Sequels can be a very tricky thing. For every Godfather Part II there is a half dozen things like Ghostbusters II or Godfather III. It’s trickier nowadays given how movie studios are so obsessed with franchises and “shared universes” and not doing things organically. It was obvious how several movies in the last year were created with obvious sequel hooks: Warcraft, Allegiant, The Mummy, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and The Great Wall. And every one of them was a huge flop that makes the chances of a sequel looking worse. But some movies are still successful enough to inspire more as it’s impossible to go a few months without watching another chapter of a big series coming.
Prequels may get a wrong deal but if done right, they can be huge hits (see Rogue One). True, attempts at creating franchises before you get the first one done right are risky (again, see The Mummy) but plenty of name recognition for sequels to get greenlit. Some are to franchises confirmed as successful, others for movies that were long ago. A few are ready for release this year or next while others are just getting started. But there are still a lot of movies to look forward to returning fans to familiar worlds and millions of fans are waiting to see. Here are 15 prequels and/or sequels coming that moviegoers eagerly anticipate and make going to the theater worth the wait.
15 John Wick Chapter 3
In 2014, Keanu Reeves was considered long past his prime from The Matrix and probably forgotten by most serious moviegoers. Then came John Wick. Reeves role as a hitman whose mere reputation terrifies people won over critics along with the amazing action that stunned with its skill and violence. The low-budgeted movie was successful but really hit a major audience on home video to get massive acclaim. This year saw Chapter 2 which upped the action as John was pulled into doing a hit to pay off a debt and even more bloody action. It ended with John now on the run with basically every contract killer on the planet out to get him. Work is underway for a third movie and the mind boggles how wild it can be. That each movie has realistic action emphasizing bloody brawls and head shots just make them more notable and Reeves great in the role. Expect Chapter 3 by 2019 and how John Wick is likely to go out with a bang.
14 Avengers: Infinity War
This is what the entire MCU has been building up to. The cast is already massive: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Not only that but it will somehow also introduce Brie Larson as Captain Marvel to set up her own major movie. After so many teases and clues, the film appears to be adapting the famous storyline as the mad Thanos (Josh Brolin) gains control of the Infinity Gems, each stone giving him massive power. When put together onto his Gauntlet, they give Thanos the power of a god. It will take the combined might of all these heroes to fight him but even that may not be enough. The fact the story is so epic that it has to be split into two films, the first in 2018, the second in 2019, proves how huge a deal it will be. If anything cements Marvel’s place as the comic book masters, this is it and the dream team-up for so many.
13 Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Based on the comic book, Matthew Vaughn managed to make Kingsman: The Secret Service a smash hit in 2015. Turning Colin Firth into an action hero was wild but it worked with Taron Egerton also great as Eggsy, the young man brought into a wild world of gentleman spies. While the comic book series never inspired a sequel, the movie will as The Golden Circle comes to theaters on September 22nd. The trailers are promising even wilder action as the Kingsmen come under attack by a deadly foe (Julianne Moore) who wipes out most of the organization. Eggsy and his friends soon find out that the U.S. has their own equivalent called the Statesman whose agents tend to be cowboys played by Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges. Halle Berry is their tech gal while Elton John plays an exaggerated version of himself. And somehow, Firth is revived despite shot dead in the first film. With the same mix of wild action and humor, this should be a ride even 007 fans will love totally.
12 Blade Runner 2049
When Blade Runner was released in 1982, it was a total flop. But in the years since, it is now regarded as an absolute sci-fi masterpiece and perhaps Ridley Scott's best film. The storyline of a futuristic city with human-like Replicant robots soon captivated critics and as stories grew of the movie being ravaged by the studio, the respect grew. Soon, director’s cuts helped push a new respect for the film and led to it being considered a classic. There has been talk for years of a follow-up but Scott wasn’t sure of it. But it’s finally happened, moving the storyline in 2049. Ryan Gosling is a new agent hunting renegade Replicants when a simple case leads to a far more complex adventure. This will involve finding former hunter Deckard (Harrison Ford) and finally answering the long-debated fan question of whether or not Deckard was a Replicant all along. Trying to live up to a classic is tough but the early trailer promise to give this the return long wanted.
11 Deadpool 2
After so much effort and stops and starts, Deadpool finally hit movie screens in 2016. And it was better than expected, brilliantly spoofing comic book movies with Ryan Reynolds perfect as the irreverent, indestructible hitman who speaks to the camera. It was more impressive given how its budget was slashed but still had fun and set records for an R-rated movie. With so much success, a sequel is natural and the post-credits sequence had Deadpool teasing audiences by mentioning Cable. Once the poster boy for the over-the-top 1990s Marvel, the intriguing character is a time-travelling warrior from the future with an interesting appearance. Josh Brolin was finally cast and fans excited to see him on screen. The teaser had fans laughing with Deadpool changing into costume and with a bigger budget, the movie is expected to toss in more wild antics, inside jokes and fourth-wall breaking to make this a comic book film to rock you well.
10 Han Solo: A Star Wars Story
There’s been some rough press surrounding this. Just as production seemed to be going smoothly, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were suddenly let go by Lucasfilm as directors. It was a jarring decision given how they had been gushing over this spin-off focusing on the origins of Harrison Ford's iconic rogue. Expectations have been lifted by how Ron Howard will be taking over and promising to make it work. While there are worries, that just adds to the heat over the movie as Alden Ehrenreich takes on the daunting task of playing a younger Han. The cast includes Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian. The movie should explore how Han met Chewbacca, won the Falcon in a card game and his younger smuggling career before joining the Rebellion. Yes, there is uncertainty given the director switch but it’s still the untold past of one of the most loved heroes in movie history and that alone makes the wait worthwhile.
9 Godzilla vs. Kong
Kong: Skull Island has already established itself as one of the biggest hits of 2017. It brought the great ape to new prominence with his fantastic adventure on an island of creatures and making him a more heroic figure along with a top-notch supporting cast. The big twist was the post-credits scene which confirmed what fans had speculated: The movie was a prequel to 2014’s reboot of Godzilla. This has created what is now being called “The Monsterverse” which brings more of these classic Japanese movie monsters to life for a new generation.
This paves the way for 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters which brings back monster-hunting group Monarch. Godzilla must clash with the insect-like Mothra, winged Rodan and the three-headed Ghidorah for a huge battle. This then sets up the main event: 2020’s Godzilla vs Kong as the two greatest monsters in movie history have a knock-down, drag-out battle to finally determine who’s the best. The moviegoers will be the winners in the ultimate monster mash.
8 Avatar 2
Say what you will about James Cameron but the man always delivers a mind-blowing spectacle. It took him a decade to finally get Avatar to the big screen as he had to wait for technology to catch up to his dream. Critics were a bit rough and more than a few fans have taken a lashing to it as “Dancing With Aliens.” But it was also the highest-grossing movie of all time and winner of three Oscars. Cameron has been teasing a follow-up since and has actually stated his plans for not one but three sequels. The first was to debut this year to be timed with the opening of the “World of Avatar” theme park section at Disney World but was put off. However, the plans are still underway with the first sequel to hit in 2020.
Cameron is promising it will concentrate on the oceans of Pandora and showing their own unique life. He’s also promising to explore other planets in the system as the conflict between aliens and humans grows into a massive conflict. It may be daring but if anyone can pull off three back-to-back epic sequels, it’s Cameron and produce a thrilling adventure that takes viewers to a new world.
7 Frozen 2
Even Disney had no idea what kind of success Frozen would achieve. It shattered box office records for an animated movie, inspired slews of young girls to dress as heroes, won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and of course made “Let It Go” one of the most famous tunes on Earth. Since then, Anna and Elsa have been fixtures at Disney parks with shows, rides and more to be stars. Once Upon a Time even did an arc featuring the two after the movie and having some new adventures. So it should be no shock that in 2019, Disney is delivering the sequel. It will get a warm-up (no pun intended) with Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, a short film that will play before this fall’s Coco. The entire cast will be back (including Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell) and while the storyline is under wraps, speculation has the girls exploring more of where Elsa’s ice powers come from and facing a new threat. To try and top the first movie is tough but the animators are game for it make this ride even better. Here’s hoping the songs aren’t quite as catchy…
In the annals of Disney animation, Cruella de Vil is one of the greatest villains ever. This wild rich lady with her fur coats and cigarettes stole 101 Dalmatians as obsessed with turning the dogs into coats for herself and her wild antics won over audiences. When Disney did a live-action version of the movie in 1996, Glenn Close brought the role to life and won massive hails for it. She even reprised the role for a sequel. The series Once Upon a Time had Victoria Smurfit doing the part as she remains a highly popular figure at Disney parks.
Disney is now prepping her for her own live-action movie. It seems to be following the same formula as Maleficent by showing the younger days of Cruella and how she transformed into this madwoman. Making it even bigger is having newly minted Oscar winner Emma Stone playing the part and promising to thrill audiences when it opens in 2018. Here’s hoping they at least keep that iconic song.
5 X-Men: Dark Phoenix
It’s been over 35 years but the Dark Phoenix Saga is still considered the greatest X-Men story of all time. The focus is on Jean Grey as she’s overwhelmed by cosmic forces and transformed into a creature who literally feasts on stars, forcing the X-Men into a harsh battle to stop her. The Last Stand played with that idea but couldn’t quite pull it off with a bad script. But they’re trying again with this film taking place as a direct sequel to Apocalypse. Given all her time on Game of Thrones, Sophie Turner should have no problem showing more of an edge as Jean, whose powers are growing larger and darker. The whole cast returns for this go-around, set in the 1990s and promising to integrate some of the elements of that infamously crazy decade (including the pouch-covered costumes). Throwing Magneto and Mystique into the mix promises more thrills not to mention no doubt another Quicksilver super-speed wow scene. If nothing else, seeing Phoenix brought to life in the right way makes this the X-Men movie fans dreamed of.
4 Pacific Rim Uprising
In 2013, fans loved a true dream project: Guillermo Del Toro directing a massive movie about monstrous creatures emerging from the sea to attack cities. To combat them, Earth designed giant robots to fight them out, leading to sensational battles. The movie won a huge fan base but wasn’t quite as successful at the box office as hoped. Still, it had enough drive and got a big push on home video to justify the sequel plans. Del Toro is doing the script but passing directing chores over to Steven S. DeKnight. The exact plotline is unknown but rumors abound of going into the discovery of how the monsters came to be and why they’re attacking Earth. Already work has begun on various new designs of the Jaeger fight suits and a pretty top-notch cast. Word is that some of the rougher parts of the first film are being smoothed over and the action amped up to make this a terrific clash to boost fans to the edge.
3 Thor: Ragnarok
Chris Hemsworth has always been hailed for his great performance as the God of Thunder but his entries aren’t as well regarded as other Marvel movies. The Dark World was cited by many as a disappointment despite a good storyline and was marked by the ending of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) pretending to be Odin to rule Asgard. The latest entry picks up from where Thor’s cameo in Doctor Strange left off as Thor and Loki are looking for Odin on Earth. Somehow, this involves the freeing of the death goddess Hela (a nearly unrecognizable Cate Blanchett) who destroys Thor’s hammer as well as Asgard.
This then sends Thor into outer space, held captive by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who gives him a haircut and forces him into gladiator games. Which leads to the wild reveal that the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is somehow on this planet too and fighting Thor. How this all plays into the upcoming Infinity War is intriguing but watching Thor having some real fun is going to be the reason to watch.
2 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Is it any surprise? In 2015, JJ Abrams revived Star Wars for a new generation with The Force Awakens, bringing back the magic that made the saga a mega-hit. Abrams has now passed the directing baton to Rian Johnson who’s promising a fantastic experience. It picks right up where the last film left off as Rey (Daisy Ridley) comes to an aged Luke (Mark Hamill) to train to be a Jedi despite his talk of how “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” The film will sadly be the farewell to Carrie Fisher but promises more of Leia as well as showcasing how the Republic recovers from their main center wiped out by the First Order. On that, expect more of Kylo Ren and Smoke as well as more focus on Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). The first trailer promises looks at more planets and an epic space battle to remind folks why Star Wars is still the franchise to captivate the world.
1 The Incredibles 2
Long before Disney bought Marvel, they produced what many call one of the best super-hero movies ever. The Incredibles was a huge hit that won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and a giant favorite for fans. The storyline followed a family of superheroes after being legally banned soon finding their way back to save the world. It’s been in the works but in 2018, the sequel will finally come. It’s set not long after the first film with super-heroes back at work and saving the world while facing new threats. The whole cast (Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, and Samuel L. Jackson tops among them) will be back as the saga promises the same fun drive of the first film along with how the kids handle lives as heroes themselves. Disney is moving this for a 2018 summer release and no doubt hope Pixar once more strike gold with their superhero hit.
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