Richard Linklater Leaves The Door Open For A Before Midnight Follow-Up

It may be a little uncouth to press a filmmaker about returning to one of their past projects, but in the case of Richard Linklater's "Before Trilogy," I'm sure the writer/director will understand why he keeps getting pestered about a fourth installment. I mean, it's only fair to want more when you've been invested in a single love story between two characters that spans almost 30 years.

Linklater was recently asked about another "Before" film, which would be the fourth in the series behind 1995's "Before Sunrise," 2004's "Before Sunset," and 2013's "Before Midnight," and his answer may or may not surprise you.

Talking with Collider while on the promo-circuit for his latest film, "Apollo 10 1/2," Linklater seemed to wrestle with the possibility, saying both "never say never" and also that he feels like maybe he missed his window on a fourth film. The previous three ended up releasing exactly nine years apart from each other, and if he wanted to keep that good luck streak going he'd have to have the new one out this year. 

In the interview, Linklater went back and forth with himself over the idea of doing another one. 

On the one hand, he said the last film took a lot out of him and stars (and writing collaborators) Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. On the other hand, the characters of Celine and Jesse have been the ones to demand another round in front of the lens, and maybe they'll speak up again.

Could we see Celine and Jesse in their old age? It's a possibility!

Here's Linklater's direct quote on that possibility:

A trilogy, if it ends up that, that's good, but it's hopefully a long life. You know? And if the second Jesse and Celine are talking to us ... that's how it worked the other two times. We realized they were still alive and talking to us. And a great idea emerged that was worthy of the effort that it takes to make a film like that. So that just hasn't quite happened yet. But when it does, who knows?

It's not uncommon for storytellers to be at the mercy of the story and characters they created — just ask George R.R. Martin or Stephen King. That personal touch is what makes the "Before" films so authentic and touching, even as we've seen the characters grow further and further apart. Maybe especially because we've seen them move between new love, settled love, and fractured love. That's what makes them real and, I guess, why the characters demanded their creators keep revisiting their stories.

Linklater did cite Ingmar Bergman's "Saraband" while keeping the possibility of a fourth film open since that brought the filmmaker out of retirement to make a 30-years-later sequel to "Scenes from a Marriage," which found those characters living together in old age. So while it's not a satisfying yes or no, a maybe is good enough for right now.