There Was Almost a ‘Forrest Gump’ Sequel – A National Tragedy Prevented Its Development

Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

Arguably one of the greatest films ever made, Forrest Gump (1994) charmed audiences around the world, smashing the box office and bringing several quotes into daily life. We should’ve remembered life is like a box of chocolates because we never expected the possibility of a Forrest Gump sequel. However, when the original author published the novel’s sequel, it appeared to be a very real possibility – that is, until the events of September 11, 2001.

Winston Groom swiftly wrote a second novel about Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks holding up clapperboard with "Forrest Gump" written on it
Behind-the-scenes of Tom Hanks as the titular character in Forrest Gump, 1994. (Photo Credit: andrewz / Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

In 1986, author Winston Groom published what would later become the basis for one of the most successful and beloved films ever released. He published Forrest Gump, which was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and saw Tom Hanks cast as the lead. The movie, bringing many elements from the novel onto the big screen, went on to win several Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Given the immense popularity and success of the film, it’s no surprise Groom quickly continued the story in a sequel published in 1995, titled Gump & Co. The novel never saw its own film adaptation – that’s not to say one was never in the works.

Gump & Co. got a little a lot weird

Still from 'Forrest Gump'
Forrest Gump, 1994. (Photo Credit: CaptainOT / Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Like the original novel and film, Gump & Co. sees Forrest Gump serve as part of a number of major historical events. It picks up where the previous story leaves off, with the majority of the plot focusing on the difficult relationship Gump has with his son, who has inherited AIDS from his mother and becomes a rebellious, alcohol-addicted teenager.

Some of the historical events Gump becomes involved in include the fall of the Berlin Wall; inadvertently creating “New Coke;” encountering presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; the Gulf War; Black Monday; and forging a brand new relationship with a women who died in the Oklahoma City Bombing – and we’re only brushing the surface.

Other weird things happen in the novel as well, including Gump being visited by Jenny’s ghost, who gives him permission to marry a woman named Gretchen, whom he met while overseas. Additionally, Gump meets the real Tom Hanks, and the story extends into 1994, long enough for him to see his life portrayed in the original film.

The Forrest Gump sequel was scrapped after 9/11

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in 'Forrest Gump'
Forrest Gump, 1994. (Photo Credit: MaCo / Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

It’s unclear if all of this would have made it into the second film. However, Eric Roth, the original screenwriter, did confirm he’d penned a script for a Forrest Gump sequel. Roth finished the script near the beginning of September 2001, and turned it in on the 10th. The next morning, Roth, Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis met, when they realized the destruction of the Twin Towers had made the film’s development unwarranted.

Roth explained in an interview with Slash Film:

“I [wanted] to start the movie literally two minutes after the end of the last one, with him on the bus bench waiting for his son to get home from school. But I turned in the script the night before 9/11. And we sat down, Tom [Hanks] and Bob [Zemeckis] and I, looked at each other and said, we don’t think this is relevant anymore. The world had changed. Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”

Hanks also admitted he didn’t think a second film was necessary, telling the Happy Sad Confused podcast, “I have to confess I don’t see this as a franchise. A sequel would ruin what we had done.” He even legally protected himself from having to act in a sequel. “A smart thing I did is I’ve never signed a contract that had a contractual obligation to do a sequel,” he said. “I’ve always said, ‘Guys, if there’s a reason to do it, let’s do it. But you guys can’t force me.'”

He even said that, at most, any conversation about a second film lasted less than an hour.

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Still, we wonder if a Forrest Gump sequel might still be a possibility in the future. Groom himself explained, “The studio bought the sequel and paid me a ton of dough even before it came out, and they then owned it, as they still do, and can make it a movie anytime they d**n well please.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!