Understandably, Comic-Con: International is different in 2020 than in years past. For the past decade or so, the world’s largest fan convention has evolved into the foremost place for every facet of the entertainment industry to promote their upcoming genre releases. However, with Comic-Con@Home being held virtually this year, there aren’t as many big releases being promoted. Thanks to that, one forthcoming film is taking center stage — Bill & Ted Face The Music! The long-awaited sequel’s release is only a month away, and as such, A Most Excellent SDCC 2020 Panel took place in the online Hall H of the virtual convention.
Kevin Smith hosted the panel consisting of creators/writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon; Bill & Ted Face the Music director Dean Parisot; and cast members Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Samara Weaving, and Brigette Lundy-Paine. Considering this rocking lineup, it was no surprise that its virtual design was also top-notch. Every individual participating in the panel was featured in the franchise’s iconic phone booth. Furthermore, the backdrop of what was, essentially, a Zoom conversation was the poster background and title treatment for the new film. As a result, it was by far the most visually interesting panel I’ve seen thus far from Comic-Con@Home.
Following a myriad of proper introductions, Smith mentioned he saw the film in advance of this panel, describing it as “emotional & adorable.” While I’m happy to hear this praise — as I am looking forward to this sequel — the real excellence in this panel came from providing a history of how Bill & Ted Face the Music came into being. Matheson and Solomon began by explaining the origins of the characters. Interestingly, they were originally portrayed by their creators for a comedy trope Matheson and Solomon were a part of. It was only after being encouraged by Matheson’s father, I Am Legend author Richard Matheson, that the young comedy writers decided to craft a screenplay centered on the duo.
Of course, a movie would require a different set of performers to play the titular team. Enter Reeves and Winter, who underwent a day-long audition for the roles which kicked off their careers. The actors and creators recalled their delight in seeing Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) embraced so enthusiastically by audiences upon its release. Thus, it’s no surprise a follow-up soon came to fruition. Had it been left up to MGM, this second installment would’ve merely been a rehash of the original. Thankfully though, the writers, backed by the actors, were able to force the studio into an ultimatum: Bill & Ted Go to Hell or no sequel at all. Alas, the studio did force the title to be changed to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) as they refused to release a PG-rated movie featuring “Hell” in the title.
While the new movie was the focus of this promotional panel, we didn’t get any fresh information. After all, the two trailers already let us know that Face the Music features the adult daughters of Bill & Ted, respectively, Thea Preston (Weaving) and Billie Logan (Lundy-Paine). The remainder of the panel consisted of the group talking about how fun it was to work on this new picture. \
Even still, the Most Excellent Panel made me look forward to Face the Music even more! (Although, I hate that I’m most likely going to end up watching it at home as opposed to theatrically.)
Bill & Ted Face the Music will be released on-demand & (hopefully) in select theaters on September 1.