Waterworld 2 Updates: Why A Sequel Never Happened

Kevin Costner as The Mariner in Waterworld

The original film made something of a splash back in 1995 but why did Waterworld 2 never happen? Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars in the world in the early 1990s and appeared in a string of critically and commercially successful projects, including JFK, The Bodyguard, and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. He also earned a Best Director Academy Award for helming passion project Dances With Wolves in 1990, which many predicted would be a massive failure. There was blood in the water when word leaked out about the many production issues on his ambitious blockbuster Waterworld.

The movie was one of the last major blockbusters to largely eschew CGI in favor of practical effects. Unfortunately, the strain of filming a movie on the water caused it to go over budget and Waterworld director Kevin Reynolds eventually quit, leading to Costner taking his place towards the end of production. The movie's budget also ballooned to $175 million, making it the most expensive movie ever produced at that time. The movie was pitched as Mad Max on the water, but while it received mixed reviews at the time and was regarded as a flop, time has been kind to Waterworld.

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The movie is a fun action adventure with a fascinating world and some stunning setpieces. While the tide of opinion has slowly turned on the movie in recent years, here's why Waterworld 2 will never happen.

Waterworld Wasn't A Box-Office Bomb


There's a common misconception Waterworld was a massive financial failure, which makes sense given its huge budget and disappointing gross. While the movie performed below expectations, taking foreign gross, VHS and other home video factors into account, the movie eventually turned a profit. It also spawned multiple video games - which The Simpsons famously parodied - and a sequel comic dubbed Waterworld: Children of Leviathan in 1997.

Kevin Costner Ruled Out Waterworld 2

Kevin Costner saves Jeanne Triplehorn in Waterworld.

Even if the first movie had been a huge hit the biggest hurdle to Waterworld 2 would have been Kevin Costner himself. Outside of a brief cameo in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Costner has never made a sequel. He's admitted an aversion to making follow-ups and when Dances With Wolves received a sequel novel in The Holy Road, he ruled himself out of returning for a movie or mini-series adaption. During a 2015 MTV interview promoting McFarland, USA, Costner revealed he had no interest in seeing Waterworld rebooted.

A Waterworld Miniseries Was Announced In 2012

waterworld chase scene

Critical opinion has turned around on Waterworld somewhat in recent years, especially thanks to the "Ulysses" cut that restored over 40 minutes worth of footage. This reappraisal led to SyFy announcing plans for a Waterworld series in 2012. No story details or cast were ever confirmed for this project, however, and it appears to have quietly died, possibly due to the lingering reputation of the movie itself.

Waterworld 2 Will Never Happen

waterworld kevin costner

While legacy sequels are currently in vogue thanks to the success of Mad Max: Fury Road and Halloween, it's doubtful Waterworld 2 will ever surface. The movie is still (falsely) regarded as a huge box-office dud and while the concept is ripe for further adventures, it's hard to imagine a studio rolling the dice on an expensive sequel or reboot.

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