It’s the 25th anniversary of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the memorable follow up to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Directed by Peter Hewitt, and featuring a legendary role for William Sadler, this genre comedy broke the mold of sequels by doing something completely different than the first film; in fact, it nearly removed all aspects of time travel. What’s even more of a shocker is that there was even less, according to Hewitt.
Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as Bill and Ted, respectively, in a film where evil robots are sent from the future to kill the dynamic duo before they can win the Battle of the Bands. They end up in Hell, coming face-to-face with Satan, as well as their fears incarnate. After challenging Death (Sadler) to a duel, the duo are taken to Heaven where they ask God for help in stopping “the evil robot us’.” They’re directed to an alien being by the name of Station, who builds two “Good” robots to save the day, all which takes place on stage at Battle of the Bands.
The script was originally titled “Bill & Ted Go to Hell,” and unsurprisingly there was a lot more Hell in the screenplay. In fact, Bogus Journey trading cards, an accompanying comic book, and even trailers, provided proof of a deleted scene in which the creatures from Hell come to Earth to attack Bill and Ted.
Jon Barkan and myself caught up with both Hewitt and Sadler at the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival in which they confirmed the existence of such a scene, while also revealing that the entire ending was reshot. While there’s always been chatter of deleted scenes, we were completely unaware that the entire ending of Bogus Journey was retooled, leaving us wondering what the original cut looked like.
When asked about the deleted scene in which Bill and Ted are being chased by their worst fears, Hewitt dropped the bomb: “It wasn’t a scene, it was the entire ending of the movie. It was a different ending.”
“You cut out big scenes in the movie?” a surprised Sadler interrupted.
“Yeah, the whole end.
“Evil Bill and Ted open their chests and out come these strange cylinders that start to bubble and turn into something,” explains Hewitt. “Then, Bill and Ted arrive at the auditorium, the Battle of the Bands, and then their worst fears incarnate arrive. So, a giant easter bunny arrives and attacks them, granny arrives, Colonel Oats attacks them, and then I can’t remember…”
“Do they ever do the Battle of the Bands?” asks Sadler.
“Yeah…yeah,” Hewitt confirms.
“They save the babes…” Sadler notes.
“But then the ending…we tested it,” Hewitt explains, “’cause the film was shot really quickly and then came out a couple of months later; suddenly it was like we’re six weeks from opening and needed a new ending. So, the whole ending of Bill and Ted building ‘Good’ robots to defeat the ‘Bad’ robots, that was a new ending; and all the concert stuff was new. Death was in it, but by that time we were finding anything and everything for you [talking to Sadler] to do.”
A quick search on Google and you’ve find script and video evidence, along with other deleted sequence such as Evil Bill and Ted unzipping to reveal they’ve switched bodies. And while we’ve always known about this chase sequence, we were completely unaware that the entire finale was reshot. This creates so many questions that I wish I were able to ask Hewitt now… If there were no “Good Bill and Ted Robots”, did they ever go to Heaven, and if so, why? Was Station in it? What did they do? Was there any mention of time travel? How did they defeat the Evil Robots and their worst nightmares?
I thought our interview with Hewitt would finally close the door on so many rumors that have persisted over the past 25 years, only it’s perpetuated them even more. I can’t help but wonder what this movie looked like until the reshoots… and with Shout Factory releasing the films on Blu-ray later this month, I expect some new info to be included on it. Too bad the footage allegedly is hard to come by, and Hewitt didn’t take part in the new commentary tracks. This is it folks, probably one of the final interviews with Hewitt regarding Bogus Journey…at least until the 30th anniversary.