Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder says he'd be open to revisiting the character for a sequel if director Jared Hess can "pull off the magic" again. Made for a tiny budget, reportedly around $400,000, Napoleon Dynamite is a quirky comedy about a group of eccentric but well-meaning characters from a small rural town in Idaho. Heder played the lead, getting paid just $1,000 for his efforts. The movie was a surprise hit upon release in 2004 after being bought by MTV and Paramount for distribution after debuting at Sundance.
The awkward, nerdy characters appealed to audiences for their combination of realism and completely bizarre personality quirks. Heder went on to appear in a number of comedies in the 2000s, as well as establishing himself as a prolific voice actor. His next role will be in Tremors: Shrieker Island where he once again plays the comic relief. Napoleon Dynamite is still popular with audiences to this day, and many of the catch phrases from the movie have entered the common parlance. Fans have long clamored for a sequel, to show what the characters are like as adults, but besides a short-lived animated TV series, nothing has been forthcoming.
Now, Heder has revealed that he's still open to appearing in a sequel to Napoleon Dynamite, but only if Hess is able to recreate the "magic" that made the first movie to successful. Speaking at a Wizard World panel on the movie, Heder added that he and Hess, who co-wrote the film with his wife Jerusha, are always discussing ideas for the sequel, but says that ultimately it's up to the director. You can read his full comments below.
I would come back if Jared decided, "Hey, let's go ahead, and let's see if we can pull off the magic." We've thought about it. We're always playing with the idea. I know I've talked a little bit with Jared, and it's his baby, so I'm just like, "You pull the trigger on that." I feel like the future for Napoleon would be a lot more raw and edgy. So whatever he comes up with would be fun to explore/ Because I think whatever Jared comes up with wouldn't be your typical, "Let's do a sequel where they all look the same and they all act the same." I think it would be an interesting development in their lives.
Efren Ramirez, who played Pedro, a transfer student from Mexico, was also part of the panel and agreed that the characters in the movie have so much "depth" that there would be a number of possibilities for a sequel. Hess, who went on to direct Jack Black's cult hit Nacho Libre, as well as the even more strange Gentleman Broncos, has spent much of his time in the past few years working on TV, so it's likely he'd welcome a return to the longer form for a sequel.
For fans, a sequel is a no-brainer, particularly given the quirky sensibilities of Hess. He's unlikely to make a stock sequel, as Heder says, and so it would be fascinating to see where he takes his socially awkward and eccentric characters 15 years later. A sequel to Napoleon Dynamite would certainly be popular, and would likely be right at home on one of the major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or even Amazon Prime Video.