Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason Frenchy Disappears Halfway Through Grease 2

It's been nearly 40 years since the release of Grease 2, yet so much remains unknown. Where did the T-Birds come from? Will there ever be another Rock-a-Hula Luau, or are those days pretty much over? Whatever happened to that Michelle Pfeiffer gal? But there's one question, more than any other, that keeps clawing at the minds of fans: what happened to Frenchy?

A quick recap, in case you're not familiar. Grease, first performed as an off-Broadway (800 miles off Broadway, to be exact) production in Chicago in 1971, before travelling to New York in '72, being exported to West End theaters in '73, and finally landing on the big screen in 1978. It was the musical story of a group of high schoolers, drawn together by their shared love of singing, underage sex, and singing about underage sex. Among the protagonists was Frenchy, played by Didi Conn, a bubbly Pink Lady who drops out of high school in the hopes of pursuing a beautician's license. At one point, she accidentally dyes her hair pink, but then later she dyes it blonde and everything is okay. That is the story of Frenchy from Grease.

You can imagine the pure exhilaration that fans felt when this epic saga continued upon her return in Grease 2, set two years after the original but bringing back the Frenchy character, now boiling over with ambition to finally receive her high school diploma. But then, like Keyser Soze missing his cue by one and a half acts, she vanished without a trace halfway through the movie. What happened to Frenchy?

Grease 2: The Path of Greased Resistance

So what happened to Frenchy? For an accurate assessment of her fate, you have to look behind the scenes.

The original Grease was a phenomenal success, the high water mark of John Travolta's time as a song and dance man, which wound up being the highest grossing non-Disney musical of all time. Yeah, you read that right — it made more money than 2018's Mama Mia! Here We Go Again. It was a bona fide song-sation — according to Box Office Mojo, on a budget of $6 million, Grease pulled a worldwide gross of over $366 million. Paramount, pupils suddenly shaped like dollar signs, began work on a sequel. More specifically, they started work on a sequel that didn't yet have a script, story, or really much hope of bringing back the stars of the first film. In a creative process which has since been described by Frenchy actress Didi Conn as "rushed, frantic, and unorganized," a follow up began to gestate.

What seemed like easy money quickly morphed into a difficult, ill-advised production. Grease director Randal Kleiser wouldn't return for Grease 2, so Patricia Birch, the first movie's choreographer, was tapped to helm the project, despite having never directed a feature film before. Slowly, other names from the original movie began to drop off. Plans for a John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John cameo fell apart. Grease's composers were also less than interested in going back to school again. With the creative team ducking out, it came time to find a new writer, and the responsibility was heaped upon the shoulders of Ken Finkleman, whose other credits include Airplane II: The Sequel and... well, that was about it.

As production commenced, new drafts of the script were pumped out by Finkleman. With those drafts came changes. With those changes came the realization that scenes which had already been shot, and actors who had already been contracted, were no longer, strictly speaking, necessary.

Frenchy: gone in a puff of smoke

All of this brings us to Frenchy, and the production team's sudden recognition that they'd shot a bunch of footage of a character whose arc they had no intention of finishing. According to Screen Rant, she was initially slated to teach Michael, the film's lead character, to ride a motorcycle and become the cool rider he was always destined to be. She would also, it's presumed, finish high school.

Instead, Frenchy disappeared, never to be heard from again. It was one of many complaints that filmgoers had about the hastily-produced sequel. Despite the high praise of a New York Magazine article which crowned the movie with "all the earmarks of being good," critics saw a soggy bomb. Roger Ebert wrote that the film "just recycles Grease, without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease." A Radio Times review singled out the fact that Liza Minnelli's stepsister was in it as a high point. All told, Grease 2 wound up as a critical and financial failure, recouping just $15 million. Only Michelle Pfeiffer is thought to have survived.