Do We Really Want a Sequel to ‘Before Sunset’?


Before Sunset sequel
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunset
Photo: Warner Independent Pictures

I’m not sure how often I mention it, but if you weren’t aware, Before Sunset starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and directed by Richard Linklater, is one of my all-time favorite films. I absolutely love it and have watched it and it’s nine-year predecessor, Before Sunrise, several times. The question, however, continues to swirl as to whether the trio will ever get together to pen a third film, completing the trilogy and finally telling us what happens between Jesse and Celine.

Back in July 2007, Hawke was talking to MTV about the potential for a third film and said, “If [Before Sunset] had been totally ignored we probably already would have made a third one… Rick [Linklater] said to me the other day, ‘It’s that whole thing of people coming up to you at dinner parties and saying [they] know what happened to [Jesse and Celine]. You don’t want to deal with it.'”

At the time, Hawke even admits that at the end of Sunset they already had an idea for a third film, but he adds, “We had an idea, but [it’s] not going to happen, a pretty good outline of what the next one was going to be… But we would need to be in production right now, because we wanted to pick up right where we left off. Rick wanted to do a short film that was just two weeks later. Time goes by so fast.”

He did leave the door open for a little hope for a third one, however, saying, “I’m starting to think the third one may be when we’re 60, I’ll be shocked if we never make another one.”

Well, that time may have come as Vulture spotted an interview with Hawke at AlloCine where he says he, Delpy and Linklater are going to try to write a third film this year, and perhaps continue the nine year break from Jesse and Celine and have the film in theaters by 2013.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do but I know the three of us have been talking a lot in the last six months,” Hawke said. “All three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again so we’ve really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year.”

As someone that loves the first two films and four years ago said it makes me sad they weren’t going to make a third one, I can tell you now, I actually hope they don’t.

I don’t want anything to mess with the story we have already been told. It’s perfect as it is, just leave it alone. Of course, there’s always the caveat that says, But what if they have a good script? There are plenty of “what ifs” that could be asked, but at this point we don’t need a sequel. The ambiguity of Before Sunset‘s finale is why it sticks with us, those questions as to “What happens next?” are why we love it. We begin to fill in the blanks, leading us to the scenario we hope and desire for these two people. Is there reason to ruin that with some sort of finality?

Of course, I would watch the film in a heartbeat, praying for it to be better just as I’m doing with The Dark Knight Rises, a sequel to an open-ended film and one we here on this site have discussed the potential of not making not once, not twice, but at least three times. But just as I’ll be in line for a sequel to Before Sunset I’ll also be there for The Dark Knight Rises.

So, yes, I’ll go see it and I do trust Hawke, Delpy and Linklater wouldn’t make it unless they felt it would actually be good. So there is that, but as far as wanting, nah, I’m fine with it just the way it is.