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Why The Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel Never Happened

Without a doubt, Christopher Columbus' 1993 family comedy Mrs. Doubtfire was a huge success with critics and audiences alike. The film offered a full array of Robin Williams' remarkable acting talents, from his insane impression skills to his dramatic chops to his overall ability to disappear into his characters — even while playing a female senior citizen nanny who hails from Great Britain. The film was funny and emotional and ended on a high note that left plenty of room for a follow-up. So, why did Mrs. Doubtfire 2 never happen? Williams' tragic and untimely death wasn't the only reason; there's actually a rich history of roadblocks that slowed and ultimately stopped the movie from ever reaching the finish line. Here's why we never got to see a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel.

The first idea was total crap

Director Columbus told Entertainment Weekly that an idea for a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel first crossed his desk in the early 2000s, but neither he nor Williams were pleased with the concept. Actress Bonnie Hunt, whom Williams had starred with in 1995's Jumanji, reportedly wrote a script for the would-be sequel, but Williams dropped out of the project in 2006, saying, "if it's not done right, it's not worth doing."

Williams had previously expressed an interest in continuing on with the life of Daniel Hillard and his cross-dressing alter ego, but per Columbus, after the first idea failed to spark their interest, the pair "said for years we would never do it."

Robin Williams didn't want to make movies anymore

Although Williams' silver screen success was immense — he even won an Oscar for his work in 1997's Good Will Hunting — he reportedly lost interest in the Hollywood life in recent years and begrudged the idea of having to do a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel to make ends meet where his television efforts failed to take off.

A source close to Williams told The Telegraph shortly after Williams' death that Williams had grown weary of working on film sets because they tended to take him away from his family for extended periods of time and "brought out his demons," including mental unwellness. The source claimed, "Robin had promised himself he would not do any more as he invested so much in his roles that it left him drained and particularly vulnerable to depressive episodes." The only reason he did sign on to star in more movies, including a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire, Night at the Museum 3, Merry Friggin' Christmas, and Boulevard, was "purely out of necessity. He wasn't poor, but the money wasn't rolling in any more and life is expensive when you have to pay off two ex-wives and have a family to support."

He instead wanted to work on the small screen, where he could have a little more locational flexibility. His short-lived series The Crazy Ones, for example, was filmed in San Francisco, which was close enough to his home that he could still be with his family. However, it didn't make it past the first season.

One central member of the original cast didn't want to do it

Mara Wilson, who played the intrepid little Natalie, the third child of the Hillard fam, made no bones about the fact that she would not be involved with a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel when it was first announced. The former child star wrote on Twitter, "For the record, no, I do not have anything to do with the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, nor will I." She also added that while she was proud to be in the first film, she generally shied away from sequels and thought Mrs. Doubtfire "ended where it needed to end."

The other two children of the Hillard house were a little less opposed to the concept. Matthew Lawrence, who'd played the middle child, Chris, told TMZ that he would "of course" be game to return to the San Francisco hillside mansion for the sequel, while actress Lisa Jakub, who played eldest daughter Lydia, wasn't quite so sure if she wanted to circle back to it.

Jakub told The Huffington Post, "I'm in the same boat as a lot of other people. I'm kind of wondering how they're going to come up with a storyline that's going to do the project justice. But I feel like if anybody can come with something that is both hilarious and also very meaningful, it's going to be this team." She hadn't yet been approached about returning to the story and wasn't sure if she'd accept, but she wasn't precisely dismissing the possibility of taking them up on the hypothetical offer either. (For what it's worth, Pierce Brosnan seemed totally fine with reprising his role as the strapping step-dad figure, Stu, in the film.)

The public didn't really want it either

The reaction to the 2014 news that there would be a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel was very mixed. While some were enthusiastic about the possibility of a return to Williams' frenzied form, others perceived it as a terrible idea and wanted nothing to do with it.

Transgender people in particular took issue with the idea. Not only had a Fox subsidiary reportedly used an image of the character to mock the trans community's efforts at medical insurance coverage reform in 2013, but some feared that the sequel might revive certain misgivings about the transgender community and set the LGBTQ's awareness progresses back two and half decades to when the first movie happened.

"The 'jokes' and transphobic misogyny that Fox cashed in on in the '90s won't be tolerated by our segment of society," wrote one blogger. Another added that the entire concept of the original would be considered offensive in today's terms, so it'll need a more elaborate makeover than Daniel Hillard got to make it work. "Now, most people realize that yes, this is a way of life, for many people who are simply normal human beings like everyone else. Not demeaning the experiences of trans people will be one of the most important things to include in the sequel."

Robin Williams' passing put an end to it for good

Sadly, Williams committed suicide by hanging on August 11, 2014, in his Tiburon, California, home. Although a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel had finally begun to make headway, his passing marked the end of that effort.

Columbus told Entertainment Weekly that the reason the sequel finally gained steam is that "somebody came up with a really interesting idea," at which point, he and Williams "agreed to develop a script." He added that his conversation with Williams about the subject was actually his last ever chat with the actor. "That was the last time I saw Robin, sadly, when we were talking about the sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire." Columbus then declared in no uncertain terms, "It will definitely never happen now."

There still might be a musical ... maybe

In 2015, after Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was abandoned once and for all, composer and producer Alan Menken announced to Entertainment Weekly that he was working with David Zippel and Harvey Fierstein to create a Mrs. Doubtfire musical, potentially for Broadway. "It's going very well," said Menken. "It's in its early stages, and that's probably all I can say. We're really enjoying working on it."

In 2016, however, Menken gave a grim update about the musical's progress, indicating that it might take longer than expected ... if it happens at all. He told Digital Spy, "Mrs. Doubtfire went through a change of lyricist, and then also a dramaturgical evolution. At the moment, the best thing I could say is that it's on a creative hiatus." Meanwhile, that viral story about a remake starring Jonah Hill in the central role was nothing but a hoax.