Sequels

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Do We Always Need to Know What's Next?

The media loves sequels. Name almost any popular action, animated, or other movie from the last decade and you can pretty much bet it has a sequel or is getting one this year. The same is true for television shows. For example, Fuller House serves as a sequel to Full House, although it’s something of a reboot, too. Books that were not meant as series also get sequels. The wildly popular Wonder (a personal fave) has some short story sequels from the POV of other characters besides Auggie.

Sequels are great, and there’s obviously a huge market for them. But do we always need them? That is, do we always need or want to know what’s next, or can we be content to let characters live happily ever after, as it were? What about writing our own sequels – besides being a ton of fun, do fanfictions and headcanons fill some sort of creative void? Discuss.

  • I like this, so long as the focus is on the creative merits of sequels, rather than a look at the financial incentives to produce them. The two are inexorably linked, but the latter topic has sort of been done to death. – John Wilson 3 years ago
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  • The media loves sequels? No! The production companies love sequels to swell their bloated bank accounts and, in my opinion, have been (and still are) guilty of pumping out any old garbage because they know there are fans who are desperate for more and so will even accept something that doesn't come up to the originality and/or quality of the first. Conversely, I have no problem with genuine sequels taken from source, or imaginatively created sequels that stay true to and further explore the world of the first, but when we get to the point where a James Bond sequel is based on an idea based on a novel that Bond happened to be reading in one of the original books, I despair! It also makes me wonder why some fans of a certain film or TV series can't simply accept that the story ends here - why do they need a continuance? One example I can use is a You Tube comment in response to the 2012 anime film 'Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki' (released in the West as 'Wolf Children'); she wanted to know what happened next. Why? The story is complete as it is and had she been paying attention to the story then she would have understood that there is no need for a sequel. – Amyus 3 years ago
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What Makes a Sequel Worth Telling?

Sequels are almost always what follow a successful film but what actually makes a sequel as good or better than the original? Everyone’s seen a sequel that they thought was either an obvious step down from the original or didn’t have a real reason to exist but a sequel that surpasses or keeps up with its previous iteration are much rarer. So what are the factors that actually make the story in a sequel story worth telling? Obviously if the production is good then you could make a case for it but what narrative factors influence the worth of a sequel being told? And what are the unique characteristics of those sequels that did actually surpass their originals? What made them great?

  • I think this is a good discussion topic, especially seeing all the new sequels coming out. Could you give some examples to help narrow down the discussion? – birdienumnum17 3 years ago
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  • I would say some really good ones to talk about would be the Harry Potter series, Hunger games, Divergent series and Fast and Furious. These are the ones I could think of from the top of my head :) – claraaa 3 years ago
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  • You're right I should have included some examples. The specific upcoming films that gave me the idea were actually Blade Runner 2049 and the new Pirates of the Caribbean. I think these would be good to talk about as the latter will probably fall into the "doesn't need to exist" category while the former could really go either way (I have unrealistically high hopes.) – JakeV 3 years ago
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  • I think this question is also applicable to book and television series.The largest draw for me to continue on with the sequel is if I find the main characters' stories unfinished. If readers or the audience are only there for compelling characters they genuinely care about, and those characters have "completed their arc" so to speak, there isn't really much motivation to pick up the sequel (in my opinion) where in most cases, are sustained through the introduction of new characters and less-than-spectacular plots that sometimes mar the main characters' consistency and lack purpose. What is the point in writing this sequel? (Perhaps for commercial purposes/ entertainment value if the first book/movie/season is well-received?) (I guess this wasn't so much a "helpful note" as it was an opinion. Apologies!) – autumnlights 3 years ago
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  • You could also look at Blade Runner 2049 and the new seasons of The X Files and Twin Peaks and Prison Break that have come out decades after the original. Isn't there a reason there wasn't a Blade Runner sequel in the 80s - and a reason all those shows were cancelled? – sophievannan 3 years ago
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  • My primary reason to watch a sequel is, did the characters make me say, "I want to see what happens to them next?" Did they make me say, "I miss/want to spend more time with these people?" If not, then it's likely I won't watch that sequel. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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  • If you run out of examples, you could even expand on this and talk about the modern remakes they're doing of movies. What makes these new elements worth telling? Doesn't the original stand on it's own? – Dani 3 years ago
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  • I think this is a more interesting discussion in the context of stories that didn't specifically set out to be a series. My favourite example is Toy Story. Toy Story 2 is a great movie and many would say better than the first. What makes it a sequel worth watching? It doesn't directly continue the story of the first film, instead it presents the characters with new challenges that build on the growth seen in the first film. – MarcoMorgan 3 years ago
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The effect of time between subsequent installments on film franchisees

Pirates of the Carribean 2 and 3 were shot back-to-back and released soon one after the other. This is something which James Cameron is also attempting with his Avatar sequels. On the other hand, there was a gap of 59 years between the two installments of Disney’s Fantasia. Analyse the various effect the timing between episodes has on aspects like the box office prospects of the films taking into consideration factors like brand recall and set production costs.

  • I think the effect speaks to the creative principle behind the theme. In Pirates, you have the right actor, the necessary chemistry, and a setting that lends itself to dynamic rehashing of plot. Some which of pertain to other cinematic marvels, Tron, for instance; the same which could be said. But, why drown the audience in Tron revivals when the original accomplished what films are expected to accomplish: take the imagination to new and unrealistic frontiers, time and again, without the need for props and people. When the Tron sequel eventually emerged, it was nearly messianic in its prophetic second coming, to the delight of its loyal cult following. This is going to be a worthwhile literary examination, part of which I have only scratched the surface of--looking forward to it. – lofreire 3 years ago
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  • I say if you're going to do installments, space them out reasonably. A gap of 59 years is too long, because by then the original product has already aged too much. People are more inclined to hate the new installment on sight because it's not the old one. Or, they go the other way and give the new installment so much praise, the old one is forgotten. In a series like Pirates, you have to watch spacing of releases so people can keep up. The more episodic your series, the harder it may be for "newcomers" to catch up and keep up. Well-spaced releases, say 2-4 years apart, keep the series audience-friendly. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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Is there an 80's Renaissance happening?

With the release of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Ghostbusters (2016), Alien: Covenant (2017) and Blade Runner: 2049 (2017) to name a few examples, are we seeing a revival of 80’s nostalgia in film? Perhaps it is merely Hollywood cashing in on established titles?

  • I am from the 80s and this topic is scaring me. Movies today are waaaaay better. – Munjeera 3 years ago
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  • I often complain about how Hollywood are struggling to come up with original content, not forgetting that Child's Play and Beetlejuice (both 1988 films) will have new sequels released this year. It was a decade of great films, though, and I wouldn't be entirely opposed to an 80s Renaissance. – nikkileelucas 3 years ago
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The Sequel Syndrome

With most major franchises releasing timelines of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs years in advance, it has become increasingly obvious that sequels are a fast way to create interest and reap box office revenue. However, it has also become increasingly obvious that many movie-goers are tired of this industry tactic, and have called for a return to original content. Discuss the relationship between a sequel being successful, and of it being necessary/wanted by the public.

  • Sequels aren't inherently bad, but they can be abused. It really comes down to loyalty and attachment. Does the Star Wars prequel and sequel trilogies need to exist? No, but because so many people are invested in the universe and the characters, they'll keep making Star Wars movies. The same can be applied to any successful movie franchise. The only ways a sequel won't get made is if the movie does awful or the creative team makes a bold decision not to make another one, even if it means losing out on profits. – MarkSole 4 years ago
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  • This topic would benefit from market analysis, though I imagine your quality of "being necessary/wanted" will be hard to quantify if that's not tied to box office revenue. – Kevin 4 years ago
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  • Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, and the list goes on. There is no way that any of these movies would have the same impact without their sequels. I can definitely see your point, that some sequels are just cash tactics, but the great many seem to make sense to the story. – MikeySheff 4 years ago
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  • One interesting angle you might pursue: Who determines which movies get a sequel, and who should be determining that? For example, Hollywood decided Despicable Me should get two sequels plus a Minions movie, but did the original movie warrant it? What makes content good enough for we as consumers to say, "I want more?" And why (besides the almighty dollar) does the media refuse to listen to what consumers want? – Stephanie M. 4 years ago
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When Does A Film Series Officially Overstay Its Welcome?

With the recent unveiling of a teaser along with the name of the latest installment in the Transformers franchise (The Last Knight), it could be stated that enough is enough for these chronicles of the "robots in disguise." But with numerous sequels already written and in the works and well-over $3 billion raked in despite increasingly poor reviews, when does it become undeniably apparent the a film series needs to end? Should it always come down to the bottom line and fans voting with their dollars, or should studios recognize when a story has stopped evolving.

  • Nice idea for a topic. There are definitely film franchises that have overstayed their welcome, and the ever-popular book-to-movie series is starting to feel that way as well. It seems studios put so much effort into the first one, and then are lazy with the remaining entries in the series. The ideology in their mind, of course, is that since there are X more entries in the series, Y people will come to see them regardless. I feel like it's that way with Transformers, there are die-hard Transformers fans who acknowledge the series sucks, but they still show up to the theater when a new one comes out in the vain hope that this one will be better. – Nayr1230 4 years ago
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  • I thought similarly with the newest Xmen film, when the reality set in that the movies were no longer inherently about story telling but making as many movies and sequels as possible. I think it would also be interesting to also talk about movies that do not get continued in light of this need to continue franchising blockbuster movies. For example, the American versions of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was an amazing movie with a high fan base where all the actors want to continue to be in, however the studios do not want to make a direct sequel to the movie because they don't believe it can the blockbuster they want it to be. – HPenniman 4 years ago
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Creating Sequels as the Audience Ages

A lot of movies create sequels that take place years after the original, but do some match the times with the ages of the audiences? Toy Story and Monster’s Inc. are good examples of movies with what seems to be time sensitive sequels. While everyone enjoyed Toy story, it was meant to be a movie for younger children when it first came out. By the time the third one came out, Andy was grown up and leaving for college. This was the same for a lot of the original children who watched the first Toy Story. Did Disney do this on purpose?

  • Actually, I think it is done on purpose. I think it is being consistent on how long it takes them to draw or computer animate a movie and they want children and adult alike to feel as though they still have some connection within the movie. However, in the Toy Story movie, the only thing that is accurate as far as time and age is Andy was 10 years old when the 1999 movie came out. However, with the time frame of 1999-2010 Andy should at be 21 years old instead of 17. I don't know why he couldn't be 21 when the movie came out, but I guess they didn't want to promote his college days to much... – Dreamersleepy 5 years ago
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