Sequels and prequels seem to be a dime-a-dozen these days. Whether it’s Avengers: Endgame or Maleficent, these films continue the stories of the characters and plots we’ve already come to know and love. Often, if they’re well done — and sometimes even when they’re not — we welcome the opportunity to revisit familiar characters and their worlds.
Despite the number of sequels and prequels that are available for our viewing pleasure, though, there are some we never got to see. In some cases that was probably for the best. But in others we can only think wistfully about what might have been. Here, we’re talking about that second category: canceled sequels and prequels we still want to see.
10 SEQUEL: HELLBOY 3
The Hellboy franchise was recently rebooted with Stranger Things’ David Harbour taking over for Ron Perlman in the lead role and Neil Marshall taking over for Guillermo del Toro in the director’s chair. The new movie was rated R and supposed to be darker and more graphic than the del Toro/Perlman version from 2004 and its 2008 sequel, The Golden Army.
Before the reboot came about though, fans were hoping for a third movie in the original series — and for a moment it looked like it might happen. In January 2017, Del Toro announced on Twitter that both he and Perlman were in for Hellboy 3 and were planning to discuss the possibility with the character’s creator Mike Mignola. Then the next month, del Toro tweeted that the sequel wasn’t going to happen. Based on the dismal box office and critical drubbing taken by the reboot, this wasn’t for the best.
9 PREQUEL: DEACON FROST BLADE PREQUEL
Back in 2009, Stephen Dorff, who starred as villainous vampire Deacon Frost in the first Blade film in 1998 mentioned that a prequel trilogy was in the works that would focus on his character. Blade director Stephen Norrington confirmed a prequel was in development and that he planned to shoot it as soon as he finished work on a reboot of The Crow.
Well, it’s ten years later and we’re still waiting. Not only hasn’t the Deacon Frost prequel materialized, The Crow reboot hasn’t made it out of the starting gate either. While Dorff has moved on to other projects, including the most recent season of HBO’s True Detective, Norrington hasn’t directed a film since 2003. Despite the demise of this project, there has been talk that we might see Blade at some point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fingers crossed.
8 SEQUEL: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT 2
When Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out in 1988 audiences were rapturous. The zany animation/live action hybrid quickly inspired talk of a sequel. There were many attempts at scripts and ideas over the past 30 years, but they were all nixed. Then, in late 2018, director Robert Zemeckis mentioned that a complete sequel script exists, and it was good. But Disney, the owner of the character, was indifferent.
Zemeckis has actually been touting this screenplay since 2016 when he revealed that the movie would be a continuation of Roger Rabbit and his wife Jessica’s story and that it would take them from film noir to the 1950s. While Zemeckis loved the script, he lamented Disney’s lack of interest. It would be fun to revisit the world of Roger Rabbit after all this time. Although it’s possible given the long wait that the audience for a sequel could be limited.
7 PREQUEL: ALIEN: AWAKENING
When Ridley Scott decided to make a prequel to his enduringly popular Alien, fans were ecstatic. Then came 2012’s underwhelming Prometheus, which mostly just left fans befuddled. Yet, in 2017 Scott followed it up with another prequel film, Alien: Covenant. The movie was less esoteric than its predecessor but still wasn’t embraced by audiences. It fizzled at the box office.
Before Covenant ever hit theaters, Scott was already talking about another prequel in the series, Alien: Awakening. A script was already written that would have returned the action to LV-426, the planet from the original movie. There, Michael Fassbender’s unfeeling android David would come up against the Engineers introduced in Prometheus. However, preproduction was scuttled after Covenant didn’t live up to expectations and the Disney-Fox merger ended any possibility of the project moving forward. All hope isn’t lost though. During the Disney panel at CinemaCon in early April, a plan was announced to add new chapters to a set of franchises, including the Alien franchise. It would be amazing if Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley returned for another Alien installment.
6 SEQUEL: MATHILDA
Luc Besson’s 1994 film Leon: The Professional has become a cult classic. And while many fans believe the movie had the perfect ending and doesn’t need a sequel, a script for a follow-up was reportedly written that focused on Natalie Portman’s character, Mathilda. The film would have depicted the character’s evolution as she grew up and followed in Leon’s footsteps.
Both Besson and Portman were on board, but then things fell apart. Gaumont, the studio that owned the rights to the property wouldn’t let the project move forward. It’s too bad. Mathilda was an interesting character and it would have been fascinating to see more of her story.
5 PREQUEL: BOBA FETT
When Disney bought Lucasfilm, it was clear we were going to see a lot more Star Wars. Soon rumors of all sorts of sequels and prequels set in a galaxy far, far away were flying around. One of those was a Boba Fett prequel that would have told the story of the beloved bounty hunter. James Mangold, who helmed Logan, was even on board to direct. Then Solo: A Star Wars Story failed at the box office and the higher-ups at Lucasfilm were forced to reevaluate their strategy for the franchise.
At this point, the studio has reportedly scrapped the project in favor of the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Still, Boba Fett has seen so little screen time, it would have been fun to learn more about his backstory. And given what Mangold did for Logan, his take on the material may have led to an especially rewarding take on Boba Fett.
4 SEQUEL: TRUE LIES 2
The Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle True Lies, directed by James Cameron, centered on agent Harry Tasker’s double life as a family man and secret government agent. The movie was enormously popular when it came out in 1994. Its winning blend of action and comedy plus its amusing characters made it ripe for continuation. And for a while, it seemed like it just might happen.
At first the sequel was delayed by Cameron’s work on a little film called Titanic. Then. 9/11 happened and Cameron apparently rethought the project, believing it might not be appropriate to laugh at terrorists after the horror of the real-world events. Nonetheless, rumors of the possibility of a sequel have continued to swirl. However, with Cameron currently tied up working on the Avatar sequels it’s hard to believe True Lies 2 will ever move forward.
3 PREQUEL: THE VEGA BROTHERS
Two of auteur Quentin Tarantino’s first and most lauded films were Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Each told a complete story and Tarantino has never made a sequel or prequel (unless you count Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2, but that could be considered one complete work). It turns out that the director has considered the possibility though.
One of his ideas was to delve into the backstory of Reservoir Dogs’ Vic Vega (a.k.a. Mr. Blonde) and Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega. The characters, who were played by Michael Madsen and John Travolta respectively, were brothers and the prequel would have centered on their adventures in Amsterdam. In Tarantino’s hands this could have been a twisty, turny addition to his canon that shed more light on two unique characters. Alas, given the actors’ ages and Tarantino’s focus on other projects, it looks like it will never be.
2 SEQUEL: GALAXY QUEST 2
Galaxy Quest was a hysterical space opera comedy that saw a group of washed-up actors from a Star Trek-like show recruited by aliens who believe they really are the brave crew of a starship. Twenty years after its release, the movie remains beloved for its hilarious story and strong performances. It would have been a blast to go another round with the cast.
Then, a few years ago there was talk of a potential sequel. The movie’s lead, Tim Allen, mentioned that a sequel was close to being made with the original cast returning. However, co-star Alan Rickman sadly passed away and that seemed to end the possibility of the new movie being made. The most recent word was that a Galaxy Quest series at Amazon involving both returning and new cast members was put on hold after problems at Paramount. Still, never give up, never surrender!
1 PREQUEL: FURIOSA
Mad Max: Fury Road was an unexpected delight when it premiered in 2015. Yet, while Tom Hardy’s title character was good, Charlize Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa was a revelation. Furiosa was a tough, vulnerable woman in an unforgiving world. So fans couldn’t wait to spend more time with the character in a Furiosa-focused prequel.
Writer-director George Miller supposedly has a script ready and Theron was excited to reprise her role. Yet, there seems to have been minimal forward momentum. It was reported that a lawsuit between Miller’s production company and Fury Road studio Warner Bros could be to blame. Regardless, Miller and Theron aren’t getting any younger so the prospects of this prequel happening get dimmer with each passing day. Still, we’d love to visit Miller’s rich world again.