When Superman Returns came to theaters in 2006, a lot of fans and critics didn't quite know what to make of the movie. After all, it was a direct sequel to Superman II, effectively following up Richard Donner's first two movies but ignoring Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace -- movies that, before Superman Returns, were understood to have taken place in the same continuity as Superman: The Movie and Superman II. It seemed like a strange call, and that strangeness played into one of the big complaints about the film -- that it was so fixated on trying to recreate the feel of a Richard Donner Superman movie that it failed to carve out an identity for itself.
Almost 15 years later, though, the Superman Returns model is becoming increasingly popular. Halloween and Candyman both have sequels that are following up on one or two of their original films, ignoring the later and less-popular sequels and essentially doing a mid-franchise retcon that allows the filmmakers to take the best bits, discard the rest, and make a reboot that's a sequel and often retreads enough of the first one's ground to feel a bit like a remake.
If you remove the retcon element from the equation, movies like Bill and Ted Face the Music and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot fall into a similar category. While Bill and Ted is more or less a straightforward sequel, Jay and Silent Bob is a sequel that's a reboot that's also kind of a remake of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Similarly, Scream's next movie will bring back a bunch of the original cast.
It's likely that this new fad was kicked off, at least in part, by the success of Max Max: Fury Road -- a movie that lent itself to the reboot/remake/retcon pattern since even within the original Mad Max movies it was hard to keep some continuity elements straight. And while they have had variable box office success, you can add things like Mary Poppins Returns, Blade Runner 2049, and Rambo to the list. And there's no end in sight; even besides Candyman, there's a Ghostbusters sequel coming up that will pick up 30+ years after 1989's Ghostbusters II.
So what other movies deserve a follow-up 20 years after the fact? Here's a list of some movies or franchises we would like to follow back up with in the next fe years. If we missed a favorite of yours, let us know in the comments or hit me up at @russburlingame on Twitter!
The movie turned 20, and it still has a huge cult following -- but what's interesting about it is that, like Happy Days, the movie was commenting on an era that was a little over 20 years old at the time of its production. That means that 20 years on, it could be really interesting to see where some or all of the characters were at the birth of grunge -- we can see Russell (Billy Crudup) being a Neil Young type, with a middle-aged reinvention -- with a story that could lead right up to the point where, in our world, Almost Famous was being made.prevnext
Gone in 60 Seconds
Right around the same time Vin Diesel was coming out with The Fast and the Furious, Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie headlined Gone in 60 Seconds, another car-chase movie that centered on a retired car thief who has to put his old gang back together and steal 50 luxury cars in one night in order to save his brother's life. The premise is absurd and the movie is little more than a series of high-adrenaline chase sequences, but that's not too far off from how you could reasonably describe the Fast & Furious films, which are coming up on their eighth installment (ninth, if you count Hobbes and Shaw) in 2021.prevnext
The story of Gladiator doesn't really need a direct sequel but, like 300, it could be really interesting to see where some of the characters -- but more accurately, the movie's world -- ended up a generation or two later as a result of the events of the film. Of the movies on this list, Gladiator is probably the one that has gotten the most traction as something in need of a follow-up...but so far it hasn't happened. If, like Bill & Ted Face the Music, they're just waiting for the right script and the right timing, we're down for that.prevnext
Supposedly, this one is actually going to happen -- and we're down for it. Legally Blonde is a charming, funny, and deceptively clever film that included one of the earliest inklings of just how great Reese Witherspoon can be. The movie actually got a pair of sequels already -- Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde, and a direct-to-DVD sequel called Legally Blondes that is best left forgotten -- but picking up with Elle after almost 20 years would be a radically different kind of movie.prevnext
Like some of the other movies on this list, the original Minority Report felt like a fairly closed-ended story...but the world of the movie is a potential source of a lot of interesting stories. There was a short-lived TV series, in fact, that even shared some characters with the movie.prevnext
The Italian Job
Like Gone in 60 Seconds and Ocean's 11, The Italian Job was a remake that came out around the same time 20 years ago and was powered by an elaborate scheme, fast cars, and beautiful people. Ironically, the cast of The Italian Job were all early enough in their careers that while the movie was a decent hit, to bring all or most of them back together now would make it a star-studded extravaganza. And it's the kind of movie that could be fun to revisit, since a "putting the gang together" montage was obligatory even in the first installments of movies like this and Ocean's, let alone a reunion.prevnext
Another one that has had a lot of traction over the years, Quentin Tarantino's two-part epic (or two movies, depending on how you consume it) Kill Bill doesn't necessarily feel like it needs a sequel -- but if it's going to get one, a version that follows up with the Bride years later, now that her daughter is grown, seems like a gimme in that it completely reinvents the dynamic of the original films.
Given the original format, though, this one might end up working better as a TV miniseries, so that fans can either take it in installments, or binge it all at once. That model has become the standard in the years since Kill Bill's release, and Tarantino certainly understands Netflix's appeal.prevnext
Tarzan and the Lost City
Tarzan and the Lost City, which featured Starship Troopers's Casper Van Dien in the title role, was one of those movies that had all the right pieces to be a success, but didn't quite connect. Still, the world it built feels like what a contemporary Tarzan movie might be, and Van Dien himself would love to get a look at the older, wiser version of his character.
"I'd love to play Tarzan again, revisit that as an old Tarzan and come back and see him still in the jungle," Van Dien told ComicBook.com during a recent interview in support of his new film The 2nd.prevnext
The Iron Giant
There's not that many movies that have "appreciated" in the public imagination as much as The Iron Giant has. A modest hit at the time of its release, it has gone on to be regarded as one of the best animated movies of the last 25 years, and just about everyone involved has expressed a willingness or outright desire to do another one at one point or another in the intervening years.prevnext
Josie and the Pussycats
Before the movie actually made its way into production, Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan reportedly kicked around the idea of doing a Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space script. Years later, though, they have expressed an interest in doing a follow-up centering around DuJour, the fake boy band that exists in the movie.1comments
Not only have Elfont and Kaplan -- along with DuJour's Breckin Meyer -- tried to get a sequel made at Netflix, but recently, Donald Faison said on an episode of Fake Doctors, Real Friends that he would like to see a follow-up featuring the band.
And Josie herself, Rachael Leigh Cook, seems to agree...!prev