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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Was Inspired By Nia Vardalos Dropping Her Daughter Off At School

When it comes to indie successes, is there a more captivating story than "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Against all odds, the shoestring-budgeted rom-com managed to leg its way to a $241 million domestic gross back in 2002, per The Numbers, making it one of the most profitable films ever made. Coupled with an Oscar nod, "MBFGW" left multiplexes as a true cinematic phenomenon. 

The brainchild of Nia Vardalos, the rom-com launched the Canadian actress and writer to stardom. Following the release of the film, the multi-hyphenate creative capitalized on the film's success, starring in several projects. As 2009 came knocking, Vardalos found herself writing and starring in "My Life in Ruins," a film she described to CineSnob as a loose sequel to her box office juggernaut. "However, I think 'My Life in Ruins' will satisfy the people who want a sequel because it's a Greek story and it will also satisfy the people who don't necessarily want to see a sequel," Vardalos said.

In 2016, however, Vardalos returned to the smash hit with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," which takes place 10 years after the original and focuses on Toula's (Vardalos) personal struggles as her daughter (Elena Kampouris) decides to head out for college. For Vardalos, this narrative hit too close to him, telling Entertainment Weekly that the sequel was directly influenced by her dropping her kid off at school. "On my daughter's first day of kindergarten, another mom said something that made me realize I had become my own Greek, suffocating mother. She said, 'Just think, in 13 years they'll leave us and go to college!'"

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is just as personal as the first

During that pivotal moment is when Nia Vardalos found herself with the perfect story for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2." "I sucked all the air out of the room and I realized, 'Oh my God, that's the sequel,' and I started writing it that very day," Vardalos continued. "I worked on the script for almost four years."

For many, the idea of letting their kids move out for their college experience is a terrifying prospect. It's also a universal one, a struggle that many will have to deal with when the time comes. It makes sense that Vardalos found this idea to be so captivating, as the first "MBFGW" tapped into a similar cross-cultural/generational anxiety, namely relationships and family woes. At the time, Vardalos was surprised by how much appeal the film had beyond her Greek community. "I didn't know at all that everyone has a crazy family," Vardalos told Female.com following the first film's release. She continued by recounting how a woman from a different ethnicity came over to her and expressed how the film felt so specific to her familial and cultural experience. "And that's when I realised that 'Greek Wedding' has crossover appeal."

Ultimately, "MBFGW 2" was released in 2016 and has a threequel on the way which should also dig deep into a universal (yet equally culturally specific) topic.