Legally Blonde: Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Legally Blonde 3: Mindy Kaling just explained why the upcoming sequel starring Reese Witherspoon is delayed

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Much-loved movie icon Elle Woods is set to return to big screen soon in Legally Blonde 3; but according to writer Mindy Kaling, there’s a very good reason for the major delay in filming.

Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) first breezed into our lives way back in 2001, dressed in a chic two-piece, and proceeded to smash the patriarchy in a very big way.

Proving that femininity, womanhood, and the colour pink are not mutually exclusive with intelligence, ambition, and determination, the tenacious young law student graduated from Harvard, moved on from the partner who didn’t respect her, and annihilated the creep who sexually harassed her in the workplace.

Better still, Elle refused to let any measure of sexism deter her from her goals – and made a big point of providing support and compassion to her fellow women.

Now, two decades after the OG film first aired, we finally have some exciting new character details about the highly anticipated sequel Legally Blonde 3.

Originally slated for a May 2022 release, the final chapter in Elle Woods’ journey is still in development, and has actually yet to begin filming.  There’s a good reason for the delay though, according to Mindy Kaling, who is co-writing the script alongside Dan Goor, who created Parks And Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Speaking to Time, Kaling explained that she’s taking her time writing the script because she wants to do justice to the beloved comedy, acknowledging the role the film has played in building Witherspoon’s legacy.

“We don’t want to be responsible for ruining what’s basically Reese’s Avengers franchise,” she began. 

Legally Blonde: Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Kaling also shared some details about the questions she’s hoping to answer with the next instalment of Legally Blonde, which finds Elle Woods as a 40-something year old living in a very different world.

“What is Elle Woods like at 42?” she continued. “Does she end up becoming all the things she wanted? How does that personality manifest in a grown woman? Has she become more cynical? Her brightness and her cheerfulness really worked when she was 22, but how has life changed her perspective on things?

Legally Blonde is available to watch on Netfix.
Legally Blonde: Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Kaling also gave an insight into how Elle Woods is developing into an era-appropriate character nearly 20 years after we last saw her in a film. Crucially, though, she still wants her to retain the same essence of fun.

“We’re not afraid of the character in this world, and we don’t feel we have to apologise for her. As a fan, I didn’t want to watch her be cancelled or become a Karen. So the character is just fun. That’s what’s been interesting and challenging – and why it’s taking us such a long time to write.”

First announced in October 2020, MGM Studios broke the news of a third film in the Legally Blonde franchise on Twitter: “Elle Woods is back! Legally Blonde 3 coming May 2022. We rest our case. #LegallyBlonde3 #ElleWoods @ReeseW.”

Penned by Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor, Legally Blonde 3 has kept major plot details under wraps despite the growing excitement. But the good news is that one of the creative forces behind Legally Blonde 3, MGM executive Pamela Abdy, has unveiled some of the key themes of the film.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Abdy revealed that the story will pick up with Elle Woods at 40 and as a mum with a successful career.

“It’s really happening. Mindy Kaling and Dan [Goor] are writing it now for Reese [Witherspoon] to star,” she said. “Reese and Lauren Neustadter are producing with Marc Platt. We’re all developing it together. What does Elle Woods look like at 40? Elle is a mom with a thriving career. We’re looking forward to seeing the script come in sometime in the first quarter.”

Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde: Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Not all of the original cast have signed on to the sequel, including Luke Wilson, who played Elle’s love interest and fellow laywer Emmett. However, Abdy hinted that Kaling and Goor will opt to keep Elle and Emmett married in the next installment.

Jennifer Coolidge also hasn’t yet confirmed her return as Elle’s best friend Paulette, so we’ll have to hope and pray that the two are reunited on our screens once again.

As reported on 21 May 2020: Deadline previously confirmed that Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor, co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, will be teaming up to write the screenplay for MGM’s Legally Blonde 3.

“Reese Witherspoon remains aboard, reprising her role as attorney Elle Woods, producing through her Hello Sunshine studio with the franchise’s original producer Marc Platt,” the report adds.

Of course, Legally Blonde 3 has been in the making for quite some time now. Indeed, rumours about the sequel were everywhere back in 2018 when, speaking with E! Online, Witherspoon explained that she and the Legally Blonde team have definitely “thought about” bringing Elle back.

“I do think that it’s a good time to do it,” she said, adding: “I think women need that kind of positivity right now.”

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

As reported in December 2018: Witherspoon later confirmed the news on Twitter with a video of her in a pink bikini floating on a pool lounger.

“It’s true… #LegallyBlonde3,” she wrote. 

Of course, Witherspoon has always been keen to revive her iconic character.

In 2015, whilst appearing on the talk show Fashionably Late With Rachel Zoe, the actor expressed her admiration for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and revealed that the politician had left her feeling desperate to see what Elle would be up to now.

“I actually think it’s kind of great right now, because we’re talking about women in politics and how important that is to get more women,” she said, blissfully unaware of the fact that, just over a year later, Clinton would be beaten to victory in the election by former reality star and seasoned misogynist Donald Trump.

Witherspoon added: “I think it’d be kind of a cool thing to have her be a Supreme Court Justice, or someone who runs for office… President, I mean.”

If anyone can raise our spirits in these dark times, it’s President Elle Woods.

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde has been widely praised for its feminist message; however, many fans don’t know that it originally ended with Witherspoon’s character kissing Emmett (Luke Wilson) on the courthouse steps, before cutting to her forming a ‘Blonde Legal Defence Club’ with Vivian (Selma Blair).

However test audiences were (naturally) unhappy with that lukewarm ending, and so writers added in the now-infamous graduation scene, in which it is revealed that Elle is valedictorian, best friends with her former worst enemy, a talented lawyer, and set to marry Emmett in the not-so-distant-future.

The best part of the scene, undoubtedly, was her empowering message to all those gathered around her.

“On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle: ‘The law is reason free from passion’,” begins Elle.

“Well, no offence to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law - and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct.

“You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”

Hurry back to the silver screen, Elle – we’ve never needed you more.

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Image: Getty/Rex Features/MGM

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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