As far as rock comedies go, no film is quite as beloved in the genre as the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Featuring some of the most wickedly funny and strangely accurate antics that could ever befall an ageing heavy metal band, Spinal Tap connected immediately with audiences and caused a fair number of rock stars to have embarrassing flashbacks to their own days getting stuck backstage and/or playing in aircraft hangers.
Now, according to director Rob Reiner, the creative team behind the film are returning for a sequel. That includes actors and writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, who will be reprising their roles as Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Small, respectively. Reiner will also return to his role as filmmaker Marty DiBergi.
“The plan is to do a sequel that comes out on the 40th anniversary of the original film and I can tell you hardly a day goes by without someone saying, why don’t you do another one?” Reiner told Deadline. “For so many years, we said, ‘nah.’ It wasn’t until we came up with the right idea how to do this. You don’t want to just do it, to do it. You want to honour the first one and push it a little further with the story.”
Following the success of the original film, Guest, McKean, and Shearer have reunited for occasional live performances as the fictional band over the past 30 years, although the band’s last live show came in 2009. According to Reiner, that time away served as the impetus for what eventually became the jumping-off point for the sequel.
“They’ve played Albert Hall, played Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe,” Reiner said. “They haven’t spent any time together recently, and that became the premise. The idea was that Ian Faith, who was their manager, he passed away. In reality, Tony Hendra [the actor who portrayed Faith] passed away. Ian’s widow inherited a contract that said Spinal Tap owed them one more concert. She was basically going to sue them if they didn’t. All these years and a lot of bad blood we’ll get into and they’re thrown back together and forced to deal with each other and play this concert.”
The use of the Spinal Tap brand had been an issue for Reiner and the actors for a number of years, eventually culminating in a $400 million lawsuit that was settled in 2020. The new Spinal Tap film has a planned release date of March 19th, 2024.