It’s pretty common in sci-fi and fantasy stories for a character death to be reversed in a sequel. Gandalf dies in The Fellowship of the Ring, but comes back in The Two Towers. Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but came back in Star Trek III. And we all know about Superman. But, the return of Jesus Christ is the oldest sequel trick in the book, because it happens in the oldest book. And now that there is actually a movie sequel to Passion of the Christ in the works, it’s a good time to remember that Ali G mocked this concept fourteen years ago.
On Tuesday, news broke that a sequel to the film The Passion of the Christ was in the works. In an interview published in USA Today, the actor who played Jesus in both the original film and the upcoming sequel, Jim Caviezel, said the new movie will be “‘the biggest film in history.” But, the idea of a Passion of the Christ sequel was invented either by God, or Ali G, depending on how you look at it.
In a 2004 episode of Da Ali G Show, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen — in the guise of his fictional creation, Ali G — interviewed Pat Buchanan. In the interview, Buchanan praised the Mel Gibson-directed Passion of the Christ, to which Ali G responded, “Aren’t you worried that because it made so much cash, they’ll just make a sequel that won’t be as good, where like he comes back to life or whatever.”
This joke went over Buchanan’s head, but it mocked the fact that in the Bible, Jesus Christ does, in fact, come back to life (spoiler alert), mirroring the trope of movie sequels that have resurrected their deceased main characters. But now, we live in a future in which this sequel is indeed going to happen. Ali G and Sacha Baron Cohen’s other fictional characters probably aren’t the best barometers of predicting the future in general, but right now, this joke feels not only prescient but particularly damning. Precognitive oracles often exist in dystopian sci-fi narratives, but we rarely expect them to look like Ali G.
Caviezel also said “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” as if the New Testament is a prestige TV show full of huge twists and turns. Who knows? Maybe Passion of the Christ 2 will change Christian canon forever. Let’s just hope Jesus doesn’t pull a Luke Skywalker and decide to astral project, because if so, Jesus fans are going to be pissed.