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Mrs. Doubtfire 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

While the very idea of it may send millennials into a tailspin, the '90s are having a moment right now, and people seem to be leaning into the influences of this decade in a big way. And in movies, nostalgia is always pretty big business, with a slew of legacy sequels for decades-old properties and franchises re-surfacing. Something that could combine Hollywood's reliance on nostalgia and the penchant for all things from the '90s would be a sequel to the 1993 comedy classic, "Mrs. Doubtfire."

Directed by Chris Columbus, "Mrs. Doubtfire" sees divorced dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) dressing up as the titular British nanny in a last-ditch effort to spend time with his beloved kids, Lydia (Lisa Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence), and Natalie (Mara Wilson). While Daniel's talents for impersonation and voice acting convince his ex-wife Miranda (Sally Field) enough to hire him, it's only a matter of time before the truth will be revealed. Even though the children thrive under Mrs. Doubtfire's supervision, Daniel's unorthodox actions may just take him further away from them than he ever feared.

While the first movie hardly left audiences with a nail-biting cliffhanger ending, there were perhaps some questions left unanswered. Was Mrs. Doubtfire's new career as a TV host a success? Did Miranda and Stu (Pierce Brosnan) get married? How much therapy did the kids require after it all went down? Settle in poppets, as we take a look at whether a sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire" is likely to happen.

Why isn't a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel happening yet?

Perhaps the most obvious answer to the question of why a sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire" hasn't happened yet — and is unlikely to happen — is because of the tragic death of star Robin Williams, who died by suicide in 2014. Williams completely made the role his own, using his incomparable talent for improvisation to elevate the film from run-of-the-mill family fare to a genuine comedy classic. To make a movie without him now would seem foolish, but that's not to say that it wasn't something being discussed when he was still alive.

In the early '00s, rumors began to circulate about the possibility of a sequel, and at one stage, actor Bonnie Hunt was on board to write the script. This iteration never surfaced, however, and the project went quiet until 2014 when Deadline reported that "Elf" writer David Berenbaum was set to pen the script instead. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Chris Columbus spoke about how close the sequel was to being a reality, saying, "We said for years that we would never do it. Then somebody came up with a really interesting idea, and we agreed to develop a script."

In the same interview, Columbus tragically revealed that the conversations about a "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel were some of the last ones he had with Williams, whose untimely death immediately halted the chance of a sequel — perhaps indefinitely.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

What has the cast said about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire?

While Robin Williams is arguably the heart and soul of the movie, there are a number of other key players who would need to be on board for a sequel to make it work. Whether this theoretical sequel would take place just a few years after the original was set or in the present day would of course influence whether any existing cast members could reprise their roles or not.

For the then-young stars of the film, "Mrs. Doubtfire" marked a breakthrough moment in their careers — particularly for the youngest cast member, Mara Wilson, who played Natalie. Going on to star in films such as "Matilda" and the 1994 remake of "Miracle on 34th Street," Wilson made her screen debut in "Mrs. Doubtfire" and it's obviously a role she still holds very dear. Speaking on her Twitter, Wilson made her feelings clear about a possible sequel, saying, "I do not have anything to do with the 'Mrs. Doubtfire' sequel, nor will I."

As for the other members of the Hillard family, Matthew Lawrence was much more enthusiastic about the idea, telling TMZ, "Of course I would be on board. I hope they make the second as good as the first. The first was so good." Lisa Jakub said on her Twitter that she was on the fence about the sequel. Now retired from acting, Jakub also mused about the idea of a follow-up on her personal blog, saying, "Why do we want it? Why do we want more of something that is just fine as it is?"

Would Pierce Brosnan or Sally Field do a sequel?

As well as the hijinks surrounding the character of Mrs. Doubtfire, the film also features a surprisingly endearing romance between Miranda Hillard and her old flame, Stuart Dunmeyer. Played by screen legends Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan, the pair make a handsome couple, and the new romance gives Miranda some pep in her step after her tumultuous marriage to Daniel ends.

Despite an unfortunate incident with a hot jambalaya and the shock of discovering Mrs. Doubtfire's real identity, we would like to believe that Stu and Miranda stayed together, and perhaps the sequel would let us see if they made it or not. Both would arguably be essential for a sequel to work. Brosnan cuts a dashing figure as the suave Stu — just two years before he would play James Bond — and the film wouldn't be the same without Field's hysterical line delivery.

In an interview with I Am Rogue, Brosnan spoke glowingly about co-star Williams before going on to say he was available for the sequel, remarking, "If they want me, they know where to find me." Sally Field's involvement in a potential "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel was also brought up when she appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2014. Field didn't make a firm commitment either way, but she joked that they hadn't called her yet. And while only having a small role in the original, playing Daniel Hillard's makeup artist brother, Harvey Fierstein told Sirius XM Entertainment that it was still the role he was best known for and quipped that while he hadn't received a call, he "couldn't imagine they would dare do it without me."

What could be explored in Mrs Doubtfire 2?

Even though the sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire" was semi-greenlit prior to Robin Williams' death, no plot details were released, and it's unlikely that they ever will be. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Chris Columbus commented that he won't divulge what the sequel could have explored, saying, "It's so delicate. I'd love to talk about it, but it's really too difficult at this point."

Purely from a speculative point of view, there are several places the sequel could have gone. After his family discovered that he was Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel managed to turn her into a TV personality with her own show. But would this character of an elderly British nanny be able to speak to the kids today, or would she be fighting for ways to stay relevant? Alternatively, in legacy sequels such as "Mary Poppins Returns," we get to see the kids all grown up and with families of their own, so "Mrs. Doubtfire 2" could have also gone down a similar route.

As with many other films from this time period, there are some elements of "Mrs. Doubtfire" that have not aged well at all, and a sequel would perhaps be wise to address some of these issues. There has been some criticism from the trans community for the way the film depicts a cisgender man dressing up as a woman and the way it trivializes the sensitive issue of gender identity and expression. Things have certainly moved on now, and if there was to be a sequel, it would definitely have to handle things more sensitively and leave out some of the more outdated jokes.

There are several obscure remakes of Mrs. Doubtfire

Amid all the talk of a sequel, it should also be noted that there are already three remakes of "Mrs. Doubtfire," but it won't be a huge surprise if you haven't seen them ... or if you are just learning this fact. It isn't uncommon for there to be foreign remakes of famous movies – and the trend goes the other way as well, with Hollywood producing a plethora of English-language remakes of foreign films. However, it is interesting to consider that "Mrs. Doubtfire" was remade three times over.

Originally adapted from the book "Madame Doubtfire" by Anne Fine, 1993's "Mrs. Doubtfire" directly inspired the Indian Tamil-language "Avvai Shanmughi" in 1996, and the plot beats are very similar — albeit with some songs thrown in for good measure. In the film, Kamal Haasan plays the recently divorced Pandiyan who dresses up as a nanny to spend time with his daughter. Just one year later, "Chachi 420" — an Indian Hindi-language remake of "Avvai Shanmughi" (or a re-remake of "Mrs. Doubtfire") — was released, followed by the Sri Lankan Sinhala-language remake "Kauda Bole Alice" in 2000. 

While there are notable differences between the films, all of them follow the blueprint of "Mrs. Doubtfire" to a degree. They may be considerably more obscure than the Robin Williams' vehicle, but it is absolutely fascinating to see the same story play out through the lens of different cultures and languages.

Mrs. Doubtfire has been adapted into a stage musical

A movie sequel seems increasingly unlikely, but fans will still have the opportunity to see the character of Mrs. Doubtfire in a new way as the film has been adapted into a stage musical. The idea for a musical was touted in 2015, and the Oscar-winning Alan Menken was set to compose the new original songs, while Harvey Fierstein was also creatively involved. However, speaking with Digital Spy in 2016, Menken revealed that the project was "on a creative hiatus," and later, both he and Fierstein would depart from the project.

All was not lost, however, and theatrical producer Kevin McCollum brought in a new creative team, including Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks. After premiering in Seattle, Washington, the musical previewed on Broadway in 2020. While it was subject to closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it reopened on Broadway in October 2021 and ran until May 2022 before transferring overseas to show in Manchester and London, U.K.

Despite some reports that the producers of the musical had met with various organizations to address the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community, the response to the musical has been decidedly mixed. In her review for Vulture, critic Helen Shaw said the musical fails to address the problematic elements and that the transphobia looming over the story is clumsily handled. The film was certainly a product of its time, and unless a sequel could right some of the wrongs, perhaps it is best that "Mrs. Doubtfire" remains a standalone film.