The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone director Francis Ford Coppola responded to a question about whether or not he would be interested in making The Godfather Part IV.
Coppola answered on Instagram writing, “In my mind there is only 1 film [known] as The Godfather (Parts I and II) and an epilogue or ‘Coda’ The Death of Michael Corleone.”
Coppola recently released Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone during the release of The Godfather Part III’s 30th anniversary back in 2020. This film is a newly released restoration of the original film with new edits.
He explained to Vanity Fair, “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is an acknowledgment of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became The Godfather: Part III.”
He added, “For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II and I’m thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it.”
Coppola had previously informed Deadline that he wanted to use Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone when he first made the film, but was overridden by executives at Paramount.
He said, “I want to use a title I tried to but wasn’t allowed to, one that came from Mario Puzo. It’s Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. But ‘coda’ means epilogue. In other words, you got part one and part two and then the epilogue.”
Coppola went on to speculate why Paramount executives did not like the title, “They probably wanted a Godfather IV and V. There’s a cut I want to make that would be 14 minutes shorter. Usually, I go back and make them longer. This would be effective, and it makes the ending break your heart.”
He went on to explain why he wanted to revisit the film, “All I know is maybe I’m older, maybe I’m more circumspect. I want to show Sofia a new version, because she is so beautiful in it and so touching. She wasn’t an actress. But she was the real thing, playing that 19-year-old Italian girl in love with her own cousin.”
“Godfather III as The Death of Michael Corleone is doubly painful because at the end he doesn’t die but he does worse than die. He loses everything he loves—and he lives. There are certain things in life that are worse than death,” he added.
Based on Coppola’s answer it does not appear that he has any intention of making The Godfather Part IV, but he noted that Paramount executives wanted to potentially continue the series back in the late 80s and early 90s when Godfather Part III was being made.
It’s possible that they could revisit the franchise in the future, but it would more than likely be without Coppola. In fact, in an interview at the Berlin Film Festival in 1990 promoting Godfather Part III, Coppola noted how he didn’t want to return to the franchise for the third film, but came back because Paramount wanted to do a third film.
He said, “When I said I didn’t want to do it was also because I didn’t know how to do it. I thought it was finished and it’s like, well, what will it be about, how do you do it? Then I started to hear they were going to other directors and I heard, ‘Oh this director is doing with Sylvester Stallone and this one John Travolta.’
“And It’s like when you have an ex-girlfriend, you hear about her and you say, ‘Well, I don’t care.’ But you do care,” he continued. “I wish they would just leave it alone and let it be finished and not have to get me jealous or possessive of it, which I came a little bit.”
As part of the same Instagram Q&A he also responded to a question from Diane Keaton about why he cast her as Kay Adams in the films.
Coppola explained, “I chose you, because although you were to play the more straight/vanilla wife, there was something more about you, deeper, funnier, and very interesting. ( I was right) I was invited by Fred Astaire to accompany him to see HAIR which he couldn’t make ‘hide nor hair’ out of. You were in it, and I remember your beautiful singing voice.”
What do you make of Francis Ford Coppola’s comments about a potential Godfather Part IV?