Rocketman Almost Had Rami Malek Cameo as Freddie Mercury

We came ever so close to the start of a rock star cinematic universe. Everyone in town wants to get in on the cinematic universe game, thanks to what Marvel has managed to do over the course of the last decade or so. With Rocketman, the recently released Elton John biopic, a new one was almost birthed, as it’s been revealed that Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury from last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody almost made a cameo.

This fascinating little tidbit comes from director Dexter Fletcher. He’s been making the rounds promoting Rocketman as of late, which has done exceedingly well with critics, in large part thanks to Taron Egerton’s performance as Elton John. During a recent interview, Fletcher revealed that he had actually cooked up a scene, in which, Freddie Mercury would have appeared. Here’s what he had to say about it.

“There was an idea I had one point, where Elton’s in a restaurant with his mother. I thought John Reid and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing [but] it didn’t come to pass. It would’ve been a little too knowing… I’m not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!”

John Reid was a real-life manager who handled both Queen and Elton John between 1975 and 1978. So there is actually some connective tissue there. However, Reid was played by Aidan Gillen in Bohemian Rhapsody, whereas Richard Madden took on the role in Rocketman. Not to say that couldn’t have been worked around somehow, but it’s something that would have needed to be addressed in order for this to work.

It’s worth noting that Dexter Fletcher, though not credited, did, in part, direct Bohemian Rhapsody. Once Bryan Singer was fired from the production, Fletcher was hired to come in and handle some reshoots, in addition to finishing up the movie. He then went on to make Rocketman. So there is some series connective tissue between these two biopics behind the scenes as well. Though, the former wasn’t received quite as well by critics, generally speaking. Despite that, it won four Oscars and grossed more than $900 million at the box office. Rami Malek took home the Best Actor Oscar for his work as Freddie Mercury.

Related: Rocketman Review: Taron Egerton Astonishes in Glitzy Elton John Musical

Despite the connections, and the possible logic to it, there is a bigger reason this probably didn’t happen. Bohemian Rhapsody was made by 20th Century Fox (which is now owned by Disney) and Rocketman was made for Paramount. What sense does it make to build a cinematic universe that crosses over between rival studios? Not to say something like that couldn’t work (Michael Keaton played FBI agent Ray Nicolette in Miramax’s Jackie Brown then reprised the role in Universal’s Out of Bounds, so it’s not unprecedented), but it’s far less likely than housing such a universe under one roof. With that in mind, if both movies happened at the same studio and this idea was floated, it’s easy to imagine there would have been a bigger push to make it happen. This news was first reported by Gay Star News.