"Sequel" isn’t always a byword for "great movie." Too often, they are poor attempts to make money from a popular film, but lack whatever it was that made the original great. This year, however, there are a huge number of incredible follow-up films on the horizon, whether they are straight up sequels or next in line for a franchise.
It feels like we have been waiting forever for some of these, while others are relative newcomers. But all of these films, whether about superheroes or wizards or male models, are getting us excited for a year full of great movies.
Here are the 10 Most Anticipated Sequels of 2016.
11 Bonus Entry: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (18 Nov)
Ok, it’s not a sequel, but this prequel is the first film to be set in the incredible popular Harry Potter world, and as such, it’s definitely one of the most anticipated franchise movies and worthy of a special bonus spot.
An adaptation of a fictitious textbook by the same name (used by Harry and his friends at Hogwarts), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them centers on the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the eventual author of the text. Set in the 1920s in New York, it gives us a look at the history of the magical world as well as the magical community in North America. Potentially the first of a new J. K. Rowling series of films, this is a more adult look at a magical world, and it is sure to be absolutely incredible.
10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (3 June)
Despite the fact that the 2014 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn’t particularly well-received by critics (or many fans), the rebooted franchise continues with Out of the Shadows, where April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and the Turtles are back to face another evil enemy.
Like many of the sequels on this list, Out of the Shadows builds up the franchise with our first look at some old favorite characters, including the hockey-stick toting Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly). The film also gives us some old favorites and an updated Turtlevan that spits manhole covers. Hopefully, Out of the Shadows can learn from the mistakes of the first, and give fans the live-action adaptation that we deserve.
9 The Divergent Series: Allegiant (18 March)
The third film in this young adult series based on books of the same name, Allegiant sees the return of Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and the rest of the cast as they explore the world beyond the fence and attempt to discover why their world is the way it is. Both Four and Tris must choose sides and decide what being Divergent really means, while trying to save the rest of their city from the various factions who will tear it apart.
In YA trilogy tradition, this is the first part of a two-part adaptation of the final book, with rumors that the ending will be significantly changed in order to lead to a possible continuing franchise.
8 8. Zoolander 2 (12 Feb)
The ridiculous comedy antics of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are back in this follow up to the hugely successful modelling comedy Zoolander (2001). Once again, really, really good-looking people have to save the day as a familiar villain plots to assassinate all the world’s most beautiful people, who die with Blue Steel on their face.
Much of the original cast returns for this action-comedy, along with newcomers Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig in a movie that is sure to be full of the same kind of over-the-top hilarity as the original. While it would be almost impossible to top such a classic comedy, Zoolander 2 is sure to be fun to watch.
7 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (16 Dec)
While we have to wait until 2017 for Episode VIII of the recently rebooted franchise, Disney and Lucasfilm are filling the gap with this new standalone installment. While technically a sequel, this film takes place after the events of Episode III, so we'll consider it as such in the broad sense of the word. The spinoff won’t be featuring any of the original characters, but bringing us an entirely new cast including Felicity Jones, Alan Tudyk, and Mads Mikkelsen.
The film follows a group of Rebel fighters on a mission to retrieve the plans for the Death Star, thus kicking off the events of the original trilogy. The first of a new series of Star Wars movies, Rogue One may well be the beginning of a complex and interconnected universe like that of Marvel.
6 Independence Day: Resurgence (24 June)
Who can forget the epic mid-nineties invasion flick that was Independence Day? A sequel has been in the works for years, but due to issues with scripting and casting (original star Will Smith reportedly demanding a salary that FOX was unwilling to pay), it stayed in the studio vaults until now.
A decade later, much of the original cast returns (including Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum), along with the alien foe that was (mostly) defeated. Set twenty years after the first, the world has pulled together and shored up defenses (including some on the moon) using alien tech, but they still aren’t entirely ready for the next wave of extraterrestrial threat. Plenty of action, inspiration and space battles are sure to be enjoyed by all.
5 Star Trek Beyond (22 July)
This third installment in the rebooted Star Trek franchise sees the return of all our favorite crew members, including Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, John Cho as Sulu and Simon Pegg as Scotty. The intrepid crew of the Enterprise actually travel into deeper space this time (finally), but it doesn’t exactly go well, as their ship is destroyed, leaving them stranded on an alien planet.
Looking like a much more expansive adventure in the Star Trek universe, Beyond will introduce us to a slew of new aliens and some good ol' fashioned space travel as the franchise really (hopefully) starts to hit its stride.
4 X-Men: Apocalypse (27 May)
The latest installment in the X-Men franchise picks up a few years after where X-Men: Days of Future past left off, as Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) has reopened the School for Gifted Youngsters and is training a new class of mutant recruits. For the first time in the new soft reboot for the franchise, our threat is a full-blown comic book villain in the form of first mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Issac), and fans are promised an epic battle.
One of the most exciting things about this sequel is that it will introduce the younger, re-cast versions of fans’ favorite team; Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp), as well as many other comic book icons like Jubilee (Lana Condor), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smitt-McPhee), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Angel (Ben Hardy).
3 Finding Dory (17 June)
It’s been nearly thirteen years since audiences first fell in love with the adorable clownfish Nemo (Alexander Gould) and his brave father Marlin (Albert Brooks) in the heartwarming tale of Finding Nemo, and, now, we are finally going to get some questions answered! Who is that upbeat blue tang who saved the day (even if she probably can’t remember it)? Where did she come from? Why can’t she remember anything? When did she learn how to speak whale?
Fans were left wondering for far too long, but this summer, Marlin and Nemo join their friend in a new adventure to find her family and answer all these (and more) along the way. Finally, Ellen DeGeneres returns as the inimitable Dory, reminding us all to just keep swimming.
2 Captain America: Civil War (6 May)
Bringing to life one of Marvel’s best-loved comic events, Captain America: Civil War will pit Avenger against Avenger in an epic battle filled with superheroes. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) go head-to-head over government interference in superheroes and the fate of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
Another comic-book-franchise continuation, this will be the third Captain America movie, and the thirteenth film installment of the vast and sprawling (and ever-expanding) Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kicking off Phase III, Civil War will introduce several new characters to the MCU, including Tom Holland’s new version of Spider-Man; a long-awaited addition that finally happened courtesy of a rights-sharing deal with Sony.
1 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (25 March)
Setting the stage for the incredible future of the DC Expanded Universe, Dawn of Justice takes the Man of Steel legacy and connects it to a wider world, and fans cannot wait. After decades of separate Batman and Superman live-action franchises, seeing these two comic book titans joined on the big screen is going to be absolutely epic.
Henry Cavill returns as the Man of Steel, facing off against a brand-new Batman (Ben Affleck) as the two heroes wrestle with the kind of heroism that the world needs. Many more fan-favorite characters will be making an appearance, as we meet the new Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). A jumping-off point for a world of Justice League movies, this is the film that DC fans have been waiting years to see.
Can you think of any other sequels that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!