“Rocketman” Nearly Went PG-13 and Had a Freddie Mercury Cameo

Though “Rocketman” hasn’t exactly been taking flight at the box office these last two weekends, it has gained plenty of critical praise. Many have even noted that it’s a stunning follow-up film for Dexter Fletcher who was called in to fix up what was left to be salvaged of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But we doubt the film would be as celebrated if not for the more daring decisions to not take the easy route as the previous film did. Sure, “Bohemian Rhapsody” may end up being the bigger box office hit and an awards darling, but “Rocketman” has already come out on top critically.

Fletcher mentioned in an interview with Yahoo UK that he at one point considered having a brief cameo by Freddie Mercury with manager John Reid, but noted that it wasn’t that great an idea in retrospect:

“There was an idea I had one point, where Elton’s in a restaurant with his mother. I thought John Reid and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing, [but]it didn’t come to pass. It would’ve been a little too knowing…I’m not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!”

He wasn’t the only one floating ideas that seemed iffy. Paramount president Wyck Godfrey opened up to Vulture about wanting a PG-13 rating for the film.

“We were testing it, going, ‘Okay, is there a tamer version that can play just as well and satisfy audiences?’ Internally, we looked at scenes, and what you would have to lose to make it PG-13. There was certainly a wobble.”

But was this a reaction to “Bohemian Rhapsody?” He continued:

“That’s your knee-jerk reaction, of course. You work in a big company and everyone’s like, ‘Look what that’s doing. We should chase that.’ By the way, it was a wobble that took place with the filmmakers and producers as well. But pretty quickly, we came back around to the fact that we committed and believed in this movie before we knew what Bohemian Rhapsody was going to do. It’s always better to lead than to follow.”

“Rocketman” is still playing in theaters everywhere.