MOST EXCELLENT EXCLUSIVE: Alex Winter Confirms ‘Bill & Ted 3′ Is On The Way!

NOTE: A big shout to @MTVMoviesBlog follower @antmaurizio for urging us to chat with Alex Winter about “Bill & Ted.”

When we spoke with Keanu Reeves at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, we learned a couple of things: one, Reeves does a killer Werner Herzog impression, and two, there’s another “Bill & Ted” movie in the works!

Lest you think that Reeves was pulling our leg, we turned to the other half of the righteous duo, Alex Winter, for further confirmation. According to the actor and director, “Bill & Ted 3″ is absolutely in development.

“We kicked around the idea over the years and had always thought if we could make something that was as kind of genuine in spirit as the originals and without falling prey to kind of retro cynicism or something that was unnecessary, it would be worth doing,” Winter told MTV’s Adam Rosenberg in an interview arranged, amusingly, via Twitter. “Now the cat’s out of the bag, and the truth is that, yeah, we have finally hit upon an idea that we think is pretty great.”

“We’ve been working on it for the past couple of years, honing that idea and getting it into shape,” he continued. “[Screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon] are working on it now. The bottom line is that we still all feel like we need to sit down and look at a script and see if it’s everything that it can be before we set about doing anything with it.”

Winter wasn’t able to divulge much about what “Bill & Ted 3″ will focus on, though he emphasized that the movie won’t be “cynical.”

“The essence of what we’ve always wanted to do is to make a ’Bill & Ted’ movie,” he said. “We don’t want to make a cynical ’here’s Bill and Ted — you guys are our kids, now YOU guys go be Bill and Ted and the franchise can live for another 25 years!’ It’s not that. It’s a straight up, what’s the funniest and most surprising take on where Bill and Ted would be right now if we stopped back in on them? That’s what we’re doing.”

One of the biggest obstacles facing the project, according to Winter, is figuring out how to deal with the absence of the late George Carlin, who famously played the time-traveling Rufus.

“We’re working our way through it right now,” said Winter. “It’s really complicated. He was such a big part of the spirit of the originals, and we’ve been trying to be clever about making a new one that can handle the Carlin issue. It’s actually stopped us in the past — why do it without Rufus? We’ve been delicate about moving around him.”

Thankfully, the thought of recasting Rufus has never even crossed Winter’s mind.

“That would be horrible,” he said. “That’s the thing about the movies — they’re personality-based. It’s Reeves’ personality when he’s doing comedy, it’s my personality and it was George’s personality. It doesn’t really work when you’re pretending that other people are those people, because there’s just not that much there [otherwise]. No, we’re definitely not going to recast Rufus.”

As for when “Bill & Ted 3″ will arrive in theaters, it’s still too early to say, though Winter certainly hopes it’s sooner rather than later.

“We would love to not be doing this when we’re 60, I’ll leave it at that,” he laughed. “That would involve some major rewrites! In all seriousness, it’s a question of when the script is done, when Reeves is free, when I’m free, and getting the whole damn thing up and running. It’s a whole process. The first thing we have to do is see if we’ve got a script that we all agree on.”

What do you think of Winter’s plans for a third “Bill & Ted” — excellent or bogus? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!