You can keep your Terminators and Doctor Whos — when it comes to time travelers, there can be only one. (Well, two.) To kids of a certain age, the bodacious boys from San Dimas were the only time travelers that mattered. With their hit film, “bogus” sequel, and Saturday morning cartoon, these SoCal slackers taught us to always be most excellent to each other. With Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey airing this month on IFC, we thought we’d take a most outrageous trip through some of the weirdest, wildest facts about the movie. Party on, dudes!
10. Sean Connery Almost Played Rufus.
The studio initially wanted someone like Sean Connery to play Rufus, the time traveling mentor to Bill and Ted. It was only after shooting had begun that George Carlin was approached, out of desperation, and the rest is history.
9. The Movie Originally Ended At The Prom.
The ending of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is an all-time great. (San Dimas High School football rules!) But it almost didn’t happen. In fact, a different ending was shot where the boys give their presentation in class, and then take the princesses to the prom. Thankfully, it didn’t test well, and the ending was reshot to give the film a more epic climax. Alex Winter, for one, is glad they went with the new ending, although he doesn’t really remember much about those prom scenes: “I have no memory whatsoever, I just remember thinking that the bigger ending was better.”
8. The Time Machine Was Almost a Car.
The script originally described the boys’ time machine as a 1969 Chevy Van, before the filmmakers realized they might get knocked for ripping off Back to the Future. They then swapped it with the now legendary phone booth, supposedly making the most heinous mistake of not realizing how similar it was to Doctor Who’s iconic Tardis. Oops.
7. The Phone Booth Was Given Away In a Nintendo Raffle.
To promote a Bill & Ted video game for the NES, Nintendo Power Magazine gave the actual time traveling phone booth away as a prize. The winner was teen Kenneth Grayson, who later told Reddit that he became a local celebrity thanks to the time machine, and has even had sex in it a time or two. Excellent!
6. Bill Almost Had To Chill With “The Weasel.”
Pauley Shore, unsurprisingly, auditioned for the role of Ted, before thankfully lost out to fellow mellow dude Keanu Reeves. Awkwardly, Shore hosted an MTV special, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Premiere Party in 1991, and supposedly cornered Reeves in a backroom to vent about his failed audition.
5. Keanu Thought He Was Playing Bill.
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were put through countless auditions to land the lead parts in the movie. Finally reaching the finish line, Winter noticed something was off with Reeves. “We’re sitting in the office waiting to meet the producers for the first time and I’m pretty jazzed and he’s miserable,” Winter said. “I’m like, ‘Dude, what’s wrong? We finally got it….And he’s like, ‘Yeah, but I’m Ted.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re Ted. That’s awesome.’ He was like, ‘I thought I was Bill.’ I was like, ‘What f—ing difference does it make? For god’s sake, they’re completely interchangeable.'”
4. One Of The Screenwriters Is The Son Of A Sci-Fi Legend.
It shouldn’t be a shock that Chris Matheson, who co-wrote the script with Ed Solomon, is a fan of science fiction: His father was legendary sci-fi writer Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend.
3. Babe Ruth Was Supposed To Join the Fun.
The original screenplay saw a few more historical figures squeeze into the phone booth. Babe Ruth was supposed to be kidnapped, along with Charlemagne, or “Charlie Mange” as the boy would have called him.
2. Keanu and Alex Winter Are Still Most Righteous Friends.
In a Reddit AMA from a few years ago, Winter said that he and Reeves are still close friends. In fact, they once wandered into the middle of the NYC Halloween Parade after dinner, only to have someone walk by and say “Hey look, it’s two old, fat guys trying to be Bill and Ted.” Keanu also supplied the narration for Alex’s acclaimed 2015 documentary Deep Web.
1. Bill And Ted Are Coming Back To The Big Screen.
Winter and Reeve aren’t content to leave their head-banging alter egos in the past. In fact, Winter told Forbes magazine that prospects for a third film were “looking good.” Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon are back as writers, and, of course, Reeves has agreed to strap on the air guitar one more time. Who should play Rufus? Our pick for an actor/comedian who could honor the legacy of the great George Carlin: Louis C.K.