Mike Myers wants to do Austin Powers 4, but this time the story would be told from Dr. Evil's perspective. Way back in 1997, the silly James Bond spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery came out of nowhere to become a pop culture sensation, if not an actual huge box office hit (though it did perform very well on home video). The sequel Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me truly validated the popularity of the character, grossing $206 million domestically. A second sequel, Austin Powers in Goldmember, did even better with $213 million.
As popular as the Austin Powers character became, for many it was really the villain Dr. Evil who stole the show. With his endless plans to build super weapons and extort ever-increasing amounts of money from the nations of Earth, Dr. Evil of course ruthlessly skewered Bond villain tropes. But somehow the character went beyond its one-dimensional spoofy roots and became oddly sympathetic. Part of the character's strange appeal was no doubt the presence of his sidekick Mini-Me, played by the late Verne Troyer.
In the years since Goldmember there has been talk of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil making a comeback, but nothing concrete has come together. Now however, Mike Myers says he has plans to bring back the franchise, and this time he wants to flip the script by giving us Dr. Evil's side of the story. While attending the premiere for his new movie Terminal, Myers told ET:
"I would love to do a movie from Dr. Evil's perspective. So it would be Dr. Evil 1, Austin Powers 4, is how I would roll. Start the campaign, please. Thank you."
Myers himself has been largely absent from the film scene in recent years, with his last live-action role coming in 2009's Inglourious Basterds. Unfortunately for Myers, his once-thriving career as a comedic actor came crashing down with the 2008 flop The Love Guru, a movie that combined general badness with horrific racial insensitivity. Now, Myers appears ready to finally shake off the after-effects of The Love Guru and mount a full-on comeback. In addition to the neo-noir thriller Terminal, he will also appear in the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (fitting, given that he helped re-popularize Mercury and Queen with the iconic head-banging scene in Wayne's World).
It appears Myers wishes to complete his comeback, if comeback it is, by revisiting his most popular non-animated franchise. But going back to Austin Powers could prove problematic in many ways. The Austin Powers movies are prime examples of films that worked in their day, but are now seen to embody certain outdated attitudes toward sex and race. Of course, part of the point of Austin Powers was to skewer even more-outdated attitudes. But unfortunately, the fine line between satirizing an attitude and merely adopting it seems to occasionally disappear in those films.
One possible way to make Austin Powers 4 without falling into certain traps (that have ensnared Myers in the past) might be to shift attention away from the womanizing Powers and onto Dr. Evil. In terms of pop culture relevance, Dr. Evil is the bigger character anyway. And he might actually be richer comedically than Powers, an arguably thin and one-note character to begin with. The only sad thing? Verne Troyer alas will not be able to participate.