Music biopics aren’t typically a genre that lends itself easily to sequels, as most such films tell their entire story in the first film. However, most music biopics aren’t as successful as last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which has made over $875 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo.
Rudi Dolezal, a music video director who formerly worked with Queen, told Page Six that both the surviving Queen members and the band’s management are “lining up behind” a sequel to Bohemian Rhapsody. However, a rep for Rami Malek, who won the Best Actor Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury in the film, told the newspaper that they’re not aware of any sequel talk.
Bohemian Rhapsody’s chronology ended with the band’s famous Live Aid performance in 1985, while Mercury died of an AIDS-related death six years later, in 1991. A sequel could conceivably cover that ground, as well as the story of how the band regrouped many years after Mercury’s death to perform with Adam Lambert.
However, nearly all of Queen’s most famous music was produced in the period covered by the original film, and a second movie primarily about Mercury’s illness and death would likely have a dramatically different and less crowd-pleasing tone than the first Bohemian Rhapsody did. Also, the film will have to find a new director, as presumably Bryan Singer – who has been accused of serial sexual misconduct in a report by The Atlantic – will not be returning for any sequel.
Bohemian Rhapsody grew out of an unusually troubled production, per a timeline published by Mic. The movie was in the works for years, with Sacha Baron Cohen at one point attached to play Mercury. Yet during production, Singer was frequently absent from the set, clashed with Malek, and was later fired. Singer’s name was not mentioned in any of the promotions for the film or from the stage at any award shows.
The film was met with largely negative reviews, with critics assailing what they called subpar filmmaking and storytelling, as well as an overreliance on musical biopic cliches and a screenplay that appeared to clearly serve the interests of surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor.
However, Bohemian Rhapsody was a major hit, and it won four Oscars – one for Malek as well as best editing, sound, and sound mixing. And Lambert, May, and Taylor opened the Oscars last month with a musical performance of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.”