Twenty years after the original film debuted, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is now in production. Filming on location in Greece for the first time, the film has already garnered significant excitement not just within the Greek community, but in the world of romantic-comedy fans everywhere.
Expectations are high for the third film, especially since reactions were much more mixed on the sequel than they were regarding the first film. While the cast of the first two films has remained markedly the same despite the large size of the central Portokalos family, there are definitely some characters the third film needs to bring back more than it does others.
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In both My Big Fat Greek Wedding films, Mike (Ian Gomez, filmmaker Nia Vardalos’s ex-husband) is a relatively minor character, but he nevertheless contributes in a meaningful way. It’s only because Mike invites Ian to join him for a meal at Dancing Zorba’s restaurant that Ian and Toula ever meet, setting in motion the titular wedding.
Mike also progresses in the franchise from being Ian’s best friend and coworker to actually becoming part of the extended family by marrying one of Toula’s cousins. Although Gomez and Nia Vardalos have separated in real life since the second movie was released, it would still be nice to see Mike appear in the third film.
It’s hard to single out any particular character in this franchise as the main source of comic relief, because so many of them are hilarious in different ways. But Cousin Nikki (Gia Carides) provides some of the most ribald humor in the franchise, which is always good for an unexpected laugh.
In the current state of the franchise, Nikki is running her own beauty salon and, surprisingly, not paired off with any major character just yet. The third film could certainly wrap this storyline up nicely, since it seems unthinkable for any character in this universe of conventional marriage plots to not get their own.
Another reliable supporting player in the franchise is Uncle Taki (Gerry Mendicino), Aunt Voula’s husband and father of both Cousin Nikki and Cousin Angelo. He is a more conventional older Greek man, much in the way that Gus Portokalos always was, which would make him a natural choice for filling the now sadly vacant elder patriarch role.
With the sad news of Michael Constantine’s passing in 2021, My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s central family dynamics will feel fundamentally different as the family functions for the first time without Gus. This would be a good way to give Taki a more substantial role, as he steps up to help the family through this difficult time.
Given the passage of time between the first and second films, which were released 14 years apart, it is somewhat surprising to see the once childish Nick Portokalos (Louis Mandylor) as a consummate family man, husband, and father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
But it would be another natural progression of the franchise, and for the nature of ever-changing family dynamics in such a large family, to also have Nick step up as the new Portokalos patriarch. He might still be the goofy little brother in Toula’s eyes, but as the next male in line in the family, the traditional Greek culture of the family would certainly look to him to step up in a big way.
Perhaps the character with the most transformative arc across both films in the Big Fat Greek franchise so far, other than Toula, is none other than Joey Fatone’s Cousin Angelo. In the first film, Angelo is a completely immature young man and a womanizer with no real direction in life other than causing trouble with Nick and terrorizing his sister Nikki.
In the second film, however, Angelo is a changed man, running a few businesses with a man named Patrick who, as it turns out, is his life partner, too. His coming-out scene makes for one of the most moving moments in the second film, and while the wedding in the third film is not Angelo’s and Patrick’s, hopefully his character journey and their relationship still take a prominent role.
There are many iconic characters within the world of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but Andrea Martin’s Aunt Voula is quite easily one of the franchise’s best and most hilarious. Across both films, Voula doesn’t get to do much in terms of develop as a character, since she is quite set in her ways as a proud Greek woman and businesswoman.
She is always ready and willing to offer advice and opinions, even when no one wants to hear them. With yet another wedding on the horizon in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, it’s not hard to imagine Voula once again stepping into wedding planner mode, and sharing more incredibly embarrassing stories in the process.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding might be a romantic comedy at its heart, but the third film in the series will undoubtedly provide Maria Portokalos (Lainie Kazan) with some of the most heartbreaking and moving material yet in the series. As the franchise will presumably be forced to incorporate Michael Constantine’s passing by writing in that Maria’s husband Gus has passed, Maria will be the head of the family for the first time on her own.
This change of her world order will likely present a real challenge to the otherwise unflappable Maria, who had only just recently renewed her wedding vows with Gus in 2016’s sequel. Now, even with her granddaughter’s own wedding on the horizon, Maria will undoubtedly receive much of the narrative focus, and rightly so.
Though he was once an outsider to the Portokalos family, Ian Miller (John Corbett) has gradually blended seamlessly into this extended, larger-than-life family. Semi-fluent in Greek and proudly claiming Greek heritage as his own in many ways, Ian is now the head of his own family, and the father of the bride, just like Gus was before him.
It will be exciting to see how Paris’s upcoming wedding will change him, and whether he approves of the man Paris has chosen to marry. Further, it will undoubtedly bring up many mixed emotions for him if he is forced to reckon with how Gus may have felt when he was hesitant to accept him into the family, now that Gus is no longer here.
What started with Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) could never end without her – that is, if My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 even is the end for this franchise. This series has always been Toula’s story at its core, even as it has covered other relationships and key character journeys. The story is always told through Toula’s lens, and characters are always defined through their relations to her, too.
Now, as the matriarch of the Portokalos-Miller family and the mother of the soon-to-be-wed Paris, Toula will have to confront what it means to be the mother accepting that her daughter has grown up. It was hard enough for her to accept Paris going away for college, after all. How will she react to Paris getting married and potentially moving away again?
While My Big Fat Greek Wedding has always told the story of Toula and Ian’s romance, if the franchise has a future beyond this third film, it’s possible that there will need to be a passing of the Greek torch from one generation to the next. Since My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is reportedly about the wedding of Paris Miller (Elena Kampouris), she is clearly the character with whom the future of the franchise lies.
In My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Paris was a high-school senior facing a world away from her loving yet overbearing Greek family for the first time. Now she gets to retrace her own mother’s journey as she has her own wedding. Will she marry a fellow Greek, or will she follow in her mother’s footsteps and marry, as Gus referred to Ian, a xeno? Either option would provide rich storytelling opportunities and give Paris her time to shine.
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