A "Bohemian Rhapsody" sequel? Why stop with just one

Queen are reportedly contemplating a sequel to "Bohemian Rhapsody," but we have an ambitious plan for five of them

Published March 11, 2019 7:30PM (EDT)

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury/Farrokh Bulsara in "Bohemian Rhapsody" (20th Century Fox)
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury/Farrokh Bulsara in "Bohemian Rhapsody" (20th Century Fox)

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone.

The Oscar-gilded Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may have a sequel in store, according to Page Six. This news came straight from Rudi Dolezal, a director behind many of the band’s videos and a close friend of Freddie Mercury. To be very clear: we have no idea whether or not this is true. And even if it is being discussed it doesn’t mean anything will ever happen. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to imagine what a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel might look like. And as long as we’re doing that, why not plot out five different potential directions Bohemian Rhapsody II could go. Let’s begin.

1. The Show Must Go On
Bohemian Rhapsody ends with the group’s triumphant set at Live Aid in 1985, but they left out a ton of the actual Freddie Mercury story. The first sequel should take the Godfather II approach by toggling back and forth between Freddie’s pre-Queen life and the events of 1986 through his death in 1991. Both stories are incredibly dramatic. He was born in Zanzibar and his family fled in 1964 to escape the violent revolution. He moves to London right as the rock scene there is exploding. All of this is made for the big screen.

The events of 1986 to 1991 are even more interesting. In the first movie he learns he has AIDS in 1985, but in real life it happened around Queen’s final tour in 1986. They could simply retcon the pivotal event back to the actual timeline. They could also recreate the stadium shows the same way they recreated Live Aid in the first movie. That will allow them to stuff a lot of the big hits back onto the screen. When the tour wraps, Mercury goes into hiding and tries to create as much music as he can before he dies. Again, this is very dramatic and could get Rami Malek another Oscar if handled properly. In some ways, it’s a better story than the first movie since they aren’t trying to bite off quite so much.

Read more Rolling Stone: Korean, Japanese Fans Can’t Stop Watching ‘Bohemian Rhapsody

2. Queen Gets Some Bad Company (or Not All Right Now)
This one will begin with the Freddie Mercury tribute show at Wembley Stadium in 1992 and then get into the dilemma that Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon faced in the aftermath. How can they possibly carry on as Queen without Freddie? A big dramatic moment comes in 1997 when John Deacon decides to give up the charade and retreat into his estate, never to be seen again. Taylor and May refuse to surrender and make the questionable choice to bring Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers into the band and hit the road. They even recorded an album of new material with him in 2005. Much of the world has forgotten that any of this happened, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be a movie. It can even show Bad Company break up following their 2002 tour and maybe even get into some of their backstory. Why not? If Hollywood squeezed three movies out of The Hobbit, this seems doable.

3. Enter The Glambert
Queen + Paul Rodgers quietly disbanded in 2009, the same year that Adam Lambert auditioned for American Idol by performing “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This movie begins with Brian May and Roger Taylor seeing the show on TV and realizing that they’d found their new singer. We then go back and see Adam Lambert’s pre-fame years and his shocking loss to Kris Allen in the final episode of his American Idol season. Queen played with him for the first time that night, though it would be another three years before he became their new singer. These events are so recent that there’s no reason that Adam Lambert, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Kris Allen and Ryan Seacrest can’t just play themselves. The big moment will be Lambert’s first real show with Queen at Kiev’s Independence Square in front of an ocean of fans.

Read more Rolling Stone: Queen, Adam Lambert Prep ‘The Show Must Go On’ Documentary

4. Don’t Stop Them Now
There was more than enough drama and intrigue around the making of the first movie to justify a movie of its own. The band first approached Sacha Baron Cohen, but they parted ways for reasons they can’t seem to agree on. Cohen claimed the group wanted to make a movie where Freddie died in the middle, but producer Graham King says that isn’t remotely true and the real reason was he didn’t want a white guy playing Freddie. They briefly thought about casting Ben Whishaw, but wound up going with Rami Malek. Maybe in this one, Rami plays Sacha Baron Cohen and Pete Davidson plays Rami. A big moment comes near the end when director Bryan Singer walks off the set and they need to finish the movie without him.

5. The Show Must Go On Forever
The final move is, admittedly, very weird and meta. It shows how the Queen camp took a movie that re-wrote their history and got destroyed by critics and somehow won Academy Awards with it. It’ll show the press campaign that erased Bryan Singer’s role out of history following his #MeToo allegations and, for one of the first times in Hollywood history, show how Oscar campaigns actually work. It will peak with the band opening up the broadcast with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.” The second part will focus on Brian May and Roger Taylor, days after the Oscar ceremony, sitting down and mapping out five sequels.

Read more Rolling Stone: Oscars 2019: Queens, Spikes and the ‘Green Book’ Best Picture Blues

That’s saying nothing of the potential standalone movies about Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Mary Austin that could turn Bohemian Rhapsody into a Marvel-esque classic rock multiverse. Maybe even an animated spin-off about Freddie’s beloved felines! We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s just see if they make the first one.

By Andy Greene

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