What Happened to Phil Connors After ‘Groundhog Day,’ According To Its Writer
We’re very lucky we never had to endure a Groundhog Day sequel. The massive success of the movie should have made one inevitable. Heck, the movie’s original twist ending would have given you the perfect premise for another film. For a variety of reasons, including the fact that director Harold Ramis and star Bill Murray had a falling out after the making of Groundhog Day, it never happened. That’s for the best. No perfect film should be dragged down by an inferior carbon copy, especially one about throwing off the shackles of greed and egomania and embracing your purest, best self. (There is a tangential video game sequel, for those who are interested.)
Still, it’s perfectly sensible to wonder what happened to Phil Connors after his years of endless Groundhog Days. Phil experienced thousands of February 2nds, learned to be a better man, then finally woke up on February 3. Did he maintain his perspective on the world once he didn’t know what’s going to happen at every waking moment? Or did he relapse into self-absorption and narcissism?
Although he never made an official sequel, Groundhog Day creator and co-writer Danny Rubin did reveal what happened to Phil after the film. A few years ago on his personal blog, he described Phil’s journey beyond Punxsutawney:
He had stayed on to live in that town for a while, but after multiple lifetimes in perpetual winter, Phil wanted to go to the beach. And he wanted to see more of the world, too, experience the smells and tastes, the peoples and the cultures. He played and laughed and learned and suffered, he volunteered, he started businesses. He learned to sail and spent years going every place he had ever read about, which was pretty much every place there was.
According to Rubin, Phil eventually settled “in a beautiful corner of the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico” after realizing “being around people wasn’t as desirable as spending time alone with his thoughts and the simple things he wanted to keep around him.” Interestingly, Phil’s love interest in Groundhog Day, Rita, is never mentioned by name in this entire post; it appears that they broke up somewhere along the way.
Phil did receive guests at his home in the mountains, where he fielded questions like “How many days were you stuck in the time loop?” and “What’s Bill Murray really like?” He would try to answer them as best he could but, (and here Rubin is quoting “Phil”) “The truth is most people are looking for answers from someone who can just tell them and get it over with.”
So there you have it: Phil Connors, reluctant New Mexican guru. Sounds about right.
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