Why Napoleon Dynamite 2 Didn’t Happen

Jon Heder reveals a Napoleon Dynamite sequel never happened because he only wanted to move forward with original director Jared Hess.


Jon Heder turned down the opportunity to make a Napoleon Dynamite after. Heder is best known for his role as the titular Napoleon Dynamite in the hit 2004 comedy. box office success – earning over $40 million. The film was co-written by Jerusha and Jared Hess, and directed by Jared Hess, and became one of the most iconic comedies of the early 2000s.

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In an interview with Michael Rosenbaum on his podcast Inside You with Michael Rosenbaum, Heder said a sequel was in talks at some point, but he turned down the opportunity. According to the actor, Fox Searchlight Pictures was trying to adapt a sequel despite the lack of interest from original director Jared Hess. Heder didn’t want to continue the project without Hess – so the project never happened. Read what Heder said below.

We didn’t even think of a sequel. Nobody even asked [for a] following at the beginning. It probably wasn’t until later that year or the year after that my agents were like, ‘Fox wants to do a sequel. Would you be willing to do a sequel without Jared?’

I think they were asking because they probably felt like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if Jared is going to be up for this.’ He may have already said no. I do not know.

I said ‘No, I wouldn’t without Jared.’ Because [Napoleon Dynamite] belonged to Jared. This was his life in Preston, Idaho. It was very personal for him… Doing a sequel without him was just… it didn’t make sense.

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Could a Napoleon Dynamite Sequel Still Happen?

Napoleon Dynamite looking annoyed

As Heder points out, Napoleon Dynamite was loosely based on Hess’ life growing up in Idaho. Without Hess, a proper sequel will never happen. Following the success of Napoleon DynamiteHess went on to do other hit comedies such as Nacho Libre (2006) and The brains (2016). In 2020, Heder said he would be willing to do another movie if Hess wanted it, but so far the director doesn’t seem interested.

Heder not wanting to film a sequel without Hess shows his gratitude to be included in a unique moment in popular culture. The film that exploded in the early 2000s continues to stand on its own without being tarnished by waning sequels. Napoleon Dynamite briefly returned as an animated series and notably included Hess as an executive producer.

Napoleon Dynamite is one of the best comedy movies ever made, especially considering its low budget. A sequel probably isn’t the best idea for a movie that’s already so widely loved and still regularly referenced to this day. As Rosenbaum and Heder briefly discuss in the podcast, sequels are just never quite as good as their originals. This is especially true for comedies. Still, it would be nice to see Napoleon Dynamite back to the big screen, in all its flippin’ sweet glory.

Source: Inside You with Michael Rosenbaum / YouTube

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