Movie prequels - Does it matter that you know the ending?

Movie prequels have become increasingly more popular. Are they simply a cash-grab and do we need them? When you already know the outcome of a movie, do you even care? Do screenwriters have to work harder when writing a prequel in order to make the audience "forget" that the end is predetermined? Do we even need prequels? Is there a need to have an explanation for every tiny reference that was made in a previous movie? The Star Wars franchise is one of the biggest examples of this trend. Another franchise that comes to mind is Underworld. The third Underworld movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, was a prequel. Do prequels have to work harder to make us care? Or do we need them because we care too much about those characters?

  • I like this topic a lot! I've avoided watching prequel movies for this reason. I don't personally feel like they can offer a lot to the overall story if everything is well-established in the original movies. I suppose further character development can be achieved through prequels (i.e. how Darth Vader came to be, or Han Solo's backstory) but at the same time, a part of me doesn't necessarily care *how* Han Solo came to be the pilot of the Millennium Falcon, for example. I think prequels are sometimes a burden on the original stories, especially if they retcon or change traits or facts we know about characters. – Karen 6 years ago
  • I think prequels do have to work harder to create interest. I do, however, think Rogue 1 was one of the best prequels I've ever seen and is one of my favorites in the Star Wars franchise, even though I knew how it would end. The movie actually helped me appreciate Star Wars and what went behind getting the plans to the Death Star. Perhaps compare this to one that didn't do so well? I'm not hearing great things about the Hans Solo movie though I haven't seen it yet. – tclaytor 6 years ago
  • I'd just be wary when looking into Star Wars since yes, it is prequel-ception that helped boost the franchise into popularity, but Star Wars also have books, games, tv cartoon series, and comics that play into the overall canon of the universe. For instance, in the new Han Solo prequel, they actually based it on a Star Wars book and -- trying to not give away any spoilers -- they validated what happened in the Rebel animated series, therefore making it official canon. I think an interesting angle could also be the Marvel universe. Arguably, the hero 'trilogy' films are 'prequels' for the larger Avengers films as most Avenger characters don't appear until their solo-films have been released. – Pamela Maria 6 years ago
  • I think prequels are fun, because it creates the potential for world building. I agree with tclaytor about Rogue One. Yes, we know how it ends, but we got to see what lead to it happening rather than just hearing about it in passing. Prequels explore lore not previously seen in the source material. Another good example is The Hobbit. It tells the story of how Bilbo Baggins got the One Ring, but it also works just as well as a stand-alone story. – RebaZatz 6 years ago

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account