The Princess Bride writer William Goldman says he's been trying to write a sequel

Before you start worrying that some unworthy person is going to try writing a sequel to The Princess Bride, let it be known that the man who wrote the original, screenwriter William Goldman (who also wrote the original novel), has actually been trying to write one himself for years. What's stopping him? He's having trouble coming up with a good story. Last night at the New York Film Festival, Goldman made it sound like this has been floating around in his head for years:

“I’m desperate to make it and write it and I don’t know how... I would love to make it, more than anything else I’ve not written.”

It's reassuring that any story about a sequel to The Princess Bride is a story about Mr. Goldman and not some other writer preparing big-budget fan fiction that everyone will probably protest with fire and rage. Goldman, who also wrote the screenplays for All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, is the only person who is allowed to talk about writing a Princess Bride sequel as far as I'm concerned. Such a beloved and delicately crafted kingdom of characters should only come from its creator, at least in this case. So if the mood ever strikes Goldman and he does come up with a new adventure for Westley and Buttercup, I'm sure I'm not the only person who will think it was worth the wait.

One thing is for certain, though: Even a great sequel written by Goldman that will "bwing evewyone togethah" won't have Andre the Giant, Peter Cook, or Peter Falk in it. And that is a pretty big bummer.

Photo credit: The Princess Bride Official Site

‘Princess Bride’ sequel? Inconceivable! says writer William Goldman [Hero Complex]


  1. Yeah… so most of the old and or abnormally large cast members are dead.

    Well… change it up. Have Fred Savage reading a story to his own kid… and have him reminisce about being sick and in bed with Gramps doing nearly the same thing.

    Putting some thought into it and not letting Lucas add midichlorians will probably result in something that is at least entertaining.

  2. Still skeptical. Lest we forget, the same comedic geniuses who brought us Ghostbusters also brought us Ghostbusters II.

  3. I’m only on board for a sequel to the novel. Buttercup’s Baby perhaps :)

    I’m not interested in a movie sequel featuring half the cast. The time for that has passed.  

    1.  It’d have to be about different characters.  Buttercup and Wesley’s story is perfect the way it is, and any effort to extend it beyond the most perfect kiss in the history of kisses is a mistake.

      Maybe their kid could have a story, but not Buttercup and Wesley.

  4. What is the need that people have to resurrect popular culture from 25 years ago? Just leave something good in the past where it belongs, and enjoy it as is.

    Goldman wrote Princess Bride in the mid-80s. The last successful film he wrote was Chaplin in 1992. The omens for this aren’t great. Hope it never happens.

  5. If William Goldman chooses to write and film a 3-year-old’s primer on the difference between yellow and blue, I will still pay to go watch it.

    I’m glad it’s he who has not written a Bride sequel.  Nobody else is worthy not to have written it.

    1. I think this BB post is more about “whew, a chance some douche won’t necessarily appropriate The Princess Bride” than it is about odds of it happening.

      Not to say it’s sound, if some douche see money in it it could yet happen somehow

    1. This is an interesting example. The usual wisdom is not to revisit things after so long, because it’s too hard to find the same mindset and so it never really works out the same. LOTR escapes that because it is deliberately a very different type of book.

    2. It also helps that much of what was written was borrowed from other sources, in the Shakespearean sense.  He was (re)working with ideas that were already established as successful socially and literarily in their own time, and continued beyond that original milieu.

    3. Those are publishing dates, not writing dates. They were both written over a period of decades starting in WWI, and he scraped together various parts of his mythos to create those books.

  6. Could we please have a sequel with a strong female character in it?  Buttercup was the one thing that spoiled it for me, I found it unbelievable that Wesley would fall for such a simpering, wet, weak, stupid person.

    1. I think that’d be part of the problem with a sequel. One of the jokes of the book was that Buttercup was an unmitigated bimbo. Big heart, good-looking for sure, but not a lot going on upstairs. That’s hard to carry off in a film and keep the character likeable. If Buttercup were given a more substantial role (which she’d have to, to get Robin Wright back), it would of course be even harder.

  7. I love Goldman, but the later additions to the Princess Bride books (which I’ve bought in about nine different editions now) have felt a little forced and self-conscious to me. That, plus no Fezzik, is enough to make me more than content to leave a sleeping dog lie.

  8. Having read the original novel only after first falling in love with the film, I was struck by just how different it was – not in story, but in tone and delivery.

    For those unfamiliar with the book, it pulls a sort of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing trick, wherein it presents itself as an abridgement of an obscure 19th century European literary classic by one S. Morgenstern – an old fashioned sort of fairy tail lodged ungracefully into a much larger political and cultural satire of that bygone era, that Mr. Goldman claims to be editing and abridging in order to get rid of all the stuffy and highly localized antique context which no longer matters and focus on the romantic fairy tail story at the core of it all. But Morgenstern never existed, his home country of Florin and all it’s petty local politicals of course has never been known in Europe or elsewhere, and Goldman’s criticisms of the 19th century book’s literary flaws are outright fabrications as the story doesn’t come from the 19th century and never included any of the things Goldman cheekily pretends to edit out. It’s all a very clever, if potentially confusing, setpiece for the actual fairy tail story – replete with a fake introduction by Goldman riddled with made up anecdotes about his own experiences with the book and even an imaginary alternate universe version of himself and his family and how The Princess Bride affected them all.

    The film, of course, has none of those things. And that’s probably for the best – it makes the film clean and accessible, which is exactly what you need for that medium. As a novel, where readers expect to have to think more, take more time, and are free to “pause” and “rewind” to try to better understand something that confuses them, all the little fakeries and made up details are kind of a stroke of genius. But the film would be hurt by that level of complexity and cleverness, and works so much better as just the sort of straight and simple story that the novel light-heartedly (and self-effacingly) suggests almost never occurs in books.

    The above article makes it fairly clear that Goldman is talking about making a new film, but I think perhaps what he needs to do instead is make a new novel. The film worked because they took a brilliant and indulgent bit of writing and refined it into a smaller, sleeker package, taking only the best ideas and cutting out the things that were too bulky or oddly fitting. I think if Goldman let go and just made another sprawling, jumbled, mess of creativity in novel form first, that same sort of process of refinement could be applied once again to glean out the best and simplest material for a film.

    1. I read Buttercup’s Baby (the supposed First Chapter of the sequel) and found it was way off in tone and feeling. I know this book and the movie represent something so profoundly moving to the writer that they literally broke him open and caused him to touch something unbearably painful inside him. I think whatever that pain was, it changed him. The book after that point is different. 

      The sequel, and I for one hope it never happens, will be like Buttercup’s Baby – too reactive, too thought instead of felt. 

      I respect Mr. Goldman a lot, but I don’t ever want him to write this book/screenplay because he’s not the right guy to write it. And he hasn’t been since he broke his own heart.

    2. There’s a stage play, too, that follows much of the novel’s conceit; it’s got a narrator who occasionally comes on to explain the large swaths of material they’ve cut, and who is frequently interrupted by an angry Morgenstern scholar who is aghast that they would cut the 50 pages of people trying on hats because that’s one of the most important pieces of social criticism in the book, and so on.

    3.  One of the luckiest moments of my life was coming across a battered paperback of The Princess Bride at a garage sale in ’85.  I’d never even heard of it, but I was a Goldman fan so I snapped it up.  It may be the most playful book I’ve ever read.

      When I heard they were making a movie I was worried, but not TOO worried since Goldman had written the screenplay too.  About the only shortcoming I saw was that the book had much deeper backstories for the kidnappers.  Obviously, all of Goldman’s elaborate literary framing devices wouldn’t work onscreen (but handily replaced by the Fred Savage/Robert Falk premise).

      Don’t laugh, but I love “The Last Unicorn” for a lot of the same reasons: great play on old myths/legends/stories with eminently quotable dialogue.

    4.  I loved the movie, but hated the book with a passion because of the way he pretended it was written by someone else.  The constant interruptions to explain what ‘he took out’.  I would not read another book he wrote.

  9. it could be worse.  at least he wants to do an honest sequel instead of another damned reboot.
    Personally i can’t even think about the new Red Dawn without ragegasming.

    ofc..a sequel doesn’t really mean it can’t crap on the good memories of the first.  anyone see the direct to DVD War Games sequel?

  10. Of course he’s having trouble coming up with a good story.  That’s the problem with good stories: they end.  

  11. Learning somethin every day on BB,

    My SO’s favourite film (maybe LOTR aside) is The Princess Bride, tied with OBWAT.

    My favourite film, LOTR aside, has been Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid since I was a kid.

    because I don’t follow or notice who is behind these things much, a pleasant surprise to learn Goldman wrote both

    1. tied with OBWAT

      OBWAT?  I confess myself stumped.

      Our Baby Was A Titanosaur?

      One Bad Westernized Asian Trilogy?

      Over Board With A Teenager?

      On Bankok’s Waterfront At Teatime?

        1. Ah.  That is a good one.

          Unlike Hey Hey in the Hayloft, Ants In Your Plants of 1939, or Ontario Bound Without A Timepiece.

  12. I couldn’t care less about a movie sequel. In fact, kinda hope they don’t make it–probably would be painful.

    The book, though… wow.  Written by Goldman??  I would be all over that in a heartbeat. 

  13. Or write a prequel, and the remaining actors could play the elders of their characters in the movie…something like that…

      1.  I read recently that he and Carol Kane created the back story for their characters and then ad-libbed for hours…that would be great to see!

        Princess Bride was the go-to birthday party treat for my daughters; over the years we must have seen it a dozen times or more…I was always so charmed; the evident enjoyment the actors were having working together is what has stayed with me since then…I just smile every time I see a reference to it.

  14. Be careful what you wish for.  Goldman also wrote the gripping thriller, “Marathon Man,” as well as the screenplay of the adaptation starring Dustin Hoffman.  Both are excellent, and the movie is remembered for its positively terrifying torture scene with Sir Lawrence Olivier as a Nazi dentist.

    But did you know that Goldman wrote a decades-later sequel to Marathon Man, a novel called Brothers?  In it, he waves his hands and undoes a pretty significant plot point in Marathon Man, and proceeds to sucker-punch anybody who cared about the characters in the original.

    I’d be perfectly content with Mr. Goldman being afflicted with writer’s bock in regard to the Princess Bride sequel for the rest of his natural life.

  15. Shouldn’t someone be telling him: “Have fun storming the castle!” … 

    Think it’ll work? 

  16. The Princess Bride 2: The Pirate Queen

    Focuses on Westley/Buttercup’s daughter on the journey that leads to her becoming the new Dread Pirate Roberts (taking over either from Inigo, or, perhaps, the man who replaced him and became something of a stooge, selling out to one of the local governments, and Inigo coming along to help her take back the role).  As it starts off she either runs away or in danger, allowing a subplot of her parents trying desperately to rescue/catch up with her and always being just a little bit behind.

    And of course, Fred Savage telling the story to his kids, but perhaps coming up with it himself after they keep asking him for what happened AFTER The Princess Bride, and he struggles to gives them a story to answer is… a metatextual way to apologize for it being somewhat ‘inferior’ to the original, classic work.

    A bit obvious, perhaps, but it’s what I’d do.

  17. Like the idea of Fred Savage reading to his child.  Westley/Buttercup’s son first confronting, then befriending, then falling in love with Inigo’s daughter on a journey to remove the new Dread Pirate Roberts from power.  Dread Pirate Roberts could have some secret/power over Westley/Buttercup that must be silenced or stopped.  Meeting up with old/new friends and enemies.  Give the son the mind of Westley but with out the combat ability and the daughter to be a aspiring pirate out to proove herself.

  18. “The Dread Ascendant”
    The story follows Wesley as the newly wedded Dread Pirate Roberts as he finds and trains his heir to the Dread Pirate Throne.

  19. I think a story should be written about that white-haired old torturer and Mel Brooks establishing a colony of mimes before they are murdered by the new Dread Pirate Roberts.  

  20. This is a very silly article, that suggests the editor doesn’t understand Goldman’s difficult position here… Buttercup’s Baby is just never going to be adapted, not after the Morgenstern estate tried to sue Goldman over the first film! Even with the chain of notable writers associated with adapting for the screen, continuing disputes from the Morgenstern estate holding up any studio development have yet to be resolved.

  21. I think it would be excellent if the sequel or a re-imagining of the original was produced / directed by Sir Ridley Scott, if necessary, carrying a PG-13 or R rating. Although I think it would be best if the theatrical release was PG-13 and the DVD Director’s Cut containing the R content. However, I dunno, R in the theatrical release would be fine with me but I’m sure it would reduce ticket receipts to a intolerable level. 

    Using the aesthetic of Blade Runner and the Geiger from the Alien series for a remake and / or sequel would be amazing. Add some cleavage and/or bouncing breasteses and I’m sure Roger Ebert would endorse.

    (BTW – I have a high opinion of Mr. Ebert and his late friend, Russ Meyer. Also, I am not at all completely offering this idea in jest – I’d really like to see it. I first thought about it fifteen years ago give or take.)

  22. Just don’t do it. As we have seen with other long-awaited sequels (Star Wars, etc.)  expectations almost always exceed the delivery, tarnishing the series forever. Write the book, sure, but never, ever make a movie out of it.

  23. What I would love about this is to see how the sequel could be used to subvert his previous work. One thing I loved about The Princess Bride was how the novel, although written well before the film, was a complete subversion of the story, while the film was actually a fairly straight take on the essential plot. It was goofy, sure, but everything about the movie took itself relatively seriously.

    The opening chapter for Buttercup’s Baby felt much darker than anything I had read previously. The world was more dangerous and less optimistic. That would be worthwhile in itself.

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