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Poll: Sequels to Modern Classics

Everyone knows it, Hollywood is franchise-happy.  Any movie that could possibly have a follow-up has one, even if it is illogical (Jaws 2, Jaws 3, Jaws: the Revenge), if the stars refuse to return (The Sting II where Paul Newman and Robert Redford were replaced with Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis), if the heroes are killed (Butch and Sundance: the Early Days–one of the first prequels where Paul Newman and Robert Redford were replaced with Tom Berenger and William Katt), or if the sequel has nothing to do with the original (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, House II: the Second StoryReturn of the Living Dead Part II, Troll 2).  Despite the attempts to turn every film in motion picture history into an on-going series, a number of prominent motion pictures are solo celluloid experiences, though usually not for a lack of trying.  Sequels have been released to movies that were made decades before (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Color of Money, Psycho II, The Odd Couple II, Blues Brothers 2000).  Nothing, it seems, is off limits, as was satirized in Robert Altman’s The Player when Buck Henry pitched a sequel to The Graduate.  There’s now talk of making sequels to ’80’s hits Top Gun and Beetlejuice.

Let’s play make-believe that you are a studio executive that is given the choice to greenlight a sequel to a film made in the last 30 years or so that is considered a classic, assuming that the same creative team that made the original (director, screenwriter, actors) would be involved.  Of this list, which one do you think would make the best film and would be the one that you would give approval?

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Screenwriters: Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius (based on the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad)

Stars Who Could Return: Martin Sheen, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburn, Robert Duvall

Plot: During the Vietnam War, an Army Captain is sent on a secret mission to stop a crazed Colonel who has made himself a cult leader in the middle of the Cambodian jungle and has to fight being overcome with insanity himself.

Where the Film Left Off:  Captain Willard (Sheen) kills Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) while villagers ceremoniously slaughter a buffalo, then takes off down the river with crewman Lance Johnson (Bottoms) while Kurtz’s last words, “The horror…the horror…” are heard on the soundtrack.

Possible Events in a Sequel: Similar events, or something even worse, could take place in either Iraq or Afghanistan involving surviving characters.  It would be interested if, like the original, the sequel was an adaptation of a classic novel but set during a modern war.

Stripes (1981)

Director: Ivan Reitman

Screenwriters: Harold Ramis, Len Blum, Dan Goldberg

Stars Who Could Return: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Sean Young, P.J. Soles

Plot: A couple of slackers join the Army and hi-jinx ensue.

Where the Film Left Off:  Winger (Murray) and Ziskey (Ramis) rescue their platoon from Russians and become heroes.

Possible Events in a Sequel: Nearing retirement age, the guys could satirize another aspect of our society in a typically outrageous manner.

E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)


Director: Steven Spielberg

Screenwriter: Melissa Matheson

Stars Who Could Return: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore, Robert MacNaughton

Plot: A lonely boy befriends a friendly alien stranded on Earth and tries to help him return to his people before government agents track him down.

Where the Film Left Off:  Elliott (Thomas) and his family say a tearful goodbye to E.T. as he flies away with his people on a space ship.

Possible Events in a Sequel: E.T. returns to Earth to meet a grown Elliott for another adventure, possibly taking Elliott (or his kids) into space.

Trading Places (1983)

Director: John Landis

Screenwriters: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod

Stars Who Could Return: Eddie Murphy, Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

Plot: Two ultra-wealthy old men place a bet involving a stock broker and a homeless con artist who are forced to switch roles in society.

Where the Film Left Off: Louise (Ackroyd) and Billy Ray (Murphy) team up to beat the old men at their game and become rich while ruining their nemeses.

Possible Events in a Sequel: A story involving the 1% vs. the 99% is more timely than ever, so having Murphy, Ackroyd, and director Landis revisit this theme could have hilarious results.

Willow (1988)

Director: Ron Howard

Screenwriter: Bob Dolman (story by George Lucas)

Stars Who Could Return: Warrick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whaley, Jean Marsh

Plot: A tiny farmer, a swordsman, and a midwife’s daughter team up to save a baby that is destined to destroy an evil queen.

Where the Film Left Off: Willow (Davis) saves baby Elora and banishes Queen Bavmorda to another dimension and gives the child to Madmartigan (Kilmer) and Sorsha (Whaley) to raise as their own.

Possible Events in a Sequel: A novel trilogy Chronicles of the Shadow War credited to George Lucas and Chris Claermont was written that continues the story with Elora now a teenager; film versions of this could be The Lord of the Rings to Willow‘s The Hobbit.

The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston

Screenwriters: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo (story by Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear, based on the graphic novel by Dave Stevens)

Stars Who Could Return: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin

Plot: A stunt pilot uses a top-secret rocket pack to save his girlfriend from gangsters and Nazis.

Where the Film Left Off: While Cliff (Campbell) rescues Jenny (Connelly) from a flaming Zeppelin, evil Sinclair (Timothy Dalton) steals the rocket pack but inadvertently kills himself on the Hollywood sign; however, the heroes find prints of a new and improved rocket pack in Sinclair’s villa that mechanic Peabody (Arkin) can build.

Possible Events in a Sequel: Set in the late ’50’s/early ’60’s, the Rocketeer goes back in action, perhaps even passing the suit on to a younger hero.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Screenwriter: Eric Roth (based on the book by Winston Groom)

Stars Who Could Return: Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Haley Joel Osment

Plot: A mentally-challenged man goes through a series of improbably events in his life, positively effects everyone he meets, including historical figures.

Where the Film Left Off:  Forrest (Hanks) loses his beloved Jenny to an unknown disease and must take on the responsibilities of being a father to an exceptional son (Osment).

Possible Events in a Sequel: Further adventures of Forrest, who now must deal with a grown son.

True Lies (1994)

Director: James Cameron

Screenwriters: James Cameron, Claude Zidi, Simon Michaël, Didier Kaminka

Stars Who Could Return: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Eliza Dushku, Grant Heslov, Bill Paxton

Plot: A spy who has been hiding his occupation from his family has to rescue his wife and daughter from terrorists intent on setting off a nuclear bomb in the Florida Keys.

Where the Film Left Off: After saving his daughter (Dushku) and killing the villain (Art Malik), Harry moves on to his next mission, but is now partnered with wife Helen (Curtis), who is apparently now a spy as well.

Possible Events in a Sequel: Another amazing adventure in the lives of husband and wife spies, possibly with daughter Dana the newest agent.

Se7en (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Screenwriter: Andrew Kevin Walker

Stars Who Could Return: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman

Plot: Detectives track down a serial killer who patterns his murders on the seven deadly sins.

Where the Film Left Off:  After learning that John Doe (Kevin Spacey) beheaded his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow), Detective Mills (Pitt) kills John Doe in cold blood.

Possible Events in a Sequel: Two decades later, Mills is released from a mental hospital and/or prison  and must team up with Detective Somerset (Freeman) for one more gruesome case while trying to retain his sanity.

Independence Day (1996)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Screenwriters: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich

Stars Who Could Return: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox

Plot: Aliens destroy all the major cities on Earth, so the humans have to fight back to save the planet.

Where the Film Left Off: Captain Hiller (Smith) and David Levinson (Goldblum) upload a virus in the alien mothership, allowing pilots to take down all the other ships around the Earth, thereby saving the day.

Possible Events in a Sequel: What has happened in the 15 years since the humans fought back?  Are we still fighting these aliens on the ground and in the air?  Are other aliens arriving to make more mischief?

copyright © 2012 FilmVerse

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18 comments on “Poll: Sequels to Modern Classics

  1. Oh my, how could I’ve missed this awesome post. I voted for Rocketeer as I LOVE that movie and it’s sooo grossly underrated. I’d LOVE to see a sequel of it done, though I wish we could still have Timothy Dalton as he’s so awesome as the devilish Neville Sinclair, man even his name is cool. Too bad he died at the end 😦

    • Haha, thanks. I guess because the initial box office for “The Rocketeer” wasn’t bigger, Disney never pursued a sequel. Considering they dusted off “Tron” after nearly 3 decades, maybe there’s hope that this gem will see a follow-up adventure.

  2. I honestly thinl all of them should be left as is. The only one that I might want though would be Se7en. David Fincher would have to direct, and of course Bitt and Freeman would star. Also a great screenwriter would be needed.

    • I personally have been waiting for a “True Lies” sequel, since it’s the type of movie that could have unlimited sequels, like the Bond and Bourne films, as well as “Mission: Impossible.” The ending with Helen joining her husband was perfect and sets up adventures with the two of them jointly. I tried to read the first novel that George Lucas put his name on (actually written by Chris Claremont) that continued the story of “Willow,” but only made it through half of it before finally giving up. However, it would be interesting to return to that universe.

      • Now that you brought up some points I admit I am a little more sold on it. If it does happen it better be good. I hate when older movies are remade bad.

        • I had heard once that they were thinking of making “True Lies” into a TV series (of course with different actors), but that has yet to happen. I can’t see a sequel made without James Cameron, and he’s a bit busy at the moment with the sequels to “Avatar,” going to the depths of the ocean, and planning to mine asteroids.

          • James Cameron would have to come back for that for sure. I heard something that made me worry yesterday. A “Raging Bull” sequel or prequel might be in the works soon.

          • Yeah, I saw something about that. “Raging Bull” was based on a book by Jake LaMotta, and apparently he wrote a follow-up to his life story. This movie is based on that second book, so technically it’s not a sequel to the Scorsese film since the book is also called “Raging Bull II.” I doubt many people will see this film, as it’s only being made for $7 million and stars William Forsythe as LaMotta. Let’s just say he’s no DeNiro (despite taking over his role as Al Capone in the short-lived TV series of “The Untouchables”).

  3. You forced me to only pick one in the poll and I chose True Lies. Reality gives me more choices and I would like to see a sequel to The Princess Bride with Savage as the storyteller to his child. I would love to see a sequel to Independence Day but with a small part for Will Smith. I would like to see him in the last twenty minutes save the day again. Trues Lies made it possible for a sequel but I agree in this economy getting Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd back together could be good if you could find some funny actors to carry the movie for them.

    • I would love to see a “True Lies” sequel, though it looks like James Cameron is going to be tied up with “Avatar” sequels for the foreseeable future (assuming he returns from the bottom of the ocean). I wonder if we can get a petition going for William Goldman to write a continuation of “The Princess Bride,” even in book form.

      • There are petition sites just for such a purpose! I suppose none of my other ideas fly with you? I understand. I really enjoyed my stay at your site Jamie.

        • I’m actually quite amazed that there hasn’t been a sequel to “ID4,” something that has been discussed since the movie became a hit. Why do you want to see Will Smith in a smaller role? That was the movie that made him a movie star and defined (for better or worse) his onscreen persona, at least in blockbusters. Perhaps he could be in the first act and be killed heroically, thereby passing the torch to someone else. As for “Trading Places,” do you think that Murphy and Ackroyd are no longer funny? They haven’t really proven themselves in a while (except perhaps Murphy’s co-starring role in “Tower Heist”), so I would love them to have a chance to show one more time what they have been capable of doing. However, it would be fine to fill supporting roles with younger up-and-coming comedic actors (though I’ve seen enough of current SNL cast members in supporting movie roles). I hope you come back and visit again soon!

          • I loved Smith in the movie and it is because I liked him so much that I want his role to be small and only at the end to save the day. I don’t think a sequel will have the appeal of the original and a so-so movie with Smith saving the day at the end could make the previous 70 minutes worthwhile. I’m most likely not ‘plaining myself well. As you stated, I don’t think Eddie and Dan could pull it off. I feel it is past time for them to both stick to serious roles. I feel the same way about Carrey. There is not a single SNL actor that I would want to see in a ID4 sequel. I would like Goldblum to return as well but again, not for the full hour and a half.

            I just saw Star Trek on your blog. Gotta go comment on some of that too! I enjoyed this discussion. I have a ‘movie’ page on my site it you want to see what I’ve been watching lately. I promise to update it sometime today. And… if guest blogging is ever in your future, I would like to have you. Unfortunately I am booked until Feb. 2013.

          • Actually, the SNL actors comment was regarding a “Trading Places” sequel, since it would be a logical thing to do considering both Murphy and Ackroyd gained fame from that show, and there is a long tradition of placing current cast in films featuring those who became stars. Of course, I wouldn’t want them in “ID4 2” either, unless they were ‘sploided by aliens.

          • ‘sploided – i love that word!

  4. It’d be The Rocketeer for me, Jamie.

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