There is a saying that is never actually said in Hollywood, but should be said more often: the best films are the ones you don’t make. We’ve all heard of some really weird film concepts that never actually got the green light. Yeah, they may have been terrible but no one would really care. If they suck, they suck. They don’t bother us. But when you’re talking about film sequels, you’re now talking about things people do care about.
There’s an argument to be made that once a film has left the hands of its creator it belongs to the people. Obviously this doesn’t refer to financial or legal ownership, but intellectually the film and the interpretations of the film belong to the people. When you create a sequel to a film, you’re adding to the mythos of that film’s world. You’re taking a risk of ruining or harming the original piece in the eyes of the public. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the game you play.
Now, there’s a school of thought that says if you don’t like a sequel just ignore it, but that’s easier said than done. A really terrible sequel can completely tarnish the original. It can answer questions in a way that you never wanted to see or hear, or it can develop a character further than what was necessary or in a terrible direction; it can do any number of things. All sequels, whether they want to or not, replace images from our imaginations with the images within their runtime. This can be good or bad. For every Terminator 2 there’s a Caddyshack II; for every Godfather II, there’s a Godfather III. It’s a tricky bet that doesn’t always pay off. Yet, for all the terrible sequels out there that have been made, there are many that, thankfully, never made the cut. These are the proposed sequels that were so stupid that even if they were guaranteed to make money, Hollywood decided against them. Here are 15 strange movie sequels that almost got made.
15. ET 2: Nocturnal Fears
In the months after the release and the monumental success of E.T. the Extraterrestrial, the studios asked Steven Spielberg to get going on a sequel. Since E.T. was originally spawned from a darker alien concept (Night Skies), Spielberg pitched the idea of making the sequel a much darker movie than the original. This proposed sequel would have an albino faction of E.T.-like aliens come down to answer the distress signal. These carnivorous evil aliens would terrorize Elliot’s family and the neighborhood, catching Elliot and torturing him a bit, but, worst of all, this movie would have terrorized everyone’s childhood. If Spielberg never came to his senses, E.T. 2 would have ruined everything that E.T. had built. Thanks Stevie, good looking out.
After the conclusion of Se7en, directed by David Fincher, most wouldn’t ever think that a sequel would be possible. Well, they would be wrong because Hollywood had big plans. They went out and found a script that featured a psychic doctor helping the FBI (Morgan Freeman) catch a serial killer. If you’re wondering what this has to do with Se7en, you’re just joining the party. The seven in Se7en had to do with the seven deadly sins. What in the world does the eight have to do with anything? When Fincher was approached about the film, he told the studios he would rather have cigarettes put out on his eyeballs rather than direct that pile of manure. If you’re wondering whatever happened to said pile, it was eventually made into another film. It’s called Solace with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell, and it’s just as bad as its basic premise would suggest.
13. Mrs. Doubtfire 2
Right up until Robin Williams‘ untimely death, there was some serious on and off talks about making a sequel to the 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire. The plot was to surround the stalker, Mrs. Doubtfire, moving closer to his/her daughter, Lydia, to keep an eye on her. Williams apparently nixed the project several times because the script was unsatisfactory, but it’s said that at the time of his death, the film was a real possibility. Wow. Mrs. Doubtfire was a good flick, but c’mon, that type of obsessive behaviour just isn’t as funny today as it was in ’93. If the film was made in 2015, say, Williams wouldn’t even need to wear prosthetics, just a wig and lipstick and he would have made the grade.
12. Forrest Gump 2: Gump & Co
When the script for Forrest Gump 2: Gump & Co was submitted to the studios, it looked like it was primed and ready to go. The sequel would focus on the 1990s and have Forrest go through similar major world events like dancing with Princess Diana, dismantling of the Berlin Wall, being present during the Oklahoma City Bombing and even running from the police with O.J. Simpson. If this sounds like it would be too stupid to be made, you’d be wrong. There was only one thing that stopped this from getting the green light. The script was sent in on an early day in September, 2001. After the events of 9/11 took place, the filmmakers decided that the world had changed too much and the film was no longer relevant.
In 1988, the world was gifted with the wonderful buddy comedy, Twins, starring Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well it wouldn’t be for another 24 years that a sequel concept would be pitched, obviously named Triplets. This potential sequel has been put on hold indefinitely, but the Arnold is way too excited about it. To hear him discuss it, the film is actually the greatest idea ever. This time, instead of two long-lost, separated-at-birth brothers, they find out there’s a third brother and this time he’s black (Eddie Murphy). In the film, the two brothers need to find Eddie to ensure they can cash in on their mother’s will, which is entirely meta because the entire world has been wondering where the hell Eddie Murphy went.
10. Cliffhanger 2: The Dam
After the success of the good but ridiculous 1993 film, Cliffhanger, the studios were hard after Sylvester Stallone to do a sequel, something Stallone, a sequel king, was on-board with. The proposed sequel had to do with Stallone cliffhanging his way to fix up a weakening dam (damhanging?), which threatened the populations around it. If you’re drawing a movie-quality image of this concept in your mind, it’s probably because it’s similar to the 1996 Stallone film, Daylight, but instead of a tunnel it’s a dam. Well, talks subsided, but, even as recently as 2015, Stallone has gone on record saying he still wants to do this. Please don’t.
9. Batman: Unchained
The worst thing that has ever happened and could ever happen to Batman is to let Joel Schumacher touch the franchise. Armed with a camera focused on crotch shots, costume nipples and a neon magic marker, Schumacher did his darndest to eliminate any shred of decency the Dark Knight ever had. Yet, even after the debacles that were Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, Hollywood was actually planning on letting this guy do a third Batman film. The film in mind would feature the Scarecrow and the Joker (in hallucination form only), as well as Harley Quinn, the vengeful daughter of the Joker in this version. Luckily for everyone Schumacher dropped out and the film fizzled out and died.
8. Mac and Me 2
Few people, with the exception of Paul Rudd, have ever gone all the way to the ending of Mac and Me, but, if you were one of the brave, you saw Mac blow a big ol’ bubble gum bubble at the end that somehow had the words, “We’ll be back” written in it. Now besides the fact that this is impossible, this is also super confident of the filmmakers. This movie, founded entirely in the shadow of E.T. was so sure that it had a sequel coming it actually said it in print, within the film. So where’s the sequel? Well, after the disastrous reviews and box-office numbers, the studio decided that it didn’t want to take another multi-million-dollar bath and it canned any plans for a sequel. This was a fortuitous change of plans for everyone. There was a very real chance that if a movie like that was ever made, the entire movie industry would crumble in on itself.
7. Alien 3
There’s a short story of Alien 3 and a longer one. The short one is that Alien 3, the directorial debut for David Fincher, was not very good. The longer one suggests that the film isn’t half as good as it could have been or half as bad as it could have been, confusing, yeah. Well, since the film’s release, Fincher has disowned it, calling it the product of endless studio interference. His vision was much different and much better, and we tend to believe him. But the film we saw wasn’t what it was meant to be for a long period of time. Originally, the story was that Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) would be in a coma and would be absent from the entire film, a concept that the president of Fox ridiculed and shut down when it finally came to his desk. This required the entire script to be rewritten and most of the initial concept was canned. Try imagining an early Alien movie without Ripley. It is folly.
6. Con Airport
Word was around for a while that there was a Con Air 2 concept out there where there was a “Con Airport”, a place that handled all the various Con Airs. Something would happen, the convicts would get control of the airport and all sorts of shenanigans would go down. But the director, Simon West, says that the only way he would do a Con Air sequel was if it were a crazy unique story. His suggestion was, if it took place in space, he would do it, Con Spaceshuttle perhaps? Well after much discussion, it appears that these two possibilities were all but shut down. Thank God. It’s doubtful that anyone could handle anymore Nic Cage with those long locks and hillbilly talk. He was far too magnetic.
5. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian
After Beetlejuice hit theaters and people began to eat it up, the studios asked that Tim Burton make a sequel to the hit film, something he wasn’t quite happy about. Instead of spending a lot of time and working through good ideas and bad, Burton just put forth the first idea he came up with, Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. No joke. The story revolved around the Deetz family moving to Hawaii to start a resort on an ancient burial ground and Lydia hating every minute of it. To help her out of there and get her family off the island, Lydia calls in Betelgeuse and he scares the living daylights out of everyone. Burton apparently thought it would be comically ironic. You know, it doesn’t sound half bad. That being said, now that there’s talks of a Beetlejuice sequel again, let’s hope they do spend a bit more time developing a proper script.
4. The Perfect Storm 2
The thing about The Perfect Storm is that the title suggests the storm was perfect, never to be bettered. So how can a sequel, by definition a bigger and better conflict, make a storm that is bigger or better than the original? What would it be called? Perfect Storm 2: This Time We Mean It or Perfect Storm 2: A More Better Storm. Even though these talks have all but dissipated, the fact that there was any discussion about this at all is seriously concerning. The accuracy of many of the details were challenged from the first one, but it was still supposed to be a true story. Making a second one would almost certainly be an entirely fictional story, which would make it an awkward sequel to say the least.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 2
There was so much buzz around the proposition of a sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but, in the end, it was all for naught. While there was talks between Matthew Broderick and John Hughes, before the latter passed away, about making a sequel, nothing ever came of it, thankfully. Alan Ruck, the actor who played Cameron, suggested that he and Broderick reprise their roles when the actors are in their 70s, with Ferris breaking Cameron out of an old age home or something, but that’s more of a joke than anything else. But the Internet caught fire when, in 2011/2012, a teaser trailer was released showing Broderick reprising the role of Ferris as a middle-aged man. The hype soon soured when the full trailer came out and it was a Super Bowl commercial from Honda. Apparently, Broderick who crashed into a woman and her daughter in 1987, killing them both, was not the best spokesperson for a car company.
2. Casablanca 2: Brazzaville
As I said in the beginning, some sequels ruin the original in a way that cannot be overlooked by fans. The best example of this would be the near-miss that is Casablanca 2: Brazzaville. In the original Casablanca, Rick (Humphrey Bogart) is a cynical jerk who hates everything except for his ex, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). When she pops back into his life asking for help, he has to decide whether to ignore her or help her and thus forgo his own happiness. In the end, he decides to help her, making the ultimate sacrifice. Well, Brazzaville, the proposed sequel, planned to undo all of this. This dumb idea was set to reveal that Rick was undercover the entire time. He needed to stay because was spying on the Nazis. Therefore, he actually didn’t sacrifice anything; he was merely doing a job. Hmph… ry Bogart. Hey!
1. Gladiator 2: Christ Killer
Hear this. Maximus (Russell Crowe) dies at the end, but that was almost not the end for him. In the almost sequel, written by Nick Cave, Maximus would go to Heaven. There he finds that the Roman Gods are dying because of Christianity’s Jesus Christ. They send him back in time to kill Jesus Christ and his followers. It’s there that he accidentally kills his own son somehow, which makes him immortal somehow, which he is punished somehow for doing that for some reason, and made to fight in all of the wars in history somehow and for some reason. W T F. This script was actually even looked at by Ridley Scott. He read it all the way to end. At which point he said no.