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The Big Lebowski Sequel - Will It Ever Happen?

The Dude abides, but not, it would seem, into sequel land. In 1998, coming off their screenwriting Oscar win for "Fargo," acclaimed filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen released one of their most beloved movies to date — "The Big Lebowski." Equal parts character study of an aging hippie, quirky and twisted crime caper, dark comedy, and bowling fantasia, the film inspired a cult audience that's grown larger with each passing year.

Ever since the movie's theatrical release, diehard fans have wanted to see more adventures of Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), a man who doesn't want to do much besides drink White Russians, smoke marijuana, and hang out with violently high-strung bowling pal Walter (John Goodman). Of course, despite his laid-back attitude, the Dude finds himself wrapped up in a weird criminal scheme involving a soiled rug, a wealthy man also named Jeff Lebowski, and a kidnapped wife. But while the Coens would become the toast of Hollywood — their films bringing in critical accolades, moderate box office, and tons of awards — they've never given in to fan demand and made another "Lebowski." 

Is there any chance we might revisit this crazy world created by the Coens? Well, here's why a sequel never got rolling, what we could expect from a potential part two, and how you actually can reunite with one of "Lebowski's" most iconic characters.

Why isn't a Big Lebowski sequel happening yet?

Not only did Joel and Ethan Coen write and direct some of the most critically acclaimed films of the 1990s and 2000s, but they made a lot of them, quickly. After the release of "The Big Lebowski" in 1998, the duo churned out 11 movies over the next 20 years. However, one thing they've never done — and might never do — is a sequel to any of their works, especially "The Big Lebowski." (Well, that doesn't include a theoretical "Barton Fink" follow-up they've kicked around called "Old Fink.") 

So what's the resistance here? "I just don't like sequels," Joel Coen told reporters asking about another "Big Lebowski" movie at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. "I don't see it in our future," Ethan Coen added. Further complicating a proper start on a "Big Lebowski" sequel is the fact that Joel and Ethan Coen have entered a new phase of their working relationship. In 2021, Joel went solo and directed "The Tragedy of Macbeth." Ethan followed suit, making "Drive-Away Dolls" with his wife, Tricia Cooke.

However, it was recently revealed that the Coens haven't permanently ended their cinematic partnership. In the August 2023 issue of Empire (via /Film), Ethan revealed that he and Joel are working on a new project together. Chances are almost zero that it's a sequel to "The Big Lebowski," but if the brothers are making movies together again, it's always possible we might get more bowling alley adventures.

Static Media owns and operates Looper and /Film.

What the cast has said about a Big Lebowski sequel

Needless to say, Jeff Bridges is totally down for "The Big Lebowski 2." When People asked about the possibility of a follow-up film in May 2023, the legendary actor replied, "Oh god! If the brothers were involved, I certainly would. The brothers, they're mysterious and full of surprises. ... I don't think they'll make a sequel. But like I say, they're surprising, so maybe they'll surprise me and make a sequel." 

But what about the rest of the cast? Well, in February 2011, Tara Reid — who played kidnapping "victim" Bunny Lebowski — told Hollywood TV about all the future projects she had lined up. "We'll be doing 'American Pie 4' this year and 'Big Lebowski 2' this year." Of course, there was one major problem with that statement — there was no such "Lebowski" sequel in development. 

"I'm glad she's working on it," blindsided filmmaker Ethan Coen quipped to the Austin American-Statesman. An employee of Reid's told Entertainment Weekly that their boss was likely confused by comments made by Jeff Bridges a few months earlier. He'd publicly advocated for a new "Lebowski" movie, but he'd also admitted that such a film wasn't actually in the works. "No, no, no, I don't think it's gonna happen," he said, as reported by MTV. "But if it happens — what a wonderful surprise!"

Still, Reid clearly wants to do it, and she and Bridges aren't the only ones who'd love another crack at their kooky characters. Sam Elliott — who played the Stranger, the sarsaparilla-drinking narrator and passive participant in "The Big Lebowski" — would also very much like to film a follow-up. When asked by Variety in 2017 if he'd be willing to make the sequel, Elliott replied, "In a heartbeat."

What could be explored in a Big Lebowski sequel?

In 2014, it looked like Coen fans were going to get what they always wanted. In September of that year, The National Report wrote that Joel and Ethan Coen had confirmed shooting would begin shortly on a "Big Lebowski" sequel. The report also included a statement from Ethan Coen that read, "We're thrilled to be coming back to film a second part to this classic movie. For years we've been staying away from doing this project, but when we received this new script and the cast fell into place, it was a no-brainer."

According to Snopes, the story was widely disseminated on social media and other far-reaching websites before the general public realized the story wasn't true. (That part about the receiving a new script should've been the giveaway, as the Coen brothers almost exclusively pen the movies they direct.) As it turns out, The National Report was a faux-news site and even included a disclaimer alerting readers to the "fictitious" nature of its stories.

The concept of an actual sequel to "The Big Lebowski" remains as imaginary as a fake one, but it hasn't stopped interested parties from speculating on the plot of such a project — including the Dude himself. "Lebowski" star Jeff Bridges wants the Coens to pursue a film about his character's offspring. "I'm hoping they make a little Lebowski because it's all set up," Bridges told Business Insider in 2016. "I impregnated Maude [Julianne Moore's character]. As the Stranger says, 'There's a little Lebowski on the way,' you know?"

Some unofficial Big Lebowski sequels already happened

While no officially sanctioned sequel to "The Big Lebowski" has ever been greenlit, written, produced, or even approved by the original film's creators, Joel and Ethan Coen, the movie has inspired some low-key and unconnected spinoffs. Jeff Lebowski drinks White Russian cocktails as a matter of course, but in a 2019 Super Bowl commercial for Stella Artois, he tried one of the company's beers and enjoyed it. Jeff Bridges reprised his role of the Dude for the ad, and he even wore the character's memorable costume.

Of course, there's also a feature-length film set in the world of "The Big Lebowski," a little indie flick titled "The Jesus Rolls" — although the Coen brothers had nothing to do with making it. Instead, the 2019 film was written and directed by actor John Turturro as a way to once more portray his "Lebowski" character, convicted sex offender and foul-mouthed master bowler Jesus Quintana. The Jesus is the only connection to "The Big Lebowski," as the film is otherwise about the character's post-prison release crime spree, and it actually borrows more from the French film "Going Places" than its Coen brothers predecessor.