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