Nine years pass between each of Richard Linklater’s Before movies, the unique film franchise chronicling decades in the lives of Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, and Celine, played by Julie Delpy. They met in 1995’s Before Sunrise, reconnected in 2004’s Before Sunset, and then were last seen in 2013’s Before Midnight, where they were shown as parents contemplating the possible end of their relationship. If Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy maintained that schedule, there would be a new Before coming in 2022 — sometime next year.

But it looks like the series may be over, at least for now. Delpy, who also co-wrote both Before Sunrise and Before Midnight with Linklater and Hawke, said in an interview that she turned down the opportunity to continue the story. She told Telerama (via The Playlist) that’s she’s grown so frustrated with the movie industry that’s she “often” contemplates retirement. She added:

A year and a half ago, I was not far from [retirement]. The hell I went through to produce my film had exhausted me. I said no to Richard Linklater for the fourth part of the ‘Before’ films. I thought that maybe I could go back to school. I would make a very good doctor, for example! You give me three symptoms and I tell you what you are suffering from!… But I like to create, to tell stories, it’s stronger than me.

Some franchises could continue with new actors or new writers or new directors. Not the Before series. A Before without Linklater, Hawke or Delpy would be absurd. (Unless you made the film about Hawke’s character dealing with the death of Delpy’s character? But that just sounds unbelievably sad.) It’s been great to get to check in with these people every nine years, as they grow old right along with us. But if one of that core group doesn’t want to do it, it’s best to leave Before in the past.

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