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News of ‘Twister’ sequel has weather fanatics swirling with excitement

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 10/26/2022 Matthew Cappucci
A tornado whirls near McCook, Nebraska on May 17, 2019. (Matthew Cappucci) A tornado whirls near McCook, Nebraska on May 17, 2019. (Matthew Cappucci)

A mild obsession with the movie “Twister” is virtually a requirement for a weather enthusiast. Meteorologists, hobbyists or even slightly-more-than-casual cloud watchers probably have seen it at least a handful of times. Each time it airs on cable TV, it seems that half of “weather Twitter” (WxTwitter) takes to social media to alert colleagues. Now a sequel is reportedly coming — and it’s taking the weather enterprise by storm.

Twenty-six years after the release of “Twister,” in 1996, the sequel will be called “Twisters,” according to Deadline, the Hollywood industry news site. Filming for the movie is to begin in the spring. Steven Spielberg reportedly “flipped” over the script, and “his enthusiasm provided the impetus for the fast-tracked film,” which will be a venture between Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios. Deadline noted that Warner Bros. will be co-financing the project and that it will be produced by Frank Marshall.

According to Reader’s Digest, the film probably will not premiere until at least mid-2024, if not later.

When asked for his initial reaction to the news of a “Twister” sequel, Reed Timmer, a renowned storm chaser and former star of the long-running Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” described feeling “pure excitement!”

“We’ve got cows!” Discussing Warner Brothers 1996 Hollywood blockbuster hit, TWISTER.

“ ‘Twister’ is still one of my favorite movies,” Timmer told The Washington Post in a message. “I love the storm chaser characters in the original movie and the representation of life on the road.”

Timmer, who regularly drives tens of thousands of miles annually crisscrossing the Great Plains, Deep South and Southeast in pursuit of tornadoes, said the portrayal of the dynamic of storm chasing was spot-on in “Twister.”

“The quirky characters, camaraderie and competitiveness between the different stormchasers and teams as shown in the original … is incredibly accurate and ahead of its time,” he wrote.

Scenes from 1996’s movie Twister. © AJ Pics / Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo Scenes from 1996’s movie Twister.

The original movie chronicles the adventures of Jo Thornton (played by Helen Hunt), whose family’s rural Oklahoma farm was destroyed in 1969 by an F5 tornado. Her father dies while trying to hold down the door of a storm cellar. Twenty-seven years later, Thornton is a PhD meteorologist working to deploy probes in the path of violent tornadoes. She’s in the midst of a divorce from fellow scientist Bill Harding (Bill Paxton). After enduring several near-death experiences involving severe storms, the pair rekindle their love while conducting groundbreaking tornado research.

“The [research] projects were an accurate look into the future of storm chasing field science — the interplay between the big mega funded field projects and the small self funded chasers trying to also make a difference,” Timmer wrote.

“Twister” was a hit, grossing nearly $500 million at the box office.

It was not immediately apparent who would star in the sequel; Deadline wrote that the hope is to bring Hunt back, according to its sources. News of the sequel comes 5 ½ years after the death of Paxton at age 61.

After Paxton’s death on Feb. 25, 2017, scores of storm chasers took to the rural roadways of the Texas Panhandle and plains of western Oklahoma to spell out his initials, which appeared on the storm chasing “Spotter Network.”

“A TWISTER sequel without Bill Paxton? Shouldn’t be made,” tweeted Chris Evangelista, the editor and chief film critic at Slash Film. “I stand firm on this very important issue.”

TMZ reports that Bill Paxton’s son has given the sequel “his seal of approval.”

“Twister” helped popularize the field of storm chasing and was among the few movies at the time that embraced scientists, and in particular nerds. It comes as no surprise that meteorologists far and wide welcome the sequel.

The original movie was highly influential in fueling my love and passion for weather and tracking down tornadoes,” wrote Aaron Jayjack, a storm chaser for the MyRadar app, in a message to The Post. “ I’d love to see them come out with a crew and get some real, close up action shots of actual tornadoes in the Plains!”

Despite the widespread enthusiasm, meteorologists and weather enthusiasts alike are hoping producers hew close to the science — some even advocating the use of meteorological consultants.

“I’m excited but apprehensive,” wrote Jed Christoph, a meteorologist at the NBC affiliate in Missoula, Mont., in a message to the The Post. “Would be great if they research and call upon storm chasers/meteorologists to provide some insight.”

Jayjack agreed.

“At the very least, they better get some actual storm chasers and their vehicles in the movie as extras, for all that realistic chaser convergence!” he wrote.

Here’s a sample of some of the buzz “Twisters” is generating:


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