Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan first captured audiences’ attention back in 1989. And yet the characters created by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively, remain beloved by generations of fans. But do the same people who revere Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (and its 1991 sequel) actually understand the characters themselves?
With the third film set for release in August 2020, fans the world over will finally have a chance to see how Wyld Stallyns has spent the past few decades. But more importantly, they might finally get a clear answer to that question hanging over the franchise since the beginning: are Bill and Ted really stoners?
Many fans have assumed Bill and Ted are stoner characters
To be sure, Bill and Ted have a relaxed SoCal attitude and a penchant for late-night visits to the Circle K. Perhaps because of that, the fact that they are stoners has become so deeply ingrained in pop culture. In fact, Rolling Stone even included Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure on its list of the 10 Best Stoner Movies of All Time.
Other entries on the list include The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, and selections featuring other comedic duos. For decades, Bill and Ted have been lumped in with characters like Cheech and Chong, Jay and Silent Bob, and Harold and Kumar. Yet, while these figures are all often considered contemporaries, there’s a big difference between them.
Unlike those other famous characters, Bill and Ted aren’t explicitly shown being stoners. Granted, the lack of marijuana paraphernalia and any actual on-screen use might very well stem from the PG rating both movies carry. But the question is whether these are missing because they are aimed at families or because Bill and Ted aren’t really stoners at all.
Because the films never clarify that, the truth is up for debate
Without any explicit confirmation, there’s no way to be certain. The Bill & Ted movies don’t even wryly imply the characters are stoners. Take, for instance, that sly reference in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie. Even that film is more blatant about it. If the characters were meant to be stoners, the writers could have likewise tucked it into the story.
And so the debate rages on. Some believe the family-friendly tone of the Bill & Ted films prevents them from revealing the truth. While others believe the duo fall more into the “lovable slacker goofball” camp than the straight-out stoner archetype. After all, they are fairly clean-cut. They’re just a bit dense, sloppy, and unfocused.
Truly, until they set out on an “excellent adventure” or “bogus journey,” Bill and Ted seem content to jam out and be lazy. According to the series’ Fandom page, writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon created the characters for improv theater. While Ted once had an older brother who was a stoner, not even in this early iteration was it part of the core heroes’ story.
Will ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ finally reveal the truth?
Fans continue to develop their own theories. And Matheson and Solomon have even commented on whether Bill and Ted are indeed stoners. Yet, the films themselves still fail to provide any definitive answers one way or another. Of course, for the first time in nearly 30 years, the franchise can set the record straight.
There’s no telling whether Bill & Ted Face the Music will reveal the truth. Matheson and Solomon — who are indeed writing the third film too — could choose to ignore the question altogether. Even if the characters aren’t stoners, their movies still carry the surreal tone of the biggest stoner classics. Fans will be watching to see if this connection is confirmed or refuted at last.
Bill & Ted Face the Music hits theaters on Aug. 21, 2020.