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Stanley Kubrick Had Plans For A 'Dr. Strangelove' Trilogy

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 17, 2013 at 11:12AM

Earlier this week we learned that Stanley Kubrick apparently wanted to get Terry Gilliam to direct a "Dr. Strangelove" sequel that would've been called "Son Of Strangelove." It was an interesting nugget only because Kubrick wasn't exactly the first person you'd think would want to have sequels to his movies, but as it turns out out, his plans for 'Strangelove' were even grander than that.
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Stanley Kubrick

Earlier this week, we learned that Stanley Kubrick apparently wanted to get Terry Gilliam to direct a "Dr. Strangelove" sequel that would've been called "Son Of Strangelove." It was an interesting nugget only because Kubrick wasn't exactly the first person you'd think would want to have sequels to his movies, but as it turns out out, his plans for 'Strangelove' were even grander than that.

Thanks to some helpful research by a Playlist reader, it's been pointed out to us that Kubrick actually wanted had plans for a full trilogy following the deranged doctor. As The New York Times reported back in 2003, screenwriter Terry Southern's literary archives went to the New York Public Library, and among them? Notes and index cards outlining details for two sequels to "Dr. Strangelove." Titled ''Turgidson's Mother, or Into the Shaft!'' and ''Muffley Strikes Back." Exact plot details or concepts haven't yet surfaced (maybe time to visit the library?), but it's rather fascinating to realize Kubrick's vision for his satire was so far reaching.

So, wait, what is "Son Of Strangelove" then? Oddly enough, it was a jokey working title given to "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clarke, who during development of the movie, viewed the movie "as an extension of Kubrick's previous film and intended to emphasize terrestrial themes in which nuclear bombs orbited the Earth only to be detonated by the Star-Child in an act of cosmic purification... but Kubrick steered the film version... toward an emphasis on mythic journeys and transformations" (via Ezine from Thomas Allen Nelson's 1982 book "Kubrick: Inside A Film Artist's Maze"). Clearly, the final result of '2001' was much different.

All told, one can add these sequels to the pile of The Lost & Unmade Projects Of Stanley Kubrick, prospective works that only serve to heighten the mystique of the late filmmaker. And while we can't imagine any sequel holding a candle to 'Strangelove,' we're still curious to know more about what Kubrick had in mind.

This article is related to: Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb


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