So they’re making a sequel to the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Yup, you read that right, the Jimmy Stewart-starring classic about a man who learns the true meaning his life has when an angel shows him how worse things would have been had he never been born is getting the sequel treatment from producers Allen J. Schwalb and Bob Farnsworth, with the unimaginative title It’s A Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story.
Variety has all the details.
Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter “Zuzu” in the original, will return for the “Wonderful Life” sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.
(Why not just It’s A Wonderful Life: The Next Generation?)
Wait, what? “How much better off the world would have been had he never been born”? The suggests to me that the film either ends with the grandson deciding to stay dead so the world can be a better place or he makes the selfish decision to stay alive and let the world be a worse place for it.
Farnsworth tries to explain away what they are attempting by stating, “The storyline of the new film retains the spirit of the original – every life is important as long as you have friends.” So even though your very existence makes the world worse, it’s OK as long as you have someone to share the misery with? In the history of really bad ideas, this is definitely one of them.
I imagine that there is going to be howls of protest as the news of this gets around, and given the premise, I can’t say as I blame people. But it is not like this is the first time that It’s A Wonderful Life has been re-envisioned. In 1977, the film was remade for television as It Happened One Christmas, with Stewart’s role of George Bailey being gender-bent to Mary Bailey Hatch for actress Marlo Thomas. Today, this version is mostly forgotten, as I expect that history will do to this new version, should it go ahead.
As of right now, the producers are still looking for the actor to play George Bailey’s grandson with the hope of getting in front of cameras in February for a holiday 2014 season release.