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Spaceballs 2: The Long, Strange History of the Troubled Sequel

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Released in 1987, Spaceballs was the legendary Mel Brooks' first film in six years. Following a string of movies that he directed, wrote and starred in, he took on just acting responsibilities for the underrated To Be or Not To Be. When he returned for the sci-fi parody, he brought an eclectic but strong cast of comic actors -- Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, John Candy, Joan Rivers and Rick Moranis -- with him. While it may not reach the comic heights of his earlier fare like Young Frankenstein and Blazing SaddlesSpaceballs has become a true cult classic since its release.

Of all his films, it's the only one that set itself up for future sequels. But despite multiple attempts and even an animated spin-off, an official sequel has never come to fruition. Now, CBR is taking a look back at the ill-fated attempts to bring Spaceballs back to the big screen.

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Spaceballs III

The first proposed sequel for Spaceballs was called Spaceballes III: The Search for Space Balls II. During a 2013 interview, Rick Moranis spoke about how the sequel was considered in the initial years following the original Spaceballs. "Mel wanted to do a sequel after it became a cult video hit," Moranis explained. "It wasn’t a box office hit. It was a cult video hit, and MGM wanted to do a sequel. And my idea for it was Spaceballs III: The Search for Spaceballs II."

The compelling premise would naturally play up the frequent jokes in the original about setting up a sequel by making those jokes the primary gag of the next film.

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However, according to Moranis, the plan fell apart due to budget. "I wasn’t privy to what the budget was or anything, but the deal he presented me, what he wanted me to do, was not workable... because it is so specific, it’s counter-productive to talk about it. But I was unable to make a deal, and it would have been something I would have wanted to do. But that ship has sailed."

SPACEBALLS: THE ANIMATED SERIES

While that intended follow-up never happened, it doesn't mean that the premise was ever fully abandoned. In the 2000s, Spaceballs: The Animated Series was produced in conjunction with the American cable channel G4 and Canadian network Super Channel. The series was produced by Brooks, with much of the original cast returning for the show. However, this did not include key cast members Bill Pullman and Rick Moranis, who turned down offers to return to their original roles, or John Candy, who had since passed away.

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The series was initially intended to air in 2007, but was pushed back to 2008. The show played out more as a series of general parodies instead of focusing just on sci-fi narratives. The series poked fun at everything from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to Grant Theft Auto and American Idol. However, the series only received lukewarm reviews and was canceled after one season of 13 episodes.

SPACEBALLS: THE SEARCH FOR MORE MONEY

Rick Moranis in Spaceballs

Following the smash success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the idea of another Spaceballs started gaining traction again. Brooks publicly discussed wanting to use Spaceballs 2 to poke fun at the revamped Star Wars films and could have still used the long-teased subtitle, "The Search For Money," as the perfect gag.

By this point, that might not be a viable option. Moranis is mostly retired, although he did reprise the role of Dark Helmet for an episode of the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, and Brooks has said he wouldn't make the sequel without Moranis involved. Other cast members from the original, such as the aforementioned John Candy as well as Joan Rivers, Dick Van Patten and Dom DeLuise have all passed away from various causes.

While Brooks might still want to bring the film to life, it seems less and less likely that Spaceballs 2 will ever see the light of day. However, there's always a chance that the search for money could still continue some day.

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