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Guns 3: Alias Billy The Kid - Will It Ever Happen?

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Billy the Kid is one of the world's most famous Wild West outlaws. His short life was punctuated by crime and bloodshed but is often romanticized into stories about exciting gunfights and daring escapes. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of the most popular examples of this tendency was the "Young Guns" film series starring Emilio Estevez as Billy. The original 1988 film tracks the young outlaw's life from the time he joins The Regulator posse through his participation in the Lincoln County War during the late 1800s. The sequel, "Young Guns 2," came out two years later. It follows Billy the Kid's adventures after the Lincoln Country War, as told from the perspective of Brushy Bill Roberts (portrayed by an uncredited Estevez), one of the many actual men who claimed to be Billy in the early 20th century, despite the outlaw's official death in 1881.

The "Young Guns" franchise seems poised to add another installment with "Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid." There is much that is still unknown about the film's release date, cast, and plot. Here's what we do know about "Guns 3."

When will Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid be released?

So far, there have been no official announcements regarding the release date of "Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid." Franchise star Emilio Estevez revealed in a March 2021 Collider interview that a threequel is "definitely in the works." Aside from that, however, most details regarding the long-in-the-making movie remain a closely guarded secret.

What we do know is that "Guns 3" is in the very early stages of production, and has been for some time. A January 2021 tweet from "Young Guns" writer John Fusco teased a reunion with Estevez. As of September 2021, the IMDb page for "Gun 3" seems to confirm the pair are co-writing the series' third entry together. But, because developments on "Guns 3" are so scant, it's difficult to estimate when this late-blooming third entry will hit theaters. It's all the more difficult to estimate a release date with no filming dates announced nor any news of a studio joining the project as a partner or distributor.

"Guns 3" likely won't reach a release calendar for 2023 or even 2024. In May 2023, original franchise cast member Lou Diamond Phillips (Jose Chavez y Chavez) said that preparations had come to a temporary halt. "It's in limbo right now. it was chugging along there for a minute, but then I think they got into a rights situation," he told Entertainment Weekly. "It's not dead, but it's not happening right now."

What is the plot of Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid?

At this point, any questions we might have about the specific plot of "Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid" are unanswered. However, franchise star and "Guns 3" mastermind Estevez did tease out the broad strokes of a potential "Guns 3" plot, particularly as it pertains to his character, Billy the Kid, who by all accounts died in real life in 1881 (and at the end of "Young Guns," requiring some creative machinations to get "Young Guns II" going). "The Kid is a fun character to play," the actor and filmmaker told Collider in March 2021. "There's a lot of speculation about what happened that night, in 1881 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Did he die? Did he not? And so, there's a lot of mythical, historical and, actually, some factual things that we can examine, if we're serious about going back to that franchise, as well." As of May 2023,Estevez has a screenplay ready to go. 

Another potential lead on the plot is the film's working subtitle, "Alias Billy the Kid." This subtitle is lifted directly from one of many biographies on Brushy Bill Roberts, who claimed to be Billy the Kid long after most people thought he was dead. "Young Guns II" already focuses extensively on Roberts' story, which ends with Billy escaping his supposed death at the hands of Pat Garret (William Petersen). The subtitle of "Guns 3" implies the franchise will take another look at the Roberts angle.

Who is starring in Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid?

 It seems like a few cowboys from the first two "Young Guns" movies are ready to get back in the saddle. Of The Regulators posse members who weren't gunned down in previous installments, it looks like Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez), Dave Rudabaugh (Christian Slater), and Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) will return in "Guns 3." Phillips confirmed his involvement in "Guns 3," too, revealing to Forbes in April 2021 he's already had conversations about returning. "If they can make it happen, I'll be there," the actor said.

Since these three actors are the only more-or-less confirmed cast members, we're curious about how they'll reprise their memorable "Young Guns" characters. It has been more than 30 years since the release of "Young Guns 2," which means the stars of the 1990 movie are, quite obviously, not the young men they once were. While it's more than possible for the original Regulators to get back in the saddle, "Guns 3" would need to create a story to justify focusing on the older, returning Regulators. This could mean the story is set during the tail end — if not long after — the heyday of the Wild West, which puttered out shortly after the turn of the century.

Where to watch Young Guns and Young Guns II

If and when "Guns 3" ever does enter production, get filmed, and makes its way to the masses, fans will likely want to reacquaint themselves with the previous entries in the long-dormant franchise. "Young Guns" was a box office hit with an ensemble cast full of up-and-coming stars of the late 1980s. It's now more than 35 years old and an enduring classic, which makes it a valuable entry in any streaming entity's vast catalog of titles. As of July 2023, "Young Guns" is available for instant viewing on multiple digital platforms. It's streamable on Freevee, Amazon's ad-supported, no-subscription-necessary, cost-free Prime Video offshoot, and it's also up for watching for those who pay the $8.99 monthly fee for the AMC+ service. The 1990 sequel "Young Guns II" is a little harder to find, part of the AMC+ catalog of older films while also available via Amazon — $3.59 to rent, and $14.09 to purchase.