Yellow Submarine II
A treatment by Jon B. Knutson
Yes, my friends, it's time once again for me to share with you my treatment for a movie that will likely never be made. This time around, it's a sequel to the classic Beatles' animated film, "Yellow Submarine."
For years, there's been rumors flying around about doing a sequel to this movie (probably my favorite animated movie of all time), but I've never come across any outline or treatment anywhere that would give some idea of what might be... So here's my own offering!
Once upon a time... Or maybe twice, I'm not quite sure, there was a lovely place called... Pepperland. As with the original. We open with scenes of the most peaceful place imaginable, full of beauty and music. The narrator continues to speak, with appropriate scenes, saying that Pepperland had long been a happy place, with a long history of peace and love. The only time in recent memory n that this peace was threatened was when Pepperland was besieged by the Blue Meanies. To counter this menace, Young Fred was sent to the outside world to seek help, which he found in the form of four young men from Liverpool, and with the help of Jeremy, the Nowhere Man, the Meanies were defeated, and furthermore, turned to the side of love and happiness. The former Meanies embraced happiness so much that they decided to embark on a mission to bring peace and love to all the surrounding countries. It was thought that Pepperland would never again be threatened.
They thought wrong. We cut to the foothills of the headlands (as previously seen), the camera zooming and panning until we come to a cave (perhaps an open mouth of one of the headlands, snoring blissfully away. We hear a voice echoing from inside, "At last, Pam, I've found it!" We get to the speaker, and we see Mean Mr. Mustard, and his sister Polythene Pam (though their full names aren't given yet, most Beatles fans would figure them out, given Mr. Mustard's dingy yellow clothes and Pam's jackboot and kilt). Mr. Mustard has found Maxwell's Silver Hammer, long thought lost but rumored to have been hidden away for safekeeping. With the power of the hammer, Mustard can bring eternal darkness to Pepperland by imprisoning the Sun King! There's only one item powerful enough to deal with the Silver Hammer, but that's not been seen for just as long. Exiting the cave, Mustard holds the hammer above his head, and black lightning bolts spring forth, speeding into the sky where the Sun King (seen as the classic cartoon sun with a face, but with a body dressed in appropriate period French clothing) smiles down upon Pepperland. As the black lightning surrounds the Sun King and pulls him down from the sky, we see it getting dimmer in Pepperland, causing screams and panic.
In The Lord Mayor's office (outside we see the previous Lord Mayor's statue, indicating his retirement), we find Young Fred, the current Lord Mayor, listening to a Victrola playing music (perhaps instrumental versions of the Beatles, as previously recorded and released by George Martin) when he notices the darkness. Fred starts to panic and run around his office like a ninny, knocking things down as he does so. The door opens, and Jeremy the Nowhere Man enters, followed by his assistant, Jude (a young man). Fred is completely panicked, saying over and over, "What will we do? A darkness is taking over Pepperland!" over and over. Jeremy says in verse that as Fred had done once, Jeremy will do this time, and take the Yellow Submarine to get help, and he'll take Jude with him. Fred had forgotten about the Submarine, and exhorts Jeremy to proceed with all due haste.
As Jeremy and Jude rush to the Submarine, we see that many of the Pepperlandians have fallen asleep where they were, the sleep brought on by the unnatural darkness. As they see Pepperlandians starting to nod off, Jeremy pulls a coffee pot and cup from somewhere and pours a cups for them to help them stay awake. Jude, for his part, doesn't seem to be falling asleep at all, which he attributes to being a bit highstrung to begin with. They reach the sub and take off.
Opening Credits: "Yellow Submarine," naturally.
After the credits, we get a look at London as the sun rises. At the edge of town, a rooster crows, and we hear "Good Morning, Good Morning" as we see scenes of London getting started on its day... A happier view than we saw in the original film this time. Of course, the Submarine is spotted here and there during the scenes.
As the song ends, the Submarine comes to a stop, parked on the street in front of the Beatles' house. Jeremy and Jude exit, and ring the doorbell. It's answered by the Saturday morning cartoon versions of the Beatles, who tell Jeremy he must be looking for "the blokes next door." Realizing that they got the address wrong, they go next door and ring the doorbell there, but there's no answer. Jeremy and Jude sit on the steps to wait. Jude asks how long they will wait, and Jeremy says they'll wait as long as they need to.
They don't wait long, as a car comes down the street and parks. Perhaps it's Ringo's car as seen from the first movie, but I'd personally rather it be John's psychedelic-painted Rolls. The Beatles exit, and from their dialogue, it's obvious they've been to the movies. Furthermore, they appear to have seen the Monkees movie "Head," but it's not explicitly said, just clues (I.e. John. Saying that he still thinks those guys are as funny as the Marx Brothers). They are surprised to see Jeremy, and Jeremy introduces them to Jude. We learn that since the Beatles' last visit to Pepperland, Jeremy has been installed as the Nowhere Minister of Pepperland History and Cultural Archiving, and Jude is his assistant. Jeremy tells the Beatles that a darkness has come over Pepperland, which can only mean someone has imprisoned the Sun King... And will they help, as they did once before?
Of course, the Beatles are glad to help, as they all felt a special connection to Pepperland. And so, they are off on their voyage! Ringo asks if they'll be traveling through the same seas they did before, but Jude says he's discovered maps showing a safer route that is also more direct. The first sea they cross on the way is the Sea of Space, which looks for all the world like deep space, with stars and planets and so forth. With accompanying cosmic imagery, we hear "Because."
Next up in the journey is the sea of tranquility, which leaves the entire crew feeling very calm and relaxed, without a care in the world... In fact, they get so relaxed that they start to lose track of what they're supposed to be doing. Jude, who's been a bit more highstrung than the average Pepperlandian, is the only one to snap out of it, and he starts making all sorts of noises to bring them out of their tranquil state, including crashing cymbals, honking horns, beating drums and the like. We get “I'm Only Sleeping” as our musical selection this time around.
Jeremy warns that they must next cross the Sea of Monsters, and that they should keep an eye out for the Vacuum Beast that gave them such trouble the last time around. Ringo notes that it didn't help that he accidentally hit the Ejector Switch... And promptly hits it again. This time, however, he is plucked out of the sky by a large octopus. Jude and the other three Beatles exit the Submarine in an attempt to free Ringo (George: "Talk about eight arms to hold you!"), and Paul suggests that instead of fighting the octopus, they should use what they know best, as music hath charms to soothe the savage breast (there's a bit of an argument as to if it's supposed to be breast or beast). They perform "Octopus' Garden" and the music causes flowers and such to appear, making the octopus so happy he lets Ringo go.
Happy to be out of the sea of monsters again, the next sea they travel through is the Esrever Sea. In this sea, things we truly bizarre and switched around. We see a dog walking a man, a mouse chasing a cat, etc. In the soundtrack, I'd imagine we'd get bits and pieces of not only Beatles songs that included backwards sounds (such as the end of “Rain”) but also pieces of other songs reversed for the first time.
Finally, the Beatles, Jude and Jeremy arrive in Pepperland. It's completely dark there now, except for one group that's gathered around a bonfire, trying to stay awake for as long as they can. We get the idea again that time travels at a different rate in Pepperland than in our world, as the few awake Pepperlanders seem to have been staying awake for some time by now, and they look terrible. With the arrival of the Beatles, Jeremy feels that perhaps the others might want to get some sleep, but one of them, a young girl named Anna, is afraid to go to sleep. Ringo sings “Good Night” to her to help her nod off.
Jeremy goes off to his office to gather some items he believes might be helpful as they go to Mean Mr. Mustard's headquarters, so the Beatles talk a bit with Jude, as something is clearly bothering him. For starters, he's staring at one woman who's asleep, named Julia. We learn that Jude is very much in love with Julia, but he's been afraid to approach her at all, because unbeknownst to Pepperland at large, Mr. Mustard is his uncle, and Polythene Pam is his aunt (we don't know if his mother or father is related to either of them, other than that they're not around), and he feels guilt about being related to them, especially given recent events. Paul insists that one's relations aren't a reflection of you, but Jude is unconvinced.
Jeremy returns with a bag of stuff, which he empties out. It's a bunch of assorted junk, none of which appears to be useful in anyway. He says that he'd originally put in his half a hole that Ringo left him, but everything kept falling through it and out of the bag, so he left the half a hole behind. Ringo, however, still has his half in his pocket. Jeremy's also brought a volume with him about the history of Maxwell's Silver Hammer, which is illustrated. The Beatles read it, with the appropriate song playing. Just as we get to the chorus, instead of showing the violence in the illustrations, we cut to the Beatles' reactions to it. Jeremy explains at the conclusion that the Hammer's power can only be countered by one item, but we don't know what it is or where it is.
They embark to Mr. Mustard's headquarters, and we cut there to see Mr. Mustard enjoying the results of his use of Maxwell's Silver Hammer. All of Pepperland is dark, and the darkness will soon spread to the outlying lands. With all others sleeping, he can do as he wishes, conduct the experiments he wants, take what he wants, all without any consequence. Pam asks what he will do first, but Mustard can't really decide, as he's got so many things he's wanted to do... perhaps he'll begin by swapping people's clothing. Pam appears disappointed at this, but Mustard explains that he's been searching for the hammer for so long that he'd lost track of what he'd originally wanted to do once he'd found it and plunge everything into darkness.
Outside, the Beatles, Jude and Jeremy approach the headquarters, which resembles a castle of sorts, with walls that are out of kilter. They're about to try to sneak in when they spot a shambling figure patrolling the grounds that resembles the Frankenstein Monster superficially, especially its flat head. As the Beatles and company sneak around to avoid it, we hear “Come Together.”
Having avoided Flat-Top (the creature's name), they get to a window where they overhear Mustard and Pam talking. Pam points out that Mustard must decide what he's going to do with his power soon, before someone discovers whatever it is that could counter the power of the Hammer. Mustard says that nobody's even seen Mr. Kite's Golden Key for years and years, and that it's probably lost. Pam says the same was thought about the Hammer. Outside, the Beatles, Jeremy and Jude discuss what they've just heard. Jeremy had heard of the Key in his researches, but thought it was a myth, but Jude points out that there's a golden key in the Yellow Submarine, and wonders if that would be Mr. Kite's Golden Key. It's theorized that when the forefathers built the Submarine for Pepperland's time of need, that the Golden Key was incorporated in it to keep it safe. There's a concern about having to sneak past Flat-Top, get back to the Submarine, and get the key and return safely. Ringo points out that he's got half a hole in his pocket, and that perhaps it's connected somehow to the half a hole Jeremy left behind. If that's the case, then Jude and Jeremy can use it to travel back and retrieve the Key while the Beatles keep an eye on things. They jump in the half a hole, and while they're gone, we get to hear the medley “Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam” as they continue to look through the window. We cut between Jude and Jeremy (who find that their half a hole goes to the Sea of Holes, where they have to find the proper hole to get to Jeremy's half, having some misadventures along the way) and the Beatles, who are spotted by Mr. Mustard and Pam, and get a chase scene.
Finally, the correct hole is found to Pepperland, and the Key is brought back. Jude and Jeremy manage to toss the Key to the Beatles, and Paul catches it. “Get Back” begins, and the music seems to charge the Golden Key, which begins to glow brightly. At the choruses, a beam comes from the Key and hits first Mustard and Pam, which causes them to turn into toddlers, and finally it hits Flat-Top, turning him into a toddler as well. This gives a second chance for the three, as they can be raised from children and brought up in a way to embrace love and light. The Golden Key also destroys the Hammer. The group proceed to the dungeon, where they free the Sun King. George wonders why the Key didn't destroy the Hammer originally, but Jeremy figures that the Beatles' singing must have supercharged its powers.
The Sun King, preceded by the Beatles, Jude, Jeremy and the toddlers, walk back to Pepperland. “Sun King” starts, as the light dispels the darkness, and the Pepperland citizens wake and celebrate joyously at the return. At the end of the song, the Sun King rises back to the sky again, resuming his proper place.
All seems well, but Jude still appears to be a bit off. Paul realizes that he's still dealing with his feelings for Julia, as well as his guilt for being related to Mr. Mustard and Pam. The Beatles point out that Jude's done more than enough to make up for any accident of birth, and that he's a hero, and there's nothing to prevent him from expressing his feelings to Julia.
“Hey Jude” begins as the Beatles get him to approach Julia and talk to her. We don't hear anything he says, of course, just see his gestures. By the end of the last verse, Julia embraces and kisses him, just in time for the “na-na-na-na” portion of the song, where we fade to black and have the closing credits.