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Sequels have a bad reputation. And, at a time when further instalments are announced before the release of their predecessors, when franchises are resurrected long after they have ceased to be relevant and prequels somehow manage to ruin lives, it’s not exactly difficult to see why.
But while the near misses and false starts have been well documented (did you know that a script was written for a Se7en follow up called Ei8ht? And that it would have seen a returning Morgan Freeman solve crimes with his newfangled psychic powers? Of course you did), markedly less attention has been directed at the sequels that really should have been.
Indeed, with the recent reports that the cast of Kick-Ass are being approached in connection with the planned second instalment (to start filming this summer for a 2013 release), marking possibly the biggest step forward for the project since Mark Miller’s last assurances on the subject, I couldn’t help but think about the other sequels that we have been promised along the years, but which have remained sadly unrealised. Seriously, what if these films never happen?
Considering Joss Whedon’s recent success with The Avengers (which at the time of writing stands proud as the third highest grossing movie in box office history), it is reasonable to assume that the world is very much his oyster. With a couple of smaller pet projects (including a version of Much Ado About Nothing filmed in his own home), comic-book continuations of some of his best loved works and a highly anticipated sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog all in the works – not to mention a possible return to direct The Avengers 2 - it is difficult to imagine where a sequel to 2006′s Serenity could realistically fit in.
Athough 2008′s Jumper left many cold, a characteristically wooden central performance from Hayden Christensen doing little to win audiences over, the film’s premise was nevertheless bursting with potential. Attempting to bring some realism to the concept of teleportation, director Doug Liman delivered some truly spectacular set pieces from a dizzying number of exotic locations around the world. Despite Hayden Christensen’s continued assurances that a sequel is in the works, however, there has been very little movement on behalf of the project in the years since – other than for co-star Jamie Bell to voice his own reservations regarding the original film.
John Carter 2
Having failed to attract audiences in the numbers required to recoup its $250 million budget (except in Russia, anyway, where the film went on to break box office records), John Carter had barely broken even when it disappeared unceremoniously from cinemas. Originally planned by director Andrew “I wouldn’t know what to do with $5 million” Stanton as the first in a trilogy – aren’t they all, plans were put on hold as a result of the film’s abysmal performance. Whether crippled by a last-minute title change (goodness knows how badly it might have done with “Of Mars” still attached, huh Disney?), poor marketing or the film’s use of increasingly unfashionable 3D, it is unlikely we’ll see parts II or III any time soon. A shame, really, as Barsoom had so much more to offer. Issus willing, anyway.
South Park 2
Probably the biggest wild card on this list, South Park has done very little to invite speculation as to the possibility of another film, the show’s creators insisting that any sequel would most likely be used to end the TV show – very much still in its prime, apparently. The first – 1999′s musical masterpiece Bigger, Longer and Uncut - brought television’s crudest quartet to the big screen with a story that poked satirical fun at everything from American foreign policy and Canadian industry to the rulings of the MPAA. Although creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker followed it up with puppet-powered action comedy Team America: World Police, Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman are surely well overdue a fowl-mouthed follow-up of their own? That’s what Brian Boitano’d do.
The X-Files 3
When The X-Files: I Want To Believe came out in August 2008, many of the franchise’s loyal fans were understandably disappointed by director Chris Carter’s refusal to address any of the narrative threads left dangling at the end of the television show’s nine season run. With the mythology’s apocalypse set for 2012 and an alien colonisation already underway, many were hoping for answers. Heck, more questions would have been preferable to a two hour place holder that would have been better suited to a mid-season filler episode than a summer tentpole. With the threequel still cropping up in interviews and both Mulder and Scully open to return, however, there’s always a chance. The truth is still out there, it’s just a question of whether we’ll ever find it.