Actor Alan Rickman was one of the many talented stars who passed away in 2016. Which poses a question for the upcoming Red Nose Actually short — will the Love Actually sequel honor Alan Rickman? The 10-minute short, which drops in March as part of the Comic Relief Red Nose Day fundraiser, is being penned by Richard Curtis (who directed and wrote the 2003 movie) and boasts most of the original cast. Besides which, Curtis described his motivation for making the short as, "I thought it might be fun to do 10 minutes to see what everyone is now up to."
Since Rickman's character, Harry, was one of the lead roles, it would be hard to avoid following up on his storyline. Even beyond narrative logistics, wouldn't it make sense for Curtis to use the opportunity to pay tribute to Rickman? Shortly after Rickman passed away, Curtis spoke movingly to The Guardian about Rickman's talent as an actor. He told the publication,
Clearly, Curtis was a genuine fan of Rickman's work, which would suggest he might want to use the public platform to remember him. There is, however, one overarching issue. As we learned from Curtis' partner, Emma Freud, tweeting during a midnight viewing of Love Actually in December 2015, Rickman and Emma Thompson's characters were supposed to stay together, not get divorced.
@JPerlstrom they stay together but home isn't as happy as it once was.— emma freud (@emmafreud) December 13, 2015
So, here's the dilemma: Thompson has not been confirmed for the Love Actually sequel. An obvious way for the cast to have paid tribute to Rickman would've been to have handled the actor's death much like how the Gilmore Girls Netflix reboot handled the passing of Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore — by having the character die in the show and his fictional family mourn him. This was a way of having the actors express their very real sorrow toward someone special's passing, while still fitting those feelings into the fictional universe.
But given Thompson's absence, it's hard to imagine how the 10-minute comic short might pay tribute to Rickman. Constructing a reason for his on-screen wife's non-appearance, and then Rickman also not being there, sounds too complicated. As such, while a tribute to Rickman is something fans may want, as long as Thompson is not billed to return it seems unlikely.