Before you gather up your baseball bats and pitchforks in search of the person who has conceived of a Casablanca sequel, let’s go through all of the details first. There have been attempts at a sequel to the exceptionally popular and beloved film for over 70 years, and it’s actually astounding that the studios have shown restraint in the matter, opting to wait for what would make for a truly great treatment (of course, why everything has to have a sequel in the first place is another issue).
There were a few ill-fated forays into television that attempted to be prequels or sequels, but neither critics nor audiences were having it at the time. Naturally, that spooked the studios into caution when it came to potentially continuing the story. However, Casablanca‘s original screenwriter, Howard Koch, worked on his own sequel idea in the 1980s, planning to include Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart returning as parents. For more on the planned sequel plot, hit the jump.
According to a great piece from the New York Post (via The Film Stage), the sequel would take place twenty years after the events of the first film, where a child conceived from Rick and Ilsa’s renewed affair (and subsequently adopted by Laszlo) named Richard would travel to the Middle East to learn more about his father.
Richard “grew up to be a handsome, tough-tender young man reminiscent of his father. He had been told the truth about his origin and has a deep desire to find his real father, or at least more about him, since Rick’s heroic at actions in Casablanca have become legendary.”
Eventually, “After learning the cafe in the original was blown up by Nazis, he would link up with an Arab woman named Joan (inspired by Joan Baez) and join in on her citizen’s movement to find Nazi outlaws.”
Warner Bros. turned the second treatment down in 1989, but with the 70th anniversary of the film upon us, renewed interest in the project has been sparked.
The biggest question of course is who could possibly be cast in these roles, particular that of Richard. Aljean Harmetz told the New York Post, “There really are not many solid 20-year-old actors. Certainly not Robert Pattinson, though maybe that guy who’s popping up everywhere, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.”
Film historian Leonard Maltin as well as Humphrey Bogart’s son with Lauren Bacall, Stephen, are both chilly to the idea of a sequel even despite it having come from Koch. As Stephen puts it, “If they want to make a movie about intrigue in North Africa, that’s fine, but bringing the specter of one of the greatest movies of all time into it makes it just another feeble attempt at Casablanca 2. There are certain films, like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and, of course, Casablanca that need to stay as pristine and perfect as they are.’’