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Forrest Gump 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

"Forrest Gump" is one of the highest-grossing movies that's never spawned a sequel or instigated a franchise. That's incredibly surprising all things considered.

The epic life story of a man possessing less-than-ideal intelligence — but who somehow witnesses and triggers multiple historical milestones — "Forrest Gump" earned nearly $700 million, and it won a slew of Academy Awards, including one for beloved actor Tom Hanks and proven mega-hit director Robert Zemeckis. It even generated massive soundtrack album sales, inspired the Bubba Gump restaurant chain, and infiltrated popular culture. "Gump"-derived aphorisms "life is like a box of chocolate" and "stupid is as stupid does" were inescapable in 1994 and 1995.

Almost everyone loved "Forrest Gump," and source novel author Winston Groom even wrote a literary sequel in 1995. So if all the pieces were there for another "Forrest Gump" movie, how come it never happened? And is there any chance we might see a part two hit theater screens? Well, here's why Forrest hasn't caught any more shrimp or awkwardly met any other presidents and where he might run to in the future.

Why isn't Forrest Gump 2 happening yet?

A second entry in the "Forrest Gump" cinematic saga wasn't always some theoretical proposition. A movie begins in earnest with a screenplay, and in the early 2000s — more than half a decade after the release of the first film — "Forrest Gump" screenwriter Eric Roth completed a sequel script.

Winston Groom wrote the novel "Forrest Gump" in 1986, adapted loosely into the 1994 film "Forrest Gump." Following the movie's mega-blockbuster success, Groom published a follow-up in 1995 called "Gump and Co." A blueprint for a new movie, it detailed Forrest's history-making and history-adjacent adventures in the 1980s and 1990s — including dealing with the fallout of being the subject of a hit movie about his life, starring Tom Hanks.

Roth based his new script on "Gump & Co.," and prominent outlets like The New York Times reported that the film version had officially entered the production phase. "But I turned in the script the night before 9/11," Roth told /Film in 2008, and after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Roth met up with Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis. "And we sat down, Tom and Bob and I, looked at each other and said, 'We don't think this is relevant anymore.' The world has changed. Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are."

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What has Tom Hanks said about Forrest Gump 2?

As early as March 1995, when "Forrest Gump" was still playing in a few theaters, Tom Hanks made it clear that he wasn't interested in making a part two. "I have to confess I don't see this as a franchise. A sequel would ruin what we had done," Hanks told Entertainment Weekly.

Granted, Hanks changed his mind on this a few years later ... but just for a moment. In a 2022 appearance on the podcast "Happy Sad Confused," Hanks claimed that while sequel talks happened years after the 1994 release of "Forrest Gump," he was only interested in the movie for an extremely brief period. "With a long time in between, we did take a stab at talking about another 'Forrest Gump' that lasted all of 40 minutes," he said.

Hanks was wary of a sequel before cameras even rolled on "Forrest Gump." "A smart thing I did is I've never signed a contract that had a contractual obligation to do a sequel," he explained. "I've always said, 'Guys, if there's a reason to do it, let's do it. But you guys can't force me.'" To date, Hanks hasn't found a good enough reason to reprise the role, so he's never signed up to make a "Forrest Gump" sequel.

What could be explored in Forrest Gump 2?

Because "Forrest Gump" screenwriter Eric Roth finished and polished a shooting script for the sequel, we know exactly what would've happened in that never-produced movie. Loosely adapted from Winston Groom's 1995 novel "Gump and Co.," the Florida-set film would've kicked off with Forrest's son — who he had with the late Jenny — learning that he has AIDS and meeting resistance at his school. "We had a funny sequence where they were [integration-encouraging] busing in Florida at the same time, so people were angry about either the busing or kids having to go to school with the kid who had AIDS," Roth told Yahoo! Entertainment.

After that, the film would've repeated the formula of "Forrest Gump," with the title character inadvertently making or witnessing history. "I had him in the back of O.J.'s Bronco," Roth revealed, referring to the 1994 police chase that ended in the arrest of O.J. Simpson for double homicide. Forrest would've danced with Princess Diana at a charity event and then forged a relationship with a woman who works at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, who then dies in the 1995 terrorist bombing by Timothy McVeigh.

Of course, none of this ever came to pass, but on "Forrest Gump's" 20th anniversary, USA Today did ask several of the creatives involved with the film what they would like to see in a potential sequel. Tom Hanks suggested Forrest should rescue people during Hurricane Katrina and inspire Mark Zuckerberg to create Facebook. Robert Zemeckis thought Forrest might open an orphanage in Pakistan and then discover the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and author Winston Groom speculated that Forrest could cross paths with Vladimir Putin.

There's an Indian remake of Forrest Gump

If you really want to more stories about a simple-minded man influencing the course of a nation, then technically, the 2022 hit film "Laal Singh Chaddha" is a sequel to "Forrest Gump." While the American movie shows history unfolding from the 1950s to the early 1980s, India's "Laal Singh Chaddha" picks up in the 1980s and covers the subsequent decades. 

"Laal Singh Chaddha" is also a remake of "Forrest Gump" — or at least heavily inspired by the film in format, tone, plot, and characters. The Hindi- and Punjabi-language film stars Aamir Khan as the title character, a not-terribly-bright man whose life parallels and changes modern history in India. A combination of harrowing reality-based drama, historical epic, and gentle character and relationship comedy like its predecessor, "Laal Singh Chaddha" offers both nostalgia and commentary on India-based events (such as the Sikh Massacre of 1984 and 1992's Intercommunal Riots) while also telling the story of a Gump-like guy. Similar to Forrest, Laal has a protective mother, and she shelters him from frightening world events and social uprisings by keeping him in his room to avoid so-called malaria outbreaks, and like Tom Hanks, the lead character is portrayed by one of the country's biggest movie stars in Khan.