Brian May – ‘We’d Love To’ Make a Sequel to Queen Biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Queen had one of the biggest music-related films of all-time with their 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody that centered on the band's rise and paid particularly close attention to the life of frontman Freddie Mercury. Naturally, with the box office success, there's always talk of a sequel, and in a new interview with Sirius XM's Eddie Trunk (heard below), guitarist Brian May appears at least to be open to the idea, although admitting they haven't come up with a way to do it yet.
"There's truth to the fact that we talk about it," explained May. "We'd love it — we'd love to make a sequel. It's finding the right script. It actually took us 12 years to find the right script for the first one, so I guess it's no surprise that it's not easy."
The guitarist adds, "There is a story there — an awful lot happened after the end of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie script, if you like, story — but whether it would make a film, I don't know. And we don't wanna put it out there or make it unless we're sure that it's gonna work and it's gonna move people in the same way as the original film did. The short answer is we'd love to, and we haven't found a way of doing it yet."
May further reflected on the cast, noting, "It'd be nice to get the same four guys back to play us 'cause they're so stupendous, all of them; they're just great. I mean, Rami's [Malek - Freddie Mercury in the film] amazing. Gwilym [Lee], who played me — incredible. I mean, he fooled my kids. My kids thought I voiced the part, but he did it all."
How Big Was Bohemian Rhapsody?
Per Box Office Mojo, Bohemian Rhapsody opened on Oct. 26, 2019. It made just shy of $216.7 million domestically, over $694 million internationally with a total of nearly $911 million worldwide, which gave it a rank of the No. 195 top grossing film of all-time.
That said, May disputed the film's profitability for the band, telling BBC Radio 2 in 2019, "I had to laugh the other day, because there's a thing in the paper saying that we were getting rich off this movie. If they only knew. We had an accountant in the other day, and we still haven't earned a penny from it. How successful does a movie have to be before you make money? There's so many people that people don't realize will take pieces off the top."
But May added that bringing the film to the big screen was very much its own reward, commenting, "It was a long labor of love — about 12 years in development, I guess. We thought it would do well in the end and we felt good about it, but we didn't realize it would do that well. It's incredible around the world. It's, like, a billion-dollar movie ... The feeling of it is so great — the fact that it's out there, and I think Freddie [Mercury] comes out it with his dignity, but without having been whitewashed in any way.”
Have There Been Sequel Talks Prior?
Shortly after the film's initial success in 2019, longtime Queen video director Rudi Dolezal commented to Page Six that the band and filmmakers were already in discussions on a follow-up film. He surmised that longtime band manager Jim Beach already has an idea up his sleeve for a new film that picks up where Bohemian Rhapsody left off.
But, talk of a potential sequel soon fell off. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Brian May explained why it likely wouldn't happen. "Don't think we didn't think about it," May said at the time. "We've talked. Basically we think not, at the moment. … I don't think that would be an uplifting thing to do. I'm not saying it's impossible because there is a great story there, but we don't feel that's the story we want to tell at the moment."
In addition to leaving out Mercury's later years, the lead singer's childhood is also mostly omitted from Bohemian Rhapsody. So does the group's guitarist think that a follow-up movie could portray those events, or possibly some other aspects of Queen's journey that were left on the cutting room floor?
"There's a million things in our career which you couldn't show in a movie since the movie had to be so simplified to make it watchable," May added at the time. "But we don't really think there's another movie there. That's the long and the short of it. I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don't think a sequel will happen. But we have looked at it pretty seriously.
So, with May's most recent comments, it appears that there would be a desire to do more, but as the guitarist revealed, whether or not the remaining part of their story is worth bringing to the big screen with a script that pays off with impact is the biggest concern.