Mamma Mia!: Under the Radar

Why Haven’t We Heard About Mamma Mia! Becoming a Trilogy?

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

In 2008, the ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!” was adapted into a camp and star packed film following Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) after she invited her three potential fathers to her wedding. Sophie’s mother Donna (Meryl Streep) breaks out into ABBA’s top hits while facing her three long lost lovers amidst the loss of her now-grown daughter. The fathers are played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård. 

Ten years after “Mamma Mia!” came the sequel “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!” which featured the star-studded original cast as well as look-alike younger actors who portrayed the “summer of love” that produced Sophie, thus setting the plot for the first film. This prequel/sequel was an original script by director Ol Parker, inspired by the film and musical, utilizing ABBA songs to retain the musical trend.

“Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!” was a box office hit, and yet, when talks of the third installment were announced months after the second film’s success, no one seemed to care aside from Greek grannies, who were excited for the backdrop to yet again feature itty-bitty Greek islands. The third installment is set to be released for the summer of 2023, five years after “Here We Go Again!” with most of the cast already commenting on revisiting the franchise yet again. 

All was set to continue when COVID-19 closed down the world, and by extension, the entire project. As the world is still not fully healed, rising cases of the Delta Variant and continuing political turmoil surrounding the issues, the project has not publicly continued. Luckily, the cast is now a bunch of old dames more excited to share information about the passion project, than about keeping an air of mystique around the whole affair. 

Christiana Branski, who plays one of Sophie’s “aunt” figures as well as a member of Donna’s all girl group from the 70’s (i.e. “Donna and the Dynamos!”), has been commenting nonstop about not only her willingness to return, but also of the talks going on behind the scenes with producers. 

Judy Craymer, a producer for the original musical, cited COVID as the main reason for the delay. ABBA is still writing new music, which Craymer has also implied may be utilized in the upcoming film. 

The plot for the third film has not been publicly announced, and is likely not fully finalized behind the scenes either. Based on the sequel (/prequel), it is likely that the next film would focus on Sophie and her relationship with her child, as well as her continued relationship with her fathers and baby-Daddy, Sky (Dominic Cooper). At this point everything is still purely speculation, but I would offer that Lily James, who portrayed the young Donna, could very well return to the project as well offering more of how Donna and Sophie grew on their island, perhaps paralleled with grown Sophie (Amanda Seyfried’s portrayal) as she navigates motherhood, again on their island. 

Amanda Seyfried, who portrayed Sophie in all three films and unlike the rest of the cast does not share the role with a younger counterpart (besides her baby-self (which totally doesn’t count)), has spoken about the upcoming project on many occasions. She lit the fire under one popular potential plot when Seyfried expressed a desire to have the film explore Cher’s character further. Cher made a surprising cameo in “Mamma Mia: Here We Come Again!” as Donna’s uptill-then absent mother and Sophie’s grandmother. She also sang “Fernando” and it felt as though the cast was at a private Cher concert on this little Greek island. If Cher’s cameo doesn’t sell the entire franchise for you, then I will add that Andy Garcia plays Fernando.