After it was announced earlier this month that actor Kal Penn had left the TV series "House" to accept a position as an associate director in the White House's Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, most assumed that seriously derailed any chance of a third installment of the popular "Harold and Kumar" franchise. After HitFix spoke to Penn's co-star, John Cho at the press day for "Star Trek" last week, that may not be the case.
"I don't know what's happening. I really don't know where we are. There were some plans," Cho says.
He then adds, however, "There were some talks and obviously there was a delay, but I don't know if the project is dead."
Cho seems to be leaving a window open to return to the buddy series that broke ground for its depictions of American minorities in a major studio comedy. As the tightly wound Harold, Cho joined Penn, who played the laid back stoner Kumar, on two wild and crazy road trips across the country (well, the production friendly state of Louisiana at least).
The first film, 2004's "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" was somewhat of a disappointment when it made only $18 million domestically, but it surprised naysayers by becoming a huge hit on DVD and cable. New Line took a chance and struck gold when they brought the franchise back in 2007 with "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," a sequel that made $38 million on a miniscule $12 million budget. After that success, the Warner Bros. division announced a third picture was in development, but without Penn in the fold that might be difficult to pull off. Based on Cho's response, he isn't ready to close the door on the franchise yet.
Penn, who was busy campaigning for President Obama during the publicity tour for "Guantanamo" last year, was so committed to his new position that he asked to be written out of the hit TV series "House" so he could begin as early as possible. One thing is for sure, there is certainly no going back to that show as the producers had his character commit suicide.
Happily for Cho, he has a new franchise on the horizon. The former "American Wedding" star takes over the iconic role of Sulu in "Star Trek." Look for more from Cho on joining the crew of the starship Enterprise on HitFix.
Watch Cho speak about a new "Harold and Kumar" below.