There has never been a better time to dream of cerulean blue seascapes, crumbling coastal hotels, and, well, Meryl Streep serenading us in a pair of worn overalls. That’s because in quarantine nothing sounds as luxurious as jetting off to Greece, Mamma Mia-style. If we’re lucky, we might have an excuse to book a ticket. Producers and cast are hinting at a third chapter in the beloved musical saga—that is, if there are enough Swedish pop songs left to work with.
The most recent film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, debuted in 2018 and grossed nearly $400 million worldwide, giving producers ample cause to consider a third entry. Variety reported that producer Judy Craymer told The Daily Mail in mid-June that she’d been planning the third film before the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was meant to have been getting on with that, in my head, during these months. But then I got hit with COVID fog,” she said. “I think one day there will be another film, because there’s meant to be a trilogy, you see. I know Universal would like me to do it.”
Here’s what we know about those swirling rumors—and a few predictions for where the story could go next.
Is there a release date?
A third Mamma Mia has not been officially announced, so there’s no news of a release date yet. COVID-19 has also derailed Hollywood’s production calendar, so it’s unlikely the cast and crew would start filming anytime soon.
Where did the second movie leave off?
Mamma Mia (2008) introduces us to Donna (Meryl Streep), her engaged daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), and a cast of ex-lovers and flashy friends who have gathered in Greece to celebrate Sophie’s wedding to Sky (Dominic Cooper). Before the ceremony, Sophie sets out to learn who her real father is after discovering potential options in her mother’s diary. Trouble soon follows.
In the sequel, Sophie is grieving Donna’s death, but we learn more of her enigmatic mother’s life through flashbacks, portrayed by a young Donna (Lily James) who encounters each of her famed lovers. Oh, and Cher shows up—turns out, she’s Donna’s estranged mother. We witness Sophie give birth to a baby boy, and celebrate the grand opening of Donna’s dream: a refurbished hotel named Hotel Bella Donna.
So, where could we go next? There are plenty of adventures Sophie’s son could have along the Grecian coast, or we could learn more about what went wrong between Donna and her mother, Ruby, all those years ago. Plus, we need to know more about how Ruby and Fernando met!
Who would be in the cast?
Seyfried says the entire cast would be on board for a third film.
"Listen, every single person in that movie would say yes in a heartbeat because we want to hang out with each other," she told Collider. "That’s what we talked about last time, like did we ever think that we’d end up here again on an island in Croatia?"
What music could the third movie use?
Here’s where things get a little tricky. ABBA only has so many huge hits audiences will instantly recognize, and recycling the same ones for every movie could get old.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and I hope I’m wrong again," Seyfried told Collider. "I don’t think there are enough ABBA songs to make a third movie. Because we’d have to use 'Super Trooper' again and we’d have to use 'Mamma Mia' again and have to use them in a different way."
The good news? ABBA isn’t done making music. In 2018, the group announced they’d written their first new songs since their split in 1983, and they’re hoping to release the new tunes later this year. Craymer mentioned in her interview with The Daily Mail that the third Mamma Mia could feature new music from the supergroup. Here’s hoping Meryl Streep doesn’t mind making one last cameo to sing it.
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Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.
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