Film: Bill & Ted

aka: Bill And Teds Bogus Journey

"Be excellent to each other and... Party on, dudes!"
—Credo of Bill and Ted, quoted even by Abraham Lincoln!

Bill & Ted is a series of comedy movies featuring Keanu Reeves as Ted Logan and Alex Winter as Bill Preston, two dimwitted though good-natured rock fans who find themselves thrown into fantastic adventures.

The first two movies have their own pages:

Expanded Universe

The first film was followed by an Animated Adaptation by Hanna-Barbera, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, that was fairly faithful (and even had Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, and George Carlin reprising their roles), while the second was followed by a forgettable live-action Recycled: The Series that featured none of the original cast (this new cast voiced the characters when the animated edition moved from CBS to Fox and DiC took over production). There was also a surprisingly well-made Eisner-nominated Comic Book Adaptation, Bill And Teds Excellent Comic Book, written and drawn by Evan Dorkin and published by Marvel Comics; several video games; and even a little-known stage musical which had a pretty short run but featured a couple of decent songs. There was also a cereal based on the TV show.

Since 1992, the Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood have used Bill and Ted in their annual Halloween Horror Nights event as Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure, parodying that year's pop culture and entertainment. The 2009 event, for example, featured Twilight, Megan Fox (well, a male impersonator), Watchmen, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, and G.I. Joe, among many others.

Bill & Ted 3 (20—)

Their most excellent adventure continues... (note, this is a fan-made poster)

In September 2010, news of work on a third movie was announced. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are signed on for it, as are the series' creators and writers, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon.

According to Alex Winter, the movie will evoke the spirit of the originals without succumbing to "retro cynicism", and that they've found a way to continue the story beyond the apparent Happily Ever After at the end of Bogus Journey. Early information suggests that the plot will revolve around the fact that Bill and Ted haven't changed the world yet and are trying to write the song that will create Rufus' utopian future.

Seems to be suffering in Development Hell, though according to all involved it's simply because most films don't get announced this early in production.

The following most triumphant tropes appear in multiple Bill and Ted works:

  • Adaptation Name Change: In the script for The Musical, Princess Joanna is renamed "Princess Mary," possibly to avoid confusion with Joan of Arc. On the cast album, she's "Sarah."
  • Adorkable: Bill and Ted.
  • Air Guitar: Every ten seconds whenever Bill and Ted think of something EXCELLENT!
    • In the second film, the evil B&T develop a "stealth" version (twiddling their fingers as if strumming) after Chuck De Nomolos shoots them a Death Glare for doing the real thing. They continue to use it throughout the movie.
  • Bald of Evil: Chuck De Nomolos.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Male version. Bill's customized sweatshirt.
  • Berserk Button: Don't harm one in front of the other, or their girlfriends. Or they'll drop the nice guy attitude and do something smart before kicking your ass.
    • And don't say anything Your Mom-ish to Bill.
  • Book Dumb: Perhaps the ultimate example as the duo are in danger of failing high school yet their teachings are destined to create a Utopia.
  • Buffy Speak: Bill and Ted have a rather unique vocabulary and speaking style.
  • Catchphrase: "Excellent!" often followed by an Air Guitar duet.
    • The two will gasp "Bogus!" when something bad happens.
    • Also, Bill's "Shut up, Ted!" whenever Ted makes a comment about Missy's attractiveness.
    • "I am Bill S. Preston, Esq.!" "And I am 'Ted' Theodore Logan!" "Together, we are Wyld Stallyns!!" This is to the point of being Once an Episode in the cartoon series.
    • They also have "Catch you later, (X)!" spoken in unison.
  • Covers Always Lie: In Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return, the final issue's cover promises a brawl between Bill and Ted in a Humongous Mecha shaped like Station, against De Nomolos in his own, two headed robot. The story does feature giant robots, but not the ones depicted, nor do they fight.
    • In-Universe example in Bogus Journey. The boys complain that Hell does not resemble their album covers.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the duo get knocked through the wall of an Old West tavern... and into the back room, where the Soiled Doves are prancing around in their lingerie. Billy the Kid yanks them away while they're still enjoying the view.
  • Creator Cameo: Writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson cameo in both movies. They play a different duo in each, but the credits of both films specify that Solomon is the stupid one and Matheson is the ugly one.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Ted claims his full name is Ted "Theodore" Logan. Ted is the shortened name of the name Theodore.
  • The Dividual: Bill and Ted are of the Twindividual variation; even if they're not actually related and look completely different, they have almost the exact same personality (Bill seems to be slightly more practical-minded and Ted slightly more carefree, but the differences are minimal) and in the plots they're important as a duo, not as individuals.
    • Joanna and Elizabeth are even more of an example; they're never seen apart and don't seem to have separate personalities at all. Given that they are sisters and seem to be the same age, they may even be actual (non-identical) twins — though this is never confirmed or denied.
    • And then there's Station, who is literally one mind in two bodies, with the ability to merge back into one being when needed.
  • Dork Knight: Bill and Ted again.
  • The '80s
  • Either/Or Title: The Hanna-Barbera animated episode "The Birth Of Rock And Roll, or: Too Hip For The Womb."
  • The Fool: Bill and Ted... totally.
  • Full-Name Basis: Bill and Ted always introduce themselves as "Bill S. Preston, Esquire and 'Ted' Theodore Logan".
  • Garage Band: Wyld Stallyns.
  • Garfunkel: Alex Winter, though this is largely because he retired from acting in 1993 to begin a directing career.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Despite being uncomplicated slackers, Bill and Ted have a natural instinct for mastering the causal and paradoxical effects of time travel. Also, while their use of the English language is most unconventional and egregiously unorthodox, their vocabulary does seem to be more well developed than most teenagers, or for that matter most anyone. (Try reading that in their voices. IT FITS.)
    • Bill not only knows what an Oedipal Complex is, he can recognize he has a minor case.
    • Bill and Ted can communicate with and translate for people who speak French, Mongolian, and Ancient Greek.
  • Granola Girl: Missy.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bill and Ted do everything together. Including proposing to their girlfriends.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: A fairly mild example, but the energy tendril/claws that emerge and drag the booth into the time circuits don't exactly come across as benevolent.
  • Idiot Heroes: While they have an intuitive understanding of San Dimas Time, their basic response to everything is almost always (a) tell a dumb joke, (b) make a rock music reference, (c) going along with what someone smarter suggests, or (d) some combination of the above.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In "The Birth Of Rock And Roll" animated episode, Little Richard voices himself.
  • Lighter and Softer: Both movies are this for George Carlin, definitely. (He doesn't cuss even once in either movie.)
  • May-December Romance: Missy definitely seems to have a thing for men who are old enough to be her father; first marrying Bill's dad, and later Ted's dad. A newspaper headline suggests she later marries Chuck DeNomolos.
  • Missing Mom: Neither of the boys' mothers are ever so much as mentioned, let alone explaining where they went. Possibly because digging into that would take the funny out of the running gag with Missy.
  • Myspeld Rökband/Xtreme Kool Letterz: WYLD STALLYNS! *air guitar*
  • Nice Guys: Stupid as Bill and Ted may both be, it's hard to deny that they are both sincere, decent and kind-hearted kids when push comes to shove.
  • Parody Sue: The founders of a Utopian future are these guys.
  • Really Gets Around: Missy, though she seems to stick solely to older men.
  • Retroactive Preparation
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: In the present, Bill and Ted are just two dopey fools, but they're destined to create a global utopia.
  • Rule of Funny: Much of the films.
  • San Dimas Time: Trope Namer.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Joanna and Elizabeth, the Royal Princess Babes. While this was somewhat justified in the first movie due to their brief screen time, they remain featureless in the second movie, even with their more prominent role in the heroes' lives.
  • Saving The World With Art: The future is apparently built on the rock and roll of Wyld Stallyns. In this utopia, the air is clean, the water is clean, even the dirt is clean, bowling scores are way up, and mini golf scores are way down.
    • And they have more excellent water slides than any other planet they communicate with.
  • Shout-Out: The poster for the upcoming sequel seems to finally lampshade the unintentional similarities with the TARDIS.
    • That's actually a fan-made poster, but still.
    • Arguably the first film did this with the absurd number of people they cram into the thing, subtly drawing attention to the fact that it is most assuredly not Bigger on the Inside. (Although you'd be surprised how many people you can fit into a phone booth. There's a reason why it was such a popular prank.)
  • Surfer Dudes: Bill and Ted are from Southern California, so their speech includes a lot of So-Cal surfer slang even though they're not surfers and San Dimas is a fair distance inland.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Both are far on the Idealistic End, even if 2 is Darker and Edgier, in its belief that love and friendship and make the world a nicer place. Now we can only wait and see if "3" makes good on its promise that it will stay idealistic without succumbing to "retro-cynicism."
  • Stacy's Mom: Bill (and later Ted's) stepmom, Missy. It helps that she's only three years older than Bill and Ted. Ted even asked her to the prom. It's lampshaded in the first movie, when Freud offers to psychoanalyze Bill during the history report, and he responds, "Nah, just got a minor Oedipal complex."
  • Take That: In the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Bill and Ted run into Rufus at a record store, where a Take That to then-hot teenybopper group New Kids On The Block (who had a cartoon show then as well) is delivered:
    Rufus: I was just checking out this new album by New Boys On The Corner.
    Bill, Ted: And?
    Rufus: They stink.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: There's no consistency in how time travel works in the Bill And Ted universe. They have a limited time to prepare for their history report in Excellent Adventure despite having a time machine (out of universe, this explains why they don't screw around with the infinite possibilities of time travel; in-universe, no good explanation is given), yet in Bogus Journey, they are able to undertake 16 months of intense guitar training in an unspecified time period and arrive back at the concert moments after they left.
    • Actually, that one is pretty easy to explain. In the first movie, Rufus points out that they were off by one number when they meet themselves. This means that they can reach any allotment of time by dialing that number, and since time moves forward at a constant pace, all they had to do was wait until they could dial up the exact time they had taken off, which keeps the San Dimas Time rule solid.
    • The "time game" is circular. 'After you win'', you'll grab what you need to win in the first place? It makes sense - relatively - that only the winners can play the game, but we're never told what Bill and Ted did to make them the winners, ie why Chuck De Nomolos couldn't say "no, I set up the key and the gag gun just to give you false hope before I vanquish you".
  • Trophy Wife: In Excellent Adventure, Bill's dad has divorced his mother and gotten married to Missy, who is only three years older than his son. In Bogus Journey, they have split up and now Ted's dad is the one married to Missy.
  • Utopia: The duo use The Power of Rock to turn the world into one.
  • Waxing Lyrical: The duo says to Socrates "All we are is dust... in the wind, dude."


Catch ya later, troper dudes!