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Why we never got to see Office Space 2

It's one of the most beloved comedies of all time now, but when it was released to theaters in 1999, Office Space (from Beavis & Butt-Head and King of the Hill creator Mike Judge) was not a hit. It did very well on home video, however, when millions discovered just how much they could relate to the story of a guy named Peter (Ron Livingston) who, unhappy in his bland and generic corporate job, starts to "keep it real" at work to a fault after a botched hypnotism. (And this is to say nothing of the world's most annoying boss, the red stapler-obsessed Milton, and the poor office drone unfortunate enough to be named Michael Bolton.) Office Space was the comedy that white collar workers so desperately needed. And yet it's never spawned a sequel. Here's why we never got to see Office Space 2.

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Mike Judge thinks it would be a bad idea

The original Office Space was an ensemble comedy, so a sequel would entail getting a pretty large cast back together, including Ron Livingston (Peter), Diedrich Bader (Lawrence), Stephen Root (Milton), Gary Cole (Bill Lumbergh), Ajay Naidu (Samir), John C. McGinley (Bob Slydell), Jennifer Aniston (Joanna), and David Herman (Michael Bolton). Hollywood has reunited disparate casts after a long time away before—such as with the latter-day reboots of Arrested Development and Gilmore Girls. But for a true sequel to ever happen, it would need the approval and involvement of just one guy: Office Space director and writer Mike Judge. If Judge doesn't want to do Office Space 2, probably nobody will. And guess what? He doesn't want to do it. When asked if he'd ever revive Beavis & Butt-Head or Office Space, Judge said, "I wouldn't do either one unless we had a good idea." Presumably after nearly 20 years, that good idea hasn't come along yet. In an interview with Larry King, Gary Cole reiterated as much, saying that a sequel "would have to do with Mike, and I don't think Mike is interested in that."

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Mike Judge didn't even want to make the first Office Space

It might be hard to get Judge to return to make a sequel to a movie he wasn't terribly excited about making from the start. Looking for the next big comedy smash after the success of There's Something About Mary in 1998, Twentieth Century Fox executives approached Judge about adapting his "Milton" shorts which had appeared on Saturday Night Live (which featured only Milton, and the character that would later be named Bill Lumbergh). He didn't think it was a very good idea for a movie, and only relented after the suits talked him into it.

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Mike Judge had a bad time making the original Office Space

Judge probably isn't too keen on heading back into the Office Space because he had some terrible experiences making the original movie, at least as far as dealing with studio Twentieth Century Fox was concerned. "It was very satisfying to make, but I had to fight for every decision," Judge said, adding that executives "didn't like the music, they didn't like the cast, or much of anything." Judge's bosses also criticized scenes after they were shot. "When we were watching the dailies, the execs were like, 'More energy! More energy!' We gotta reshoot it! You're failing.'" And after all that, Judge wasn't happy with how the movie ended. "Coming out of the last test screening, I had an epiphany of what the ending should be." Judge wanted to completely rewrite the last third of the movie … but it was too late.

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Sequel plans were already nixed years ago

Office Space made just over $10 million at the box office in 1999, but it became a massive hit via word of mouth when it was released on home video. In its first four years of availability, Office Space sold 2.6 million copies on VHS and DVD. During this time, the movie was doing so well on the small screen that Fox approached Judge about doing a sequel. While Judge thought the offer was "really, really satisfying" because Fox executives had not much cared for Office Space while it was in production, he still turned it down.

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Mike Judge's movies don't do well financially

Despite the urging of a movie studio to make a sequel, another Office Space could be a hard sell. Judge has a track record of making movies that are well-received by critics but that audiences wait for home video to see. Studios don't want to pony up millions to release a movie into theaters that nobody will go see immediately. Judge has directed three live-action movies. All three of them—Office Space, Idiocracy, and Extract—tanked in theaters.

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It would probably be tough to get Jennifer Aniston.

At the time of the release of Office Space, Jennifer Aniston was just getting her film career going after five seasons on the mega-hit TV comedy Friends. She was probably the most recognizable member of the cast of Office Space, even though her part in the film (as Peter's love interest, a waitress named Joanna who also hates her job) is relatively small. Friends continued through 2004, by which point Aniston was earning $1 million an episode. She jumped right into a very successful film career, and today's she's one of the busiest, most famous, and best-paid actresses in Hollywood. It might be too tricky for any Office Space sequel to book Aniston, let alone afford her fee.

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Mike Judge sort of made a sequel already

Immediately after the release of Office Space in 1999, Judge wrote another workplace comedy called Extract. But he couldn't get it made because it was too similar to Office Space, and Office Space had been a box office bomb. A decade later, in 2009, Extract was finally produced and starred Jason Bateman as the unhappy and dissatisfied owner of a company that makes flavoring agents. When talked with MTV about making the movie, Judge compared Extract to Office Space, implying that Extract was something of a spiritual sequel to Office Space. "Office Space was sympathetic to the employees, and the bosses and the managers were the a**holes. This one is sympathetic to Jason Bateman's character as the owner, and all the employees are the a**holes."

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'Silicon Valley' explores similar themes

The American workplace landscape has changed a lot since 1999. The high-tech sector has grown, and work options like freelancing, telecommuting, and "gigging" have become more commonplace. Office Space satirizes a culture that doesn't really exist anymore. Thus, too much time has passed for an Office Space sequel to be as relevant as the original. But there is an ongoing TV series that captures what it's like to work in today's equivalent of Office Space's soul-killing workplace: HBO's Emmy-winning Silicon Valley, concerning a group of programmers trying to launch their own company in the cutthroat, dizzyingly fast-paced, and dehumanizing world of California's Silicon Valley. Oh, and the series was co-created by Mike Judge.

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We don't really need a sequel

While it would certainly be great to see another Mike Judge written-and-directed movie reuniting the original Office Space cast for another round of printer smashing, corporate espionage, and red staplers, a sequel really doesn't make sense. The first Office Space tells a complete story, and the good guys get happy endings. Peter finds happiness, Joanna abandons her job at Chotchkie's (as well as all the flair), and Milton escapes to a tropical paradise. It would take a creative miracle to find a way to get all the characters from Office Space back together again in a way that was natural, organic, and that had something to say about the world.