Mel Brooks ended his classic comedy History of the World: Part I with a fake teaser for a sequel. And yet, here we are, 27 years later, and no sequel. Counting the Broadway musical and the theatrical remake , Mel’s done The Producers three times over. Throw History of the World fans a bone! If Brooks never planned on doing a sequel, then why did he title it “Part I”? The answer may surprise you.
To name his epic farce, Brooks played on Sir Walter Raleigh’s historical tome, The History of the World.
Raleigh, who was beheaded, never got to finish his epic, and with “Part
I,” Brooks was referencing the fact that Raleigh’s work was incomplete.
But the director also had a personal reason for the title — he was
tired of people asking him what his next movie would be. This way, they
would assume a sequel was up next, and leave him alone.
Ironically, we have sort of seen a sequel to History of the World: Part I. Brooks basically extended the “Jews in Space” joke from the fake trailer to theatrical length with 1987’s Spaceballs .
(“May the Schwartz be with you!”) Also, is the chorus of Nazi
stormtroopers currently hoofing it on Broadway really all that
different from the “Hitler on Ice” gag? Still, of all of Brooks’
material, History of the World: Part I most obviously lends itself to continuation. Rather than repeatedly recycling old material ad nauseum, why not just do A History of the World: Part II? At least then we’d be seeing something new.