by Will Padilla
After a nearly three-decade wait, our favorite time-traveling duo has arrived in 2020. “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the third adventure of the boys from San Dimas, opened in theaters and drive-ins and became available on VOD on August 28. And by the end of the weekend, the sequel starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves was no. 1 on streaming platforms. Having gleefully watched the film three times, here are 16 Easter eggs—the most-often less obvious connections to prior films—that we spotted. Warning: Spoilers follow.
The oversized red shirt that Thea (Samara Weaving) wears throughout most of the film is very similar to the one her namesake uncle Ted (Keanu Reeves) wore at the end of his first excellent adventure. She most likely inherited the top from her dad’s best friend.
A Tale of Generations
Rufus’s daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) is named for George Carlin’s real-life daughter Kelly Carlin. Like the hologram of Bill & Ted’s mentor that we see later in the film, it is a fitting tribute to the legendary comedian that first helped the boys save the world.
Close to Our Hearts
Another tribute to Rufus is close to the Great Leader’s (Holland Taylor) heart. If you look closely, you’ll note the pin on her futuristic attire is the same worn by Rufus in “Excellent Adventure.” This may be because she is his widow.
They Do Get Better
Among the many stringed instruments the Great Leader makes available to Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted to write the reality-saving song, we see the two guitars Rufus gifted the boys at the end of “Excellent Adventure.” Of course, since then they did get better.
Rock Me, Amadeus
Actor Daniel Dorr, who plays Mozart (but is curiously not credited in the film), doesn’t look the real-life Wolfgang. Authentic portraits of the legendary composer paint him as less chisel-jawed and handsome as the “Face the Music” actor. But Dorr does look like another well-known “Amadeus” from the 1980s—Falco.
UPDATE: We reached out to Ed Solomon, the co-writer/co-creator of Bill & Ted, and he said that Dorr was cast only because of his talent and not his resemblance to anyone.
When Billie and Thea first meet Ling Lun (Sharon Gee), they comment that the mythological founder of Chinese music is a woman contrary to fabled stories that portray her otherwise. This is just like the story of Billie and Thea, the true creators of the track that will save reality. Although the prophecy foretold men would rescue the world, it is instead women who do so.
Too Many Notes
When Ling Lun graciously lends her bamboo flute to Mozart, he plays a riff from his “Rondò alla Turca.” It’s the same melody that is the basis for Extreme’s “Play with Me,” the song that plays during the wild scene at the mall in “Excellent Adventure.”
If You Can Read This…
The funniest of the tattoos that cover future inmate versions of our heroes (and there are more than 16 of them) can be found on Ted. Across his lower back reads a phrase the boys most often say to themselves: “Catch Ya Later.”
Put Out to Pasture
When Bill and Ted finally visit their older selves, they find them spending their remaining days at “Peaceful Pastures.” The sign outside the rest home includes an image of two (clearly no longer wyld) horses grazing in a field.
Smile and the World Smiles With You
The aged version of Ted wears a shirt with three smiley faces. Smiley faces also line his guitar strap (make sure you stick around after the credits). This is consistent with attire Ted has worn throughout the previous films. In “Bogus Journey,” a large smiley face adorns Ted’s jacket and in “Excellent Adventure,” one can be seen on his leg.
Both Ugly and Stupid
Hidden under make-up and prosthetics, writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson make a cameo as two residents of hell that provide Bill and Ted with directions. Having helmed the previous two films, Solomon and Matheson appeared in the prior movies as well. Each time, they're credited as “Ugly” (Matheson) and “Stupid” (Solomon) versions of the characters they portray.
When the boys finally arrive at MP46, which turns out to be a mile maker of sorts along the 210, a sign for a Circle K can be seen alongside the highway. Since the 210 runs through San Dimas, it’s likely a sign for the convenience store that first brought Bill, Ted and Rufus together.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Like Beethoven before him, Mozart finds himself behind a modern-day synthesizer. Whereas the classical composer featured in “Excellent Adventure” didn’t seem surprised by the sound of the new technology, Mozart seems quite stunned. This may be because while Mozart had an amazing ear for music, Beethoven was completely deaf by his forties.
What Number Are We Thinking Of?
To save reality, Bill and Ted must enlist people throughout time to play along with Billie and Thea’s historic band. To create infinite versions of themselves, they enter the iconic red phone booth and punch in a number that begins with the digits six and nine. In a recent interview, Alex Winter outed Keanu Reeves as having contributed this call back to the original film.
Excellently Huge Martian Butt
After advising the boys on a final matter of quantum physics, Kid Cudi parts ways calling out “station.” This is the name of the two Martians who could merge into one—or was it one who could become two?—and helped the boys in “Bogus Journey.” It’s also the only word they could say. (Oh, and station rocks the bongos!)
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Two songs listed in the film’s credits are provided courtesy of “San Dimas Records” and may not be songs at all. If this isn’t curious enough, “The Seventh Seal” was written by Socrates and performed by Melvin & The Mongols. There are three obvious call backs to earlier films and a possible fourth (although complicated connection between a philosophy of Socrates and an Ingmar Berman film). “The Best of All Possible Worlds” is listed as having been written by Gottfried Leibniz and performed by Joan of Arc and the Bonney Boys. Of course the reference to the maid of Orleans is a call back to her role in “Excellent Adventure.” On the other hand, while German philosopher Leibniz was not a character in any of the films, one of his theories known as “the best of all possible worlds” may be related to the reality of the Bill and Ted universe. It’s certainly how we feel about these films.