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Twister Star Bill Paxton Had an Idea for a Sequel — Years Before Twisters

Twisters, a follow-up to the '90s disaster movie Twister, premieres July 19, but the late star of the original film had an idea for a sequel years ago. 

By James Grebey
Trailer: Twisters

Twisters, July’s upcoming big blockbuster disaster movie, is technically not a sequel to the 1996 movie Twister. The two don’t share any characters, and the plots are essentially standalone. It’s just another exciting movie about tornados — no continuity needed. However, Bill Paxton, star of the '90s flick, once had an idea for a sequel. 

In an interview with The AV Club in 2012, the actor explained that he had dreams of one day directing a sequel to Twister. Part of the reason for this was because, as he put it, Twister wasn’t as "tough" as it had the potential to be.

“I’ve always felt like there was a Jaws version of that movie. I always felt like we did the Pepsi Lite version of that movie,” Paxton said. “There’s a tougher version of that movie that I think now.”

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Paxton’s pitch for the film — which was never made nor did it enter any sort of pre-production, it was just his vision — had his storm-chasing scientist Bill and Helen Hunt’s Jo back together, having reconciled after previously being estranged ahead of Twister. They would have a daughter who's a junior in high school who is “already dating a guy in college” and it would be this next generation of storm chasers that would take the lead. 

Twister Movie

Paxton said the movie would take advantage of 3-D technology (which was very much in vogue at the time, though he suggested that using it to bring a tornado to life would be more than just a gimmick). He also said the titular twister would be inspired by the Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest in U.S. history. 

The Tri-State Tornado

“The Tri-State is the biggest they’ve got on record. It came down over the Ozarks in Missouri on March 18, 1925, and it stayed on the ground for three and a half hours, which is a record,” Paxton explained. “They call it the Tri-State because it started in Missouri, crossed the Mississippi River, and cut a path of destruction all the way across southern Illinois and across southwest Indiana, killing a bunch of people.” 

Paxton said he went to visit some of the historical centers in the areas where the Tri-State hit close to a century ago where he learned more about the devastation. 

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“You can’t really see the damage anymore, but you can see the photographs, and the old-timers say, 'Well, if it can happen once…' And I don’t think that part of the country is ready for another pass like that. So we wanted to tie into something like that. Weather is cyclical, and now you add climate change into that, and… God, that’s a witches’ brew. We could see super-tornadoes in our lifetime that are just unheard of. I mean, another Tri-State Tornado?” he said

Paxton sadly died in 2017, and his vision for a Twister sequel never came to fruition. But, almost three decades after the original movie and a bit more than a decade after Paxton gave this interview, there is another Twister movie on the horizon. And, like Paxton’s pitch, it features an even stronger, more devastating storm

Twisters opens in theaters on July 19.