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Does American Pie 5 Need the Original Cast to Succeed?

Ten years ago, the American Pie film series last hit the big screen with the fourth film in the franchise, American Reunion. While the film was lambasted by critics, it was a huge hit, and buzz about a fifth film has been brewing ever since. Last year, actress Tara Reid, who appeared in three of the previous movies in the raunchy comedy series, told ET there was a script for American Pie 5 and that “It might happen.” Reid also conspiratorially added:

“OK, I can’t tell you when, because I don’t really know when, because we have to get all the actors, and at the same time to get our schedules together.”

This indicates that the plan is to reunite the original cast, and that is what must happen in order to provide the best possible next chapter in the beloved saga. While it may be quite a task to round up the ensemble that includes Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Mena Suvari, Natasha Lyonne, Shannon Elizabeth, and Chris Kline, it is crucial for the film to get back to the roots of the 1999 smash hit that started it all.

Since the spin-off series, under the banner American Pie Presents, has tarnished the series’ stature with four low-rated, straight-to-video offerings, a complete back-to-basics approach in which we catch up with every character that can be resurrected is what’s absolutely necessary for the American Pie franchise to be re-heated, and tasty again for audiences.

As Reid said, it will take time to re-assemble everyone because of scheduling, so production on a fifth film won’t be until next year, and its release will likely be in 2024. This means it will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the American Pie series. This quarter-of-a-century anniversary could spark a resurgence of popularity with re-screenings, and marathons of the previous movies, so the return of Biggs and company to reclaim their roles and reclaim the original series’ glory would be crucial for the fifth film’s success.

Sujata Day Signs on to Develop American Pie 5
For the Hits – Sujata Day
Dirty Water Pictures
Very little is known about the plans for a fifth American Pie except that American actress, model, and screenwriter Sujata Day pitched an idea for it to Universal. The day of the announcement of her involvement, Day tweeted: “Obsessed with raunchy comedies and American Pie is one of my all-time faves!”

Related: American Pie: Where the Cast is Today

While Day is reportedly developing a “fresh take” on the material, the original stars are needed to be the connective tissue to the original’s tone, feel, and humor. As the lead in all four of the previous big-screen installments, Biggs is the most important piece of the American Pie puzzle, and his return as the iconic character James “Jim” Levenstein is crucial. The series is the story of Jim and his friend’s comical sex lives, and the premise of their entering middle age, and looking back at their youth, and then forward at theirs, and their families’ futures, so, fresh take or not, Day must pay proper care to Jim’s narrative.

Supporting Cast Members Such as Eugene Levy Must Return
american-pie-cast
Universal Pictures
Another important piece that must be included is legendary Canadian comic actor Eugene Levy, who has appeared in all but one of the American Pie productions. Levy, who portrayed Jim’s dad, Noah Levenstein, from 1999-2009, has been enjoying major success with the Emmy-winning show Schitt’s Creek, so his presence in the fifth film is absolutely a must.

Related: American Pie Movies in Order: How to Watch Chronologically and by Release Date

Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s Mom, Jeanine, is also a character that has to come back as she, like much of the cast, was in all four of the original series’ theatrical releases.

A fifth film that rebooted American Pie fully fresh with none of the original cast would be a mistake as audiences would be disappointed not to catch up with the characters that they know and love. As they will be in their 40s, the core ensemble – Biggs, Hannigan, Scott, Nicholas, and Reid – are still young, vital performers and their connection to the fans of the same age would be powerful to maximize on. A raunchy comedy about adults, who we’ve witnessed come of age, has the promise of making a meaningful statement about love and aging, in addition to the gags and laughs that audiences will be expecting.

When director Paul Weitz and writer Adam Herz collaborated on the first American Pie back in the late ‘90s, they probably didn’t foresee a franchise featuring four big screen entries and five straight-to-video productions would result. American Pie 5 in 2024 will bring the series full circle, but only if all the key players are present. Characters from the spin-offs aren’t necessary, but cameos may be nice additions to acknowledge that they take place in the same American Pie-verse.

As we await more news on what American Pie 5 will entail, it will be interesting to note what Biggs and crew will do in the meantime. A number of them haven’t been in the public eye in some time due to the pandemic, so seeing them come back in some form before they reclaim their classic characters would be ideal. The fifth film, with the full ensemble, and a new stable of gags, will be all the better for it.

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