People have been talking about a possible sequel to Easy Rider for decades, but no one ever took it seriously. It seemed like one of those hilarious fake ideas you come up with, like a musical version of Saw III, or an all-midget version of Hoosiers. In fact, in the 1980s, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda kept talking about doing a sequel set in the future, with the original characters being brought back to life and going on a road trip through post-apocalyptic America. As recently as 2002, a different sequel, called Easy Rider A.D., was about to begin production ... and then never did.

But now it looks like an actual sequel has actually been produced -- with no involvement from the people who made the seminal 1969 classic, and featuring none of the same characters (for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has seen the original -- although they managed to make a sequel to The Blair Witch Project, didn't they?). The sequel, called Easy Rider: The Ride Back, is an independent film set for a small theatrical opening in September, and some of the cast and crew were in Cannes last week for a photo opportunity, which is how we caught wind of the film's existence. (In the photo are Phil Pitzer, who produced, co-wrote, and stars in the film -- and who bears a resemblance to Peter Fonda -- and Sheree J. Wilson, a cast member of TV's Dallas and Walker, Texas Ranger who co-stars.)

It apparently has nothing to do with any of the previous sequel ideas that floated around Hollywood, but instead focuses on the Peter Fonda character's brother, who followed in his sibling's footsteps and rides the same patriotically decorated Harley Davidson motorcycle.

This brother and a buddy of his called Wes Coast "embark upon an adventure that will force them to confront the past in order to make reparations with the present," according to the press release I dug up. The press release also says the film covers the family's trials and tribulations through the 1940s, '50s, '60s, and up to the present day.

This sounds awfully ambitious for an indie film that's been in the works for the better part of a decade, but there you go. The working title was Scarlet Cross -- that's how it's still listed at the Internet Movie Database -- and here's an article from the Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun from August 2007 talking about scenes being shot locally. The article says that Phil Pitzer had already been working on the film for 3 1/2 years at that point; here's another one from the San Francisco Chronicle in March 2005 that details some of the legal wrangling Pitzer had to go through to secure the sequel rights.

So whether it seems like a good idea or not, there is indeed a sequel to Easy Rider, and it will apparently appear in at least a handful of theaters in the fall. What do you think? Do you have any interest in seeing it? Will a love of motorcycles and Steppenwolf music be enough to bring in audiences? More to the point, has anyone who goes to movies in 2009 even heard of Easy Rider?