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What is the appeal of trilogies?

Why do so many books and movies come in threes? Blade, Austin Powers, Scream, The Hunger Games Trilogy… the list goes on for ages, regardless of genre. Is this just the perfect number of books or movies that are needed to wrap something up?

  • Nice topic. The writer should also consider looking beyond the formal and technical aspects of trilogies and examine the historical antecedents of contemporary trilogies. There might even be some value in discussing ancient Greek plays that came in three and ancient Indian epics whose three-part structures were prototypical versions of modern books and films. – IsidoreIsou 7 years ago
  • There's an opportunity to take this topic in a number of interesting directions. The writer may consider exploring "omne trium perfectum" or the "rule of three" used in writing, comedy, fairy tales, rhetoric, poems etc... Why is it that things that come in three are more satisfying? Does this have any connection with trilogies being as common as they are? On a different note, maybe trilogies are created by certain economic demands–maybe they represent the perfect balance between "maximum number of works required to generate maximum profit" and "artistic quality and integrity." These are just random ideas. – IsidoreIsou 7 years ago
  • Three has been such a significant number throughout history (the 3 major gods, the holy trinity, etc), that I think we are hardwired to find appeal in the number 3. It's fascinating, and could be a very interesting psychological investigation – MHayman 7 years ago
  • Would love to read about this. Three is used everywhere and sometimes we don't even realize it. Is it just visually or mentally appealing? Or [enter your question] is it just the perfect number? – madigoldman 7 years ago
  • Historical and symbolic reasons aside, there also has to be a modern day marketing reason behind the rise of the YA trilogy in particular, at this point. Trilogies are hot, they sell, and they sell more than one book. I bet if you looked, you could find sources supporting the fact that publishers are looking for trilogies and pushing authors to use a three book format. – ealohr 7 years ago
  • Could it be that it's rooted in three-act structure? — I've never thought about it before, but that comes to mind. – Benjamin Brandall 7 years ago