A Lost National Lampoon's Vacation Sequel Would've Seen The Griswolds Divorced

It's undeniable that the films in the National Lampoon's "Vacation" franchise have become comedy classics. The misadventures of the Griswold family of patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase), wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), daughter Audrey (Dana Barron/Dana Hill/Juliette Lewis/Marisol Nichols/Leslie Mann), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall/Jason Lively/Johnny Galecki/Ethan Embry/Ed Helms), and cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) have become seminal watches for multiple generations, and remain endlessly quotable after nearly 40 years.

The Griswolds were a relatable look at the average, white, middle-class American family, replacing the Norman Rockwell-esque presentation of yesteryear with more authentic and unconventional problems sprinkled throughout. Okay, so maybe we don't all know what it's like to lose our Great Aunt and have to strap her to the top of the car with the luggage in the rain (at least, I hope not), but we probably know what it feels like to expect a Christmas bonus but get some corporate BS "gift" instead that finally makes us snap. The Griswolds have been welcomed into our homes for decades, which makes them sort of feel like a family to us all.

That said, Clark Griswold never deserved Ellen.

Whenever I revisit the "Vacation" films, I'm always taken aback by how little Clark actually appreciates his wife. There's a running gag of his wandering eye for Christie Brinkley, he gambles away all of their savings in Vegas, and he's consistently cruel to her extended family. Ellen deserves a man who appreciates her (other than Wayne Newton), or Clark needs to seriously get his act together. Shockingly enough, Beverly D'Angelo recently revealed that there were talks of a "Vacation" film a few years ago which would have seen the couple finally divorce.

From holiday road to divorce court

Beverly D'Angelo was interviewed by Screen Rant while promoting her new film, "Violent Night," when she talked about a 2010-era "Vacation" sequel that would have featured Clark and Ellen Griswold as a recently divorced couple. The script was co-written by actor Michael Rosenbaum and would have opened outside of a courthouse after the pair finalize their split. "But their daughter [Audrey] is getting married, and she's adamant that they show up in Arizona or wherever she's living, so they have to go across the country and get back together," D'Angelo explained. "And what's odd is, isn't that kind of the movie that George Clooney just made? Something like that?" The movie D'Angelo is referring to is "Ticket to Paradise," the rom-com starring Clooney opposite Julia Roberts.

"We saw it as, 'Hey, it's about Clark and Ellen and that family. Don't we want to follow their story?' But there's something about demographics, and I think they didn't want old people in it or something," D'Angelo said. The project was ultimately scrapped in favor of the Ed Helms-led 2015 "Vacation" film, which saw Helms play an adult Rusty Griswold who attempts to recapture the trips of his youth now as a father himself. Still, a movie about a divorced Clark and Ellen bickering cross-country would have been an absolute delight to see — if only so Ellen could finally put Clark in his place and (hopefully) force him to stop taking his wife for granted.