It came as no surprise when Universal announced that Ted, Seth MacFarlane's raunchy comedy about a sentient teddy bear who grows up alongside his owner, was going to get a sequel. Despite its R rating, the first movie ended up grossing nearly $550 million at the worldwide box office and scored enough laughs to earn a generally positive critical response.
The foul-mouthed bear will return in Ted 2, set for release in summer 2015, joined once again by Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis (though Kunis will only have a small role), as well as by Amanda Seyfried, who will play the new female lead. Based on plot hints that Wahlberg recently dropped, it wouldn't be surprising if Seyfried ends up being a love interest for Ted. After all, it's not like there are many other talking bears around for him to socialize with.
Now it seems that Ted will also be getting into a bit of trouble along the way, as Variety reports that Morgan Freeman (Transcendence) has joined the cast in a key role as an "iconic civil rights lawyer" who helps Ted out after he finds himself on the wrong end of the law. MacFarlane was apparently interested in Freeman from very early on, but the deal seems to have been clinched quite late considering that Ted 2 has already been filming in Boston for over a month.
It will be interesting to see if Freeman's role ends up making reference to a real-life lawsuit faced by Ted (and his creator) earlier this year, when the character was accused of having been stolen from a little-known series of online comedy videos called "Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear." There's been no further news on the lawsuit since it was originally filed in mid-July, though it's possible that it may have already been concluded with either a settlement or a dismissal.
MacFarlane, of course, will reprise his role as Ted and direct the sequel, and he also co-wrote the screenplay with his regular collaborators Wellesley Wild and Alex Sulkin. MacFarlane's second feature film A Million Ways to Die in the West (in which he was seen in a rare live-action role) proved to be considerably less of a hit than Ted, but Ted 2 has the benefit of being a sequel with a built-in audience - as well as a very cuddly protagonist, his less-cuddly habits be darned.
Ted 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 26th, 2015.