The 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may not seem like an obvious candidate for a sequel, especially since it ends in 1985 with frontman Freddie Mercury learning he’s contracted HIV. But after the film grossed over $900 million worldwide and won four Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Rami Malek, rumors began to spread about a possible follow-up.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, however, Queen guitarist Brian May says it’s unlikely to happen. “Don’t think we didn’t think about it,” he says. “We’ve talked. Basically we think not, at the moment. Things could change, I suppose, but I think it would be difficult.”
Any sequel would likely focus on Mercury’s final years where he left public life to battle the disease privately and record the Queen albums The Miracle and Innuendo. “I don’t think that would be an uplifting thing to do,” says May. “I’m not saying it’s impossible because there is a great story there, but we don’t feel that’s the story we want to tell at the moment.”
Bohemian Rhapsody largely skipped over Mercury’s childhood and many periods of Queen’s career, which could give a filmmaker another opening into the saga. “There’s a million things in our career which you couldn’t show in a movie since the movie had to be so simplified to make it watchable,” says May. “But we don’t really think there’s another movie there. That’s the long and the short of it. I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don’t think a sequel will happen. But we have looked at it pretty seriously.”
In the meantime, May is stuck in his U.K. home after the COVID-19 pandemic forced Queen + Adam Lambert to postpone their summer tour of Europe to 2021. “It was our biggest tour ever,” he says. “We sold 400,000 tickets for the next leg and we had the best show we’d ever put together. We were in peak condition, but it had to stop. We just don’t have any other weapons at the moment except minimizing human interactions so that the virus doesn’t anywhere to go.”
Last week, the group released a video featuring a tweaked version of their hit “We Are the Champions” to say “You Are the Champions” as a salute to health care works and other first responders.