The living members of Queen worked closely on the production of Bohemian Rhapsody, but that doesn’t mean they had control over the film. Queen’s Brian May recently revealed that his favorite scene in the movie was very nearly cut for no reason beyond an attempt to reduce the film’s runtime. It seems the scene in which Freddie Mercury reveals he’s going solo was very nearly not in the movie. According to May…
It’s more than a little surprising to learn that this scene was almost cut, as it’s a really important moment in the movie. It’s the point at which the tension within Queen hits its breaking point. Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, announces to the rest of the band that he’s going to be going solo, at least for a while. The rest of the band doesn’t appreciate the decision for, among other reasons, the fact that Mercury is making more money going solo than the band has ever seen.
It is a well-done scene. Mercury knows that what he’s going to say is going to be an issue. He’s nervous about bringing it up. He had previously rejected the idea of going solo in the film. It’s not entirely clear when he changed his mind, though it’s indicated that the band’s manager, who had a personal relationship with Mercury, was a major influence on the decision.
If you take the scene out then the band never has a falling out, at least not on screen. Perhaps there was a shorter scene, maybe one with Mercury being convinced by the manager to take the solo contract, that would have replaced it. While it might have been possible to make the story work without the scene, one would think that other sequences in the movie that were less vital to the story arc would have been axed.
Brian May tells Louder that the scene was quite realistic to the real events of the conversation, which is why the band fought for the scene to stay in the film.
Whatever the reason, the scene was ultimately saved. Bohemian Rhapsody ended up with a run time of just over two hours, which is far from uncommon these days.