Note: Contains spoilers for the Crazy Rich trilogy.
Crazy Rich Asians proved what many have known for a long time: representation is good for business! The summer of 2018 saw Crazy Rich Asians breathe new life into the romcom genre.
Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the movie adaptation saw Constance Wu and Henry Golding as Rachel Chu and Nick Young. The pair are young and in love, but when Nick brings Rachel home to Singapore for a friend’s wedding, her brush with the wealthy elite of the Young family is unlike anything Rachel expected.
The sequel is based on Kevin Kwan’s novel China Rich Girlfriend, which sees a similar cast of characters return to the big screen. Here’s everything you need to know.
Crazy Rich Asians 2 release date: When’s it coming?
We’ve got a while to wait, sadly. “As far as I know they’re starting to write scripts for the second film and the third film. Obviously there are three books in the trilogy,” star Gemma Chan said.
“But I’ve heard that we won’t shoot until 2020 at the earliest. And we’ll shoot films two and three back to back.”
Filming is being held up by director Jon M Chu’s busy schedule. He’s expected to begin filming after he completed work on In the Heights, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical, which is currently in line for release in summer 2020.
Likewise, star Constance Wu is busy with Fresh Off the Boat and Awkwafina has projects lined up like The Little Mermaid and joining the cast of Marvel‘s Shang-Chi, meaning scheduling is key. It is looking like 2021 is increasingly likely for China Rich Girlfriend.
The plan is to film the second and third films (the latter based on the final book in Kwan’s trilogy, Rich People Problems) back-to-back, so once the first sequel arrives, the second is likely to be only a year away.
But there may be another reason for the delay. Though director John Chu planned to keep the creative team intact for the two planned sequels, co-writer Adele Lim has left the project over pay disparity.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Lim, a veteran TV writer, was being paid significantly less than co-writer Peter Chiarelli, a writer who gained significant acclaim for 2009’s The Proposal and was signed onto the project before Chu was even tapped to direct.
Negotiations over salary went on for five months, with Lim offered a salary closer to parity with Chiarelli, but only because Chiarelli volunteered to split his fee with her. Lim passed on the deal, saying: “Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer.”
No one has been hired to replace Lim. Chiarelli is working with Chu, the pair delivering a 10-page treatment back in July. But don’t expect the studio to rush ahead. Chu told THR: “There’s too much responsibility and too much precedent from the first movie that the last thing I want to do is just hit a date and release the movie. There’s still too much work to do. Our focus isn’t on the timeline, it’s on getting the story right.”
Crazy Rich Asians 2 plot: What’s it about?
The second book in Kwan’s trilogy is China Rich Girlfriend (followed by the third, Rich People Problems), which follows the ongoing drama of Rachel Chu and Nick Young’s engagement.
China Rich Girlfriend picks up two years after Crazy Rich Asians and given how closely the first film mirrored its source material, the sequel will likely stick close to the novel.
The events of the sequel were already seeded in Crazy Rich Asians, whose mid-credits scene implies a reunion between Gemma Chan’s Astrid and her former fiancé, Charlie (played by Glee‘s Harry Shum Jr).
The story concerns Rachel’s reunion with her long-lost father, which introduces her to the world of Chinese billionaires whose wealth dwarfs that of her Singaporean would-be relatives (the title riffs off Nick’s mother Eleanor’s exclamation, “These people aren’t just everyday rich with a few hundred million. They are China rich!”).
But the plot of the novel also focusses on the growing gulf between Astrid and her husband Michael, and the deepening feelings between Astrid and Charlie – despite both being married.
Throw in a dash of romance, heartbreak and revenge and you’re ready to go.
Crazy Rich Asians 2 cast: Who’s coming back?
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M Chu has already signed up for the sequel, and will be reuniting his production team to develop the movie. Screenwriters Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim are also set to return, although last we heard they hadn’t officially signed on yet.
The Crazy Rich Asians cast is yet to be confirmed for the sequel, but if the adaptation of China Rich Girlfriend goes ahead, the main cast, including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh and Harry Shum Jr, have options in place for the sequels and would all presumably be in line to return.
Speaking to E!, Awkwafina confessed she didn’t know if she was slated to return for the sequel, but said she had her “fingers crossed” to reprise the role of Goh Peik Lin.
Golding is definitely up for it. “I hope there’s something in the future,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It would be so much fun to get everybody back together, back to sweaty old Singapore.”
So is Shum Jr: “It’s a beautiful story and there are so many things that [creator] Kevin Kwan has put into this world that I think we have to explore.”
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As for new faces, no-one has been confirmed yet, but there are many new characters to be cast. The two most tantalising are Carlton Bao, Rachel’s long lost brother, and Colette Bing, a fashion blogger who only, and always, wears couture.
Colette is very spoiled by her father, and will certainly add another element of bling to the already high-fashion aesthetic of the movie.
There’s also Roxanne Ma, Colette’s personal assistant who is fiercely loyal to her employer. Some are already speculating on who should be cast in these roles, with names like Lana Condor and Kelly Marie Tran tipped for Colette and Roxanne respectively.