News that a sequel to "Casablanca" is under very serious consideration is not the bad news here. Yes, of course, there is the natural kneejerk reaction of adversely responding to news that a legendary and nearly perfectly realized work of art is going to be tampered with and probably by some of those least qualified to do so. Then you calm down and realize that even though "Casablanca" may be nearly perfect, that's no excuse for refusing to make a movie if a great story is there to be told.
And now we get to the bad news.
If you are going to make a sequel to "Casablanca" then it is incumbent upon you to justify your leap of faith by finding within the original the single best untold story available. Reports indicate that the planned sequel will take place twenty years after Ilsa flies off in that plane and Rick and Louis head off to establish to a beautiful friendship in their dual acceptance that the world of the 1940s was no place to cling to an outdated notion like isolationism.
The screenplay does fill in some very gaps of information about what might have taken place, however. For one thing, apparently Rick and Ilsa did not completely shut down the passion in light of the reappearance of Ilsa's husband's surprising return from the dead. A love child has been conceived in the reignition of the flame and his name is Richard. Richard is adopted by Victor and learns that not only was his step-father a hero of World War II, but so was his biological father. And so the hunt begins for Richard to learn more about Rick Blaine, the man who once famously took the position of sticking his neck out for nobody only to learn that such a political perspective was no way for a real man to live in the face of the fascist tide.
The greatness of "Casablanca" is inextricably linked to its position as probably the most artistically satisfying piece of political propaganda in cinematic history. Every single scene in "Casablanca" exists to underline, define and unite the overriding theme of the folly of isolationism in the new order of geopolitics of the 20th century. Every scene is structured to propel the narrative forward to the awakening of Rick Blaine's political consciousness.
Clearly, then, if you are going to engender immediate outrage by announcing that you plan to make a sequel to "Casablanca" then you should try to do everything possible to temper that outrage by revealing that you intuitively understand that the most solid foundation for continuing the narrative is to follow the them. All we know for sure at the end of "Casablanca" is that Rick and Captain Renault have both experienced an ideological epiphany that was the result of two very disparate but equally circuitous routes.
The only possible story to tell in a sequel to "Casablanca" if you want to avoid merely replicating what has been told before is to follow Rick and Louis on their journey in which their fresh embrace of political theory is put to the test of cold, harsh political reality. To get an idea of how this second act might go, watch "Tarzan Triumphs" which positions Tarzan as an ideological counterpoint to Rick Blaine. The difference being that "Tarzan Triumphs" shows Tarzan not only rejecting isolationism in theory, but in practice.
As for Ilsa?
You must remember this: she chose Victor. Let them have their own sequel.
For more from Timothy Sexton, Yahoo!'s first Writer of the Year, check out:"Casablanca": One of the Great Metaphorical Films of All Time