Opinions are mixed when it comes to sequels. Some moviegoers like sequels because they can expand the main story and show more of the characters that they love. Other moviegoers have a more cynical perspective on sequels, believing that they’re just made to make money and that they automatically suck.
Whatever your opinion is on sequels, it doesn’t stop them from being made. Just look at Walt Disney. He enacted a rule that forbade his movies from spawning sequels because they wouldn’t be based off fairytales, which is what his films were based off of. However, this rule was overruled sometime after his death, leading to Disney filmmakers producing sequels to movies that were previously standalone films.
While we say sometimes that we don’t want a sequel to a movie we really like because we feel it won’t be good, deep down we’re wishing for another development. And then there are other movies where we’re just like, “No.” Some sequels are better than others. If you want to see what movie sequels nearly made the final cut, then check out this list of 15 unbelievable movie sequels that almost happened.
15. Ferris Bueller 2: Another Day Off
Another John Hughes teen classic that isn’t getting a sequel is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But at least a follow-up film was considered and even received a working script. The script written by Rick Rapier would focus in on Bueller, who is now a motivational speaker, dealing with a mid-life crisis as he’s about to turn 40. Seeking help, he turns to Cameron, who is now his business manager, and the two play hooky for a day and party like the good old days. But the idea of this film ever coming to fruition will probably remain just like that: an idea. Not only did John Hughes pass away, but Ma Broderick is in his early 50s now, and trying to make a Ferris Bueller film without him would be a terrible idea.
14. Roger Rabbit 2: Toon Platoon
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the film that restored interest in the Golden Age of American animation. Not only was it a critical and commercial success, but it is credited with spearheading modern American animation and the Disney Renaissance of the 90s. Based on those facts, a sequel wouldn’t exactly sound entirely out of the question. But a sequel never came. J.J. Abrams pitched an idea for a follow-up sequel in 1989 and a script was then penned, but the movie never came to fruition. The sequel would have shown how Roger moved to Hollywood and how he fought in World War 2, forming a platoon made up of toons to rescue his wife Jessica Rabbit, from Nazi spies.
13. Batman Triumphant
While Batman Forever received mixed reviews from critics but still came out a financial success, Batman & Robin wasn’t quite so fortunate. It did fairly good at the box office, but became the lowest-grossing film in the series to date and widely considered one of the worst films of all time. But even after the evident failure of Batman & Robin, there was still talks of doing another film directed by Joel Schumacher. In the scrapped film, the Caped Crusader would fight against the likes of Scarecrow and Harley Quinn. And in the film, Harley Quinn would play the Joker’s daughter. His daughter. Not his on-and-off again lover as she’s been portrayed in the comics. She would instead play his daughter. It’s a good thing that this movie never took off…
12. Forrest Gump 2: Gump and Co.
There are just some movies that don’t need sequels. They’re just that perfect that an attempt to make a follow-up film that matches its exceptional quality would inevitably fail. Forrest Gump is one of those incredible films which didn’t, and still doesn’t, need a sequel. That didn’t stop the possibility of a sequel happening, though. Paramount bought the rights to the film for seven figures and screenwriter Eric Roth, who wrote the first film, was brought on board. The sequel would fast-forward a little to the 90s where Forrest Gump would meet a variety of public figures, such as O.J. Simpson, Princess Diana, and… Tom Hanks. Eventually, Hanks and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis mutually agreed not to continue with the movie.
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas 2
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday classic that’s near and dear to many people’s hearts. And in order to protect the timeless magic of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton decided against a sequel. Even after the studio proposed a CGI continuation in 2001, Burton restated his convictions on numerous occasions afterward. The eccentric film director was pretty adamant about not doing a sequel because he didn’t want to mass-market his beloved creation, and wanted to keep it pure. And honestly, the idea of doing the second film in CGI after the first film was created using stop-motion probably wouldn’t have gone over well with a lot of fans.
10. Elf 2
Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf is one of those timeless, magical films. It’s a Christmas film that you just have to watch every time it comes on TV during the holiday season. And much like the entry just above this one, a sequel was proposed to follow it up. However, Will Ferrell turned down a massive paycheck to star as Buddy one more go-around. He said he didn’t want to take the chance of playing in a movie that could potentially be a critical disaster and have fans think he only did the movie for the money. So in order to keep his past acting record from being tainted by one disastrous movie, since we all know it takes just one bad movie to ruin an actor’s career, Ferrell chose not to go through with it.
Se7en was considered one of the best thrillers of the 90s and one of the most influential box office booms of the same decade. But the possibility of a sequel? The movie’s villain was killed at the end of the movie, Brad Pitt‘s character was arrested, and Morgan Freeman was, in a way, the only one left. So what would Ei8ht be about? It would star Morgan Freeman in the lead role solving crimes with recently-discovered psychic powers. However, the people who needed to be involved in the movie to make it happen didn’t want to be involved. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman weren’t interested in reprising their roles, and David Fincher said he would rather have cigarettes put out in his eyes. The studio took the script they already had and worked it into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins named Solace, which bears the same premise but had nothing to do with Se7en.
8. Casablanca 2: Brazzaville
You don’t want the ending to a great movie to be spoiled by a sequel. If the movie in question has the perfect ending, don’t squander it by adding in a sequel. The 1946 romantic drama Casablanca nearly got a sequel that may not have been for the best. Sure, Casablanca always ends up on top-ten lists of the best films in history, but could the same be said for the follow-up film? In the proposed sequel, Rick is sent to Tangiers by the American government on a mission to infiltrate a German spy ring. This happens just as his former love interest Ilsa, returns to Casablanca after her husband dies. Ironic much? In the end however, Rick does end up with Ilsa, which kind of ruins the dramatic ending of the first Casablanca film in which Rick sends Ilsa away despite the two being in love. Humphrey Bogart signed up to star in the sequel, but Ingrid Bergman did not, effectively killing the sequel.
7. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian
If the title wasn’t enough to make you shake your head in shame, then keep reading on for the failed sequel’s synopsis. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian would have been a bizarre take on the horror-comedy classic that would take place on the beaches of Hawaii. And—get this—Beetlejuice would enter into a surfing competition. A surfing competition. Supposedly, this was all Tim Burton’s idea, who was so against a Beetlejuice sequel that he purposely pitched a terrible idea to the studio that would undoubtedly be shot down. Just like it was proved in the case of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton is really against sequels to his movies. We’re not going to argue with the man, are we?
6. The Breakfast Club: 10 Years Later
Sometimes what starts off as a good idea starts to look less and less interesting over time, until we completely lose interest in it. This was the case in the failed sequel to The Breakfast Club. Initially, John Hughes was keen on doing a follow-up film to the 80s classic that would see what the titular group was up to ten years later. But over the years, the idea became progressively less exciting to him, and a sequel was never made before his death in 2009. He said in an interview back in 1999 that while many people would be interested in seeing a sequel to The Breakfast Club, he was too attached to the characters, and that he couldn’t think of any reason to place those five characters in the same room again.
5. The Matrix 4
“It was all a hoax.” You may have heard this line before concerning a buzz-worthy news story that was later proven to be false. Such was the case in the supposed confirmation news of The Matrix 4. Entertainment sites went wild when the news broke that Keanu Reeves confirmed that there would be two more sequels in The Matrix franchise during a speech he gave at the London International School of Performing Arts. Even entertainment sites around the globe released the same news. Fans were going crazy with excitement. Except for one little problem: Keanu Reeves was never at the London International School of Performing Arts, nor did he even accept an award from there, proving the whole thing was a big lie.
4. E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears
The sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was going to be a horror film. Yes, a horror film. But to be fair, Steven Spielberg did intentionally desire E.T. to be almost like a horror film, as early drafts of the film during its working stages prove. The plotline of the sequel was that E.T. would accidentally draw the attention of some evil, carnivorous cousins of his after the phone call he made to home in the first movie. Said cousins would travel to Earth, mutilate some cattle, and then kidnap Elliot and his friends. And it would be up to none other than E.T. to save the day. A pretty dark spin on the family-friendly film, wouldn’t you say? Spielberg quickly recognized this as well, realizing that it would most likely be a bad idea to make the follow-up film considerably darker than its predecessor, and he squashed his plan.
3. Gladiator 2
Wait a minute, didn’t Russell Crowe‘s character Maximus die at the end of Gladiator? And he was going to be revived? Ok then. The script for Gladiator 2 was written by singer-songwriter Nick Cave, and would call for Maximus being brought back from the dead by Roman gods to protect persecuted Christians in Rome. While doing so Maximus would be searching for his dead son, who was also reawakened. It’s later revealed that Maximus is now immortal, and he eventually finds himself a soldier in the Crusades, World War 2, and the Vietnam War. Talk about a major fast-forward. Going from Ancient Rome all the way through the 20th century? It’s a good thing no one agreed to produce this film.
2. Back to the Future 4
It’s been said that too many sequels to a movie can ruin its quality. A standalone film is fine, but when you add too many sequels to the mix, they become increasingly watered-down and lackluster, unable to capture the magic from the first film. After Back to the Future 3, Robert Zemeckis said no more. And he was pretty adamant about there never being a fourth film. He even said there should never be a fourth sequel to anything, and that four was boring. To him, three was perfect, a dramatic number. So if you ever wanted another Back to the Future sequel, your dreams have been officially dashed.
1. Superman Lives
If you thought the idea for Gladiator 2 was a little strange, then take a look at Superman Lives. Apparently, Jon Peters held a sense of contempt for Superman’s most iconic traits—his ability to fly, his trademark costume—and wanted to direct a Superman film without those emblematic characteristics. In Peters’ script, Superman would not be able to fly, he wouldn’t wear the Superman costume he always wore in all of his incarnations but instead an all-black costume, and… he would have to fight a giant spider. As if that wasn’t already bad enough, Nicolas Cage was supposed to play the Man of Steel himself. What a film that would be if it actually happened.
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