It’s been a good week for the Coen Brothers. Although their new folk-revival-focused film Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t take the top prize at Cannes, it did win the Joel and Ethan Coen the Grand Prix, the festival’s runner-up (not their first time taking home silverware at the Cannes either). And with all the press they’re inevitably getting about this new film and the award, reporters, like one from the Toronto Star, are asking the question that’s on a lot of fans’ minds, “Will there ever be a Lebowski sequel?”
In short, the answer is no. There had long been rumors about a sequel to the Coens’ beloved stoner-caper The Big Lebowski, their biggest film, which has inspired bathrobe-wearing would-be Zen slackers around the world to come together, bowl and quaff White Russians at annual Lebowskifests. The rumored sequel would focus on an auxiliary character, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana, the slimy rival bowler who delivers the iconic line, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.” Turturro has been big on this idea of a sequel and even pitched it to the brothers, but they’re just not down with it right now.
“[Turturro] even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it,” Ethan Coen told the Star. “No, I don’t see it in our future.” Joel Coen added that he “doesn’t like sequels.”
And you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably better this way. The Coens have gone on to do even better films, most notably Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and worked in a variety of styles and genres. The film’s star, Jeff Bridges, may be The Dude forever ad infinitum, but he’s also gone on to have some other acclaimed starting roles, including his turn as a grizzled singer in the widely praised Crazy Heart.
Lebowski is still a delight, a movie worth seeing over and over, a bit of cinematic comfort food for fans that know every line by heart. And like any good film, there’s something new to be discovered with every viewing. But it’s run its course. It’s in a good place in movie history. There’s a special place for it, but most of the people involved have gone on to bigger and better things. It just wouldn’t be the same. And honestly, could a character like the Jesus sustain a full-length film and keep it interesting? Results are a little hazy.
And as much as it would be fun to see Turturro (also the star of the Coens’ Cannes favorite Barton Fink, which many consider the brothers’ best work) work with the directors again, and rumors of a Barton Fink sequel have also made the rounds, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a Lebowski sequel, or a sequel at all. It would be really cool if they worked together again. Just… not as a Lebowski sequel.
And, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, because you know what? That’s just your opinion, man.