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The Real Reason We Never Got To See A Ferris Bueller Sequel

Reportedly written in just six days by major '80s filmmaker John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink), Ferris Bueller's Day Off captures a single, magical day in the life of a high schooler (Matthew Broderick) who understands we need to stop and look around once in awhile because life moves pretty fast. Ferris outsmarts his parents and his principal, steals a classic car, gets the girl, gives his best friend self-confidence, dines in a fancy restaurant, takes in a baseball game, and sings a Beatles song on a parade float. Everybody thinks he's a righteous dude...so how come we only ever got that single Ferris Bueller movie? Here are some reasons why a sequel never happened.

It didn't need one

Director John Hughes and star Matthew Broderick stayed in touch for a few years after filming wrapped on Ferris Bueller's Day Off and bandied about ideas for a sequel. According to Hughes, in those proposed movies, Ferris would "be in college or at his first job, and the same kind of things would happen again." Director and star ultimately decided that such a movie would be a lame rehash, because the original movie was "about a singular time in your life."

John Hughes moved on from making teen comedies

Hughes wrote, directed, or wrote and directed a string of classic teen movies—and Ferris Bueller's Day Off was just about the last one. It followed The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles. After Bueller, Hughes only made one more teen movie in the '80s, 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful. After that, he shifted to different career tracks: family fare and adult comedies. For kids, Hughes made Uncle Buck, Home Alone, and Curly Sue. Grown-up Hughes fans got She's Having a Baby, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and The Great Outdoors.

Matthew Broderick was too busy

Broderick was one of the biggest stars of the late '80s, and a big part of that was because of his role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As such, in the five years after Bueller, Broderick starred in an eclectic bunch of movies, from contemporary dramas like Project X and Torch Song Trilogy to period pictures like Biloxi Blues and the Oscar-winning Civil War epic Glory, and comedies like Family Business and The Freshman. Broderick just wouldn't have had the time to make a Ferris Bueller sequel...especially when he still would've been young enough to play the part convincingly. Broderick was 24 when Ferris Bueller was released, and probably already a little long in the tooth for, say, a college-set Bueller sequel.

John Hughes had mixed feelings about sequels

There aren't many sequels in the Hughes filmography. While his screenplay for the first Vacation movie is based on a true story he wrote up for National Lampoon, he skipped having anything to do with European Vacation, but returned to write Christmas Vacation. That's the only sequel Hughes ever worked on—he was opposed to the Ferris Bueller TV series and declined the chance to write a sequel to Home Alone. Hughes also reportedly toyed with a follow-up to The Breakfast Club for years, but couldn't ever come up a legitimate reason to get those five characters back into the same room again. Similarly, he just couldn't conceive of a worthy Ferris Bueller sequel.

Matthew Broderick ultimately didn't want to do it

In spite of his sequel aversion, Hughes still mapped out his ideas for Ferris Bueller 2. He shared some of them with Jeffrey Jones, who played evil Principal Rooney. At a Hughes tribute event after the director's death in 2009, Jones claimed Hughes had told him some of his ideas for Bueller 2, but all Jones would say was that it was supposed to be set in Hawaii, and that it fell apart because Broderick wasn't interested in reprising his role.

There was a Ferris Bueller sequel, if cameos count

In John Hughes' 1988 relationship comedy She's Having a Baby, the end credits roll as a rapid-fire montage of celebrities throw out their ideas for what Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern's characters should (spoiler alert?) name their new baby. For example, rock star Warren Zevon suggests "Igor," John Candy likes "Toby" or "Cecil," and Magic Johnson recommends "Baby Magic." Among the cameos is Matthew Broderick, clearly in character as Ferris Bueller. In fact, he's wearing the same bathrobe and has his hair all messy, exactly as it was in the post-credits sequence at the end of Ferris Bueller's Day Off when he tells the audience to "go home." His suggestion: "Jim."

They made a prequel TV series instead

In the fall of 1990, NBC debuted a single-camera sitcom called Ferris Bueller. It didn't detail the adventures of Ferris (portrayed on the show by Charlie Schlatter), nor was it really a prequel. Instead, the show operated from the convoluted premise that it depicted the real-life characters upon which the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off was built around. And furthermore, TV Ferris didn't like the movie—in the first episode, he uses a chainsaw to decimate a cardboard standee of Broderick-as-Ferris. But after that, no more allusions to Ferris Bueller's Day Off were made by the series, which evolved into a pretty standard high school show about a popular, charismatic guy and his always angry sister Jeannie. (Portrayed in the movie by Jennifer Gray, TV Jeannie was played on the series by a young Jennifer Aniston.) Ferris Bueller didn't attract much of an audience and was cancelled halfway through the 1990-91 TV season.

They made a car commercial instead

Honda's 2012 Super Bowl commercial for its CR-V was a two-and-a-half-minute homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In a meta twist, Matthew Broderick fakes being sick (just like Ferris) in order to get out of his actorly commitments and go have fun in his CR-V. Broderick wakes up in a fancy hotel, tells his agent that he can't work, and then addresses the camera as Yello's "Oh Yeah" plays. His excuse, as he opens the curtains to reveal the California sunshine: "How can I handle work on a day like today?" That's straight from the original movie, one of many references in the ad. Others: a valet intones "Broderick, Broderick" (like the economics teacher's droning "Bueller, Bueller") and a visit to a museum. Even actress Edie McClurg (school receptionist Grace in the movie) makes an appearance.

A fan script couldn't about a middle-aged Ferris couldn't get any traction

In 2011, an Arizona-based amateur screenwriter (with only a couple of short films to his credit) named Rick Rapier went viral when he released the first 12 pages of a Ferris Bueller sequel script he'd written. The plot: Ferris Bueller is now 40 years old and is a motivational speaker, a la Tony Robbins. But he's incredibly overworked, so with his business manager—Cameron Frye—he takes a day off. It couldn't gain much traction in Hollywood, however—Rapier hadn't been hired by anyone to write the script, or even asked. Nor did he have any sort of Hollywood clout. After Rapier's 15 minutes of fame were up, the script was never purchased by a film studio.

Maybe they'll do one someday

Alan Ruck, who played Ferris's best friend and day off cohort Cameron Frye, has spoken about a loose idea for revisiting the movie's characters in the distant future. The plot: Cameron, still a sad sack at 70, commits himself to a nursing home even though he's still in relatively good health. His old friend Ferris gets wind of it, busts him out, and the two old men have a blast—going into the city, hitting a strip club, et cetera. At the end, Cameron dies. With Ferris Bueller 30 years in the past and both Ruck and Broderick in their 50s now, that means this Ferris Bueller Returns could hit theaters sometime around 2036.