In the summer of 2004, Napoleon Dynamite became one of the year’s biggest sleeper hits after earning over $46 million at the box office on a budget of just $400,000, and firmly permeated popular culture in the process. It felt like you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing at least a handful of ‘Vote for Pedro’ T-shirts or groups of people trying to imitate the title character’s widely-parodied dance moves.
An animated series arrived six years later that saw Jon Heder reprise his career-defining role alongside the rest of the original cast, but it only ran for six episodes before being canceled after viewership numbers had plummeted by over 50% from the premiere. Unfortunately, Heder and creator Jared Hess never managed to recapture the level of success that the original film saw and so, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that talk of a sequel bubbles to the surface every now and again.
A four-issue comic book run was released last year to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the movie, and in a recent virtual reunion with some other members of the cast, Heder revealed that he’s spoken with Hess about the idea of a big screen follow-up.
“I would come back if Jared decided, ‘Hey, let’s go ahead, and let’s see if we can pull off the magic’. We’ve thought about it. We’re always playing with the idea. I know I’ve talked a little bit with Jared, and it’s his baby, so I’m just like, ‘You pull the trigger on that’.”
When you think of Napoleon Dynamite, the words ‘dark’ and ‘edgy’ aren’t exactly the first ones that come to mind, but the 42 year-old leading man hinted that any potential sequels could take an entirely different approach to the cringe comedy and deliberate quirkiness that characterized the original.
“I feel like the future for Napoleon would be a lot more raw and edgy. So whatever he comes up with would be fun to explore. Because I think whatever Jared comes up with wouldn’t be your typical, ‘Let’s do a sequel where they all look the same and they all act the same’. I think it would be an interesting development in their lives.”
Trying something new instead of rehashing what worked before is always a better idea, but it remains to be seen if there’s even an audience for a Napoleon Dynamite sequel sixteen years after it made a brief dent on the public consciousness.