Nearly three decades after comedy sensation “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” premiered, Hollywood icon Whoopi Goldberg recently disclosed that a third movie now looks probable at last. In multiple interviews since September 2022, Goldberg confirmed Sister Act 3 talks are actively underway – with a story shaped around co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph reprising her role decades later too. But can this long-awaited musical threequel recapture the magic that made the initial two films smash hits in the 1990s?
Looking Back on Sister Act’s Legacy
1992’s “Sister Act” followed lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Goldberg) hiding in a California convent under witness protection – where she shakes up the underperforming church choir with her unconventional, soulful style. Directed by Emile Ardolino hot off the rom-com smash “Pretty Woman,” the movie combined Goldberg’s signature humor with an uplifting feminist message about challenging outdated institutions. A commercial and critical success, “Sister Act” earned nearly $300 million worldwide – quickly greenlighting a sequel.
1993’s “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” relocated the music and laughs to an inner-city Catholic school facing closure unless Deloris can shape the troubled teenagers into award-worthy singers. Also featuring Maggie Smith alongside young stars Lauryn Hill and Ryan Toby (of R&B group City High), the musical follow-up resonated with families over the holidays on its way to winning an audience Grammy nomination.
Why Now for Sister Act 3?
In September 2022, Goldberg first revealed on Comedy Central’s Hell of A Week talk show that Sister Act 3 gained momentum thanks partially to the long-running musical stage play adaptation. “For a long time, they kept saying no-one wanted to see it. And then quite recently it turns out that that may not be true,” Goldberg remarked. “People may want to see…a couple of the kids from 2. And we might be able to get the gang back together.”
Weeks later on The View talk show which Goldberg co-hosts, she confirmed producing partner Tyler Perry hoping to direct a three-quel script in development. Perry also tweeted his enthusiasm for getting behind the scenes on Sister Act 3 as well. Goldberg floated her desired plot by sending Ralph’s character Mother Superior doling out “some fusses and beatdowns” at the choir’s school facing contemporary troubles. A month later in October, Ralph herself discussed with Access Hollywood the prospect of reprising Mother Superior as “an answered prayer” that left her “crying happy tears.” With Goldberg and Ralph both visibly eager alongside heavyweight director Perry, momentum indeed seems to exist turning Sister Act 3 from pipedream into reality.
But Will Lightning Strike Thrice?
Still, some skepticism lingers about whether Sister Act 3 can meet sky-high expectations after such a long hiatus. Recapturing the sweet comedy-music alchemy won’t be easy 30 years later – especially withoutArdolino, who passed away in 1993 shortly after Sister Act 2’s completion. Before his death at age 52 from AIDS-related causes, the openly gay director received acclaim for his deft ability to celebrate non-traditional heroes through unlikely triumphs in both Sister Act movies and earlier hit “Dirty Dancing.”
Of course, Goldberg and Ralph’s infectious charisma lifting spirits through trying times does feel attuned to 2023’s mood. Perry’s commercial instincts guiding Sister Ac 3 creatively and in front of mainstream audiences appear a smart fit too. With Ardolino’s torch passed inspirationally to Perry and screenwriter Karin Gist confirmed involved, the pieces may align for Goldberg’s singing sensation Deloris motivating music’s saving power one more crescendoing time. Soon nuns and nostalgic moviegoers alike could find themselves joyfully tripping the light convent fantastic once more if Sister Act 3’s prayers come answered indeed.