I’m not sure how the pitch got past “two stoner dudes that don’t smoke travel back in time via a phone booth…” for 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but holy shit I am glad that it did. Otherwise, we would have never known we were pronouncing Socrates incorrectly or that Napolean can put away giant ice cream sundaes like nobody’s business. That would have been a damned shame.
Actually, cocaine is probably the answer to why the pitch was allowed to continue.
Anyway, it was announced earlier today that the mystically forever young duo of Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves would be returned to the shaggy-haired roles of Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan in Bill & Ted 3. Before we reunite with the Wyld Stallyns themselves, we must steep ourselves in the nostalgia and these facts about the film.
1. The original time-traveling machine in the script was a Chevy van, but no one wanted it to look like they were ripping off Back to the Future. They instead used a phone booth and most people didn’t think, “Hey, they ripped that off from Doctor Who” since it was 1989 and I was only ten years old, for fart’s sake. I DID NOT KNOW.
2. Napoleon (Terry Camilleri) gives a presentation about water slides at the end of the film for Bill and Ted’s history report. He shows maps that are actually showing the French invasion of Russia.
3. Kenneth Grayson won the photo booth from the movie in a giveaway by Nintendo Power Magazine to publicize a Bill & Ted video game. He did an AMA for reddit seven years ago and revealed that he had sex twice in the booth, he still owned it at the time, and it was in his garage under a tarp.
4. The word “dude” is said 70 times and “excellent” is used 30 times. The movie is only 90 minutes long. I would math it out, but no.
5. History teachers wrote to Winter to thank him for presenting history in a way their students would enjoy. English teachers wrote him to scold the characters’ use of language.
6. Pauly Shore auditions for the part of Ted, but Reeves was thankfully cast instead. In another timeline, do you think Shore was cast and now has Reeves’ career? Me either.
7. Bill and Ted were originally conceived in an improv class by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson. There was a third dude, Bob, but he grew disinterested in the premise and the character was dropped.
8. Solomon and Matheson wrote the Bill & Ted script in four days. It was hand-written by the two in coffee shops and reproductions of some of the notebook pages were included in the 25th-anniversary box set of Excellent Adventure and Bogus Adventure.
9. Reeves and Winter nicknamed the time-traveling phone booth “The Death Box” because it sucked so badly to film inside of it.
10. Sean Penn, Brendan Fraser, and River Phoenix auditioned to play Bill. Not-Bill Fraser later teamed with Not-Ted Pauly Shore in Encino Man.
11. Writer Matheson’s father is Richard Matheson, the author of sci-fi classic I Am Legend.
12. Supposedly, Rufus wasn’t cast until filming on the movie had already begun. Initially the production sought out a Serious Actor in the vein of Sean Connery (he was serious at that time I guess) to play the part. Someone suggested George Carlin and he luckily accepted the role.