Could director Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy become a quadrilogy? Ethan Hawke, who has starred in all three films with Julie Delpy, teased the possibility of another installment — but it’ll be a while before a decision is made.

“I would have said after the second there was definitely going to be a third one, but I do feel complete in that the first one starts with the older couple arguing on the train, and by the end of the third one, we’ve become that couple,” Hawke told The Independent of the journey from 1995’s Before Sunrise to 2013’s Before Midnight. “If it were to continue, it would change shape. It would be something else.”

Before Sunrise began the relationship between Celine (Delpy), a French woman, and Jesse (Hawke), an American man, as they strolled through Vienna. Their story continued in the 2004 Oscar-nominated film Before Sunset, which saw them in Paris. After a cliff-hanger, cinephiles picked up with the couple again in Greece, but the ending of Before Midnight saw Celine and Jesse in the throes of an emotionally jarring hotel fight.

Before Midnight (2013)Julie Delpy as Celine and Ethan Hawke as Jesse
Credit: Despina Spyrou/Sony Pictures Classics

“People often think that because people are fighting, something bad is happening, and often times the opposite is true,” Hawke said. “If I look back at my own life and I see the most hurtful, scratchiest parts, those are the parts where the most growing had happened. At the end of Before Midnight, I have a lot of hope for Jesse and Celine because at least they’re not living a lie; they’re engaged with each other. It’s a hard relationship, for sure, but I see a lot of love in that movie.”

Hawke believes Jesse “has more hope than Celine does” in the end and is “clearly invested in that relationship, and he’s clearly invested in loving that woman.” He added, “Her problems are stronger and I think more developmental…I relate to it, and I don’t see it without a lot of hope.”

Linklater told EW in a February interview, “No one’s ruling out a quadrilogy or sextology or whatever. We just don’t know.” Hawke reiterated the possibility of another sequel, but explained how they only really discuss that potential five years after the last installment — a tradition he’s maintained with Linklater throughout their career.

“Julie, Rick, and I might work together again, we might revisit those characters, but it’ll need a new burst of energy,” Hawke said. “I don’t know what it is. We’re not allowed to think about it until five years after — that’s how we’ve done it every time. Waking Life was five years after Before Sunrise, and Before Midnight we met five years after Before Sunset. So we’re gonna meet five years after the release of Before Midnight, talk about it, and see where we wind up.”

Before Midnight
  • Movie
  • 108 minutes