Six different kinds of movie sequels

Sometimes a sequel isn’t just your ordinary run-of-the-mill follow-up — sometimes it’s in a category all its own. Here are six different kinds of movie sequels you sometimes encounter:

Legacy sequels

It’s been 10, 20, maybe even 30 years since the previous film, but suddenly Hollywood drags out the original cast or director or both for a very belated follow-up. These are your legacy sequels, the ones that you never thought were going to arrive at all but manage to produce one last (?) hurrah for that legacy.

Examples: Bill and Ted Face the Music, The Matrix Resurrections, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Shadow sequels

Shadow sequels is a term that I coined for movies that honestly nobody remembers being made. They’re the long-forgotten entries in the franchises, usually due to underperforming and not being that memorable in the first place.

Examples: Heavy Metal 2000, Independence Day Resurgence, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

Unconnected sequels

Nothing like appropriating a franchise name to slap that label onto your film — even though it has little to nothing to do with the previous films’ characters, stories, or themes.

Examples: Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Halloween III, Evil Dead 2013.

Rushed sequels

Have a hit on your hand? Quick — it’s time to rush a half-baked sequel into production and then theaters! These follow-ups are almost inevitably letdowns, but they usually make a chunk of cash.

Examples: Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Police Academy 2, American Pie 2.

Recast sequels

Or if you really want to cheese off your loyal fanbase, you might create a sequel where all of the characters come back — but with a full suite of new actors inhabiting those roles. Are you willing to buy the change? Most people aren’t.

Examples: Addams Family Reunion, A Christmas Story 2, The Brady Bunch in the White House.

Crossover sequels

Once in a while — outside the MCU, at least — two franchises will intersect to create a joint sequel that works for both series.

Examples: Freddy vs. Jason, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, Alien vs. Predator.

One comment

  1. Good list! You could also throw in spiritual sequels (The Exorcist and The Ninth Configuration being the one which immediately comes to mind for me).

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