In the world of high school and collegiate competition film franchises, Pitch Perfect is a rare exception to the rule of their steep decline. Bring It On‘s sequels (all five of them) went straight to video with an entirely new cast; Drumline‘s belated 2014 sequel premiered on VH1; and the Step Up series rotated through enough actor that the fifth film became an “all-star” (though conspicuously Channing Tatum-free) edition. Yet, as seen in this first look at Pitch Perfect 3, the Barden Bellas continue to show remarkable consistency—and even bizarre growth.
Though the last film was set up as a passing of the torch to Hailee Steinfeld, that plan has apparently changed since Pitch Perfect 2 made over $287 million worldwide. Now, we’ve got Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and the rest of the original stars (plus Steinfeld) back together after college to compete in a USO show. It’s a strange, fairly low-stakes choice of venue for a third outing—is an America’s Got Talent-esque contest not more obvious?—but as this trailer makes clear, series writer Kay Cannon is making the most of the setting. This is the Pitch Perfect that tosses in some military action set-pieces.
Is this sequel the franchise’s first move toward doing for a capella what Fast and Furious has done for street racing? We can only hope as we imagine how awesome Pitch Per6 would be.
Pitch Perfect 3 hits theaters this Christmas.