancelled over 'gay Superman' complaints". The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  34. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (September 20, 2017). "Universal: Why it's farewell for 'Bill & Ted'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 3, 2018.