Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is one of the best movies of the 1980s, but it was almost much different, according to the original notes of creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson. In honor of Keanu Reeves' birthday, Solomon shared their 1984 outline for the story, which would have had the iconic duo kidnapping Adolph Hitler instead of Napoleon. Bill and Ted were going to take their time traveling van (before they had the idea of the phonebooth) to Nazi Germany and get Hitler for their history report.
Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson's first outline for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is still roughly what ended up on the screen as far as the main story. But, it appears that there was a lot of throwing things against the wall to see what sticks during the writing process, just like any project that ends up as a classic. The Adolf Hitler part of the notes reads, "They end up, say, in Nazi Germany, and after causing trouble, bring Hitler back to San Dimas. He's stranded there and they go back in time again." Ultimately, Matheson and Solomon decided against the idea. Solomon explains.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah we toyed with Hitler and then we were like...Actually we can't do that. (For a lot of reasons.) And we swapped it out with Napoleon."
Time travel and Hitler in the movies was recently brought up for another film. This year's Deadpool 2 originally had a post-credit scene where Ryan Reynolds' Merc with a Mouth goes back in time to strangle baby Hitler. In the end, the studio decided against it, for obvious reasons, and it was later made available on the extended cut, which is now out on Blu-ray. Taking Hitler out of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was definitely a wise decision, just like it was for the Deadpool sequel.
In other differences, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was supposed to take place in the parking lot of a 7-11, which makes perfect sense for the 1980s. In the end, Circle K was probably the better choice. Also, Rufus was a "28-year old sophomore" instead of the brilliant future man that he became, played by the late great George Carlin. Carlin's involvement helped to give the comedy an extra edge that would have been hard to pull off with any other comedian at the time.
In the end, Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson are the real reason for the success of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Their writing and ideas are what made those characters shine and standout today, over 30 years after the debut. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter brought the delightful boneheads to life, but it was the writing style that nailed everything so well, from world history jokes to 80s culture. While taking Hitler out was a great idea, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure would have still been a hit. You can check out the original notes for the classic film below, thanks to Ed Solomon's Twitter account.
Okay, here are some origins for you. Chris Matheson's and my first notes for B&T from March, 1984. :) pic.twitter.com/nQbFYcdl1l— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) September 2, 2018
Oh, yeah. Yeah we toyed with Hitler and then we were like "Actually we can't do that." (For a lot of reasons.) And we swapped it out w Napoleon.— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) September 2, 2018