Thirty years ago, a young Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter took audiences on a whirlwind journey through time in the 1989 cult classic film – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The comedy followed the exploits of metal head slackers William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan as they tried to protect their future. Apparently the music of their band, the Wyld Stallyns, is the driving force behind a utopian society created in the future. In order to ensure that this society comes to fruition, leaders in the future send Rufus (George Carlin) back in time to assist Bill and Ted with their history report. Rufus provides Bill and Ted with a phone booth time machine and allows them to meet historical figures and learn about key historical events.
As Feburary 17, 2019 marks the film’s 30th anniversary, now is the perfect time to track the bodacious history of one of pop cultures favorite pair of time travelling slackers. Following their orignal adventures, Bill and Ted returned in the 1991 sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Bill and Ted also found fame on the small screen with the 1990 animated television series, followed by the live-action television series in 1992. While the animated series featured the original cast, the live-action series cast Evan Richards as Bill and Christopher Kennedy as Ted. Both television programs were short-lived and, although popular, they failed to reach the same acclaim as the feature films. Outside of film and television, Bill and Ted enjoyed adventures in the comic medium with Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book. Published by Marvel comics this 12-issue comic book series, written and illustrated by Evan Dorkin, continued the story from the end of the second film. It was also nominated for the 1992 Eisner Award for Best Humor Comic.
The excellent adventures of Bill and Ted were also available in several video games. A single player graphic adventure PC game based on first film was released by Capstone for DOS, Commodore 64, and Amiga systems in 1990. The player would assume control of Bill and Ted and be tasked with finding the historical figures necessary for their oral report. As in the film, if the player does not finish the game in the allotted time, the player fails the history report and loses the game. Inspired by the subsequent film, Acclaim Entertainment released the action-puzzle game for Game Boy in 1991. In this game, DeNomolos has Time Fragments and scattered them all across time. To prevent the future from altering, Bill and Ted must travel across time and retrieve the time fragments.
Also released in 1991 was the Atari Lynx handheld game, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, based on the Bill and Ted films and the animated series. Unlike other Bill and Ted games, players get the choice to play as either Bill or Ted. The player must collect all the musical notes that are scattered throughout time in order to save the Princesses, Joanna, and Elizabeth. Nintendo also released an action-adventure video game for the Bill and Ted franchise, but rather than adapt the movie this game served as an original continuation to the first film’s events. To build anticipation for the upcoming reboot, Built Games released an action-RPG game for IOS and Android devices called Wyld Stallyns. This game sees San Dimas in 2688 heinously overrun by evil robots, with only Bill and Ted able to travel through the Circuits of Time and save the day.
Between animated series and comic books, to puzzle games and action-RPG games, the Wyld Stallyns have come a long way since their initial 1989 film debut. As Winter and Reeves prepare to reunite onscreen as Bill and Ted after 30 years, why not dust off your Gameboy and enjoy an excellent walk down memory lane.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is slated for release in 2020.