Successful films tend to generate sequels. When it comes to science fiction in particular, the futuristic world created on screen offers fertile ground for exploring further in a franchise. And fans are often hungry for it.
2017 finally saw a follow-up to Ridley Scott’s hugely influential Blade Runner – and it was a critical hit, even if that success wasn’t quite reflected in the box office numbers. Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, however, is one modern science-fiction masterpiece that has never spawned a sequel, despite fans calling for it and critics voicing their surprise at its non-emergence. It didn’t perform at the box office on release, which is surely one reason, but it has since gone on to become a cult favorite.
FANDOM chatted to Niccol ahead of the release of his latest sci-fi thriller Anon, about his 1997 classic Gattaca, which he both wrote and directed, and why it remains sequel-less.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know that there needs to be a sequel,” said Niccol. “Once you’ve said it, do you need to say it again? We’ll leave it to your imagination. Better that you write the sequel in your mind than I write it.”
He went on to say: “It’s a very strange thing. I don’t think you could make the same movie in the current version of Hollywood. Because that was a studio film. But now it seems very much like an indie film, so I don’t think you could ever replicate that.”
It sounds a lot like the door is shut for Niccol on ever bringing a follow-up to fruition. But was there ever an opportunity to make one?
“Not in my mind, no,” he says definitely. Suggesting that conversations to that end may have been instigated by studio bosses perhaps?
Potential Sequel Storylines
But where could a sequel go? Contrary to what Niccol says about not wanting to say the same things again, there’s plenty of the story left to explore. For instance, what happens to Ethan Hawke’s character, Vincent, in space?
At the end of the film, we see him succeed in bucking the system and achieving his ambition, which is to fly off on the mission to Saturn’s moon, Titan – an ‘in-valid’ among his elite, genetically engineered colleagues. But, we know that he has a high chance of dying young because of a heart condition. A sequel could explore what happens to him off-world and whether or not he dies from his medical issue. Perhaps an unforeseen disaster could result in the deaths of ‘valids,’ while he survives, allowing the film to expand on the theme of destiny.
Or perhaps a follow-up could explore a story around Uma Thurman’s character Irene and pregnancy. Having flown off and left her following their love affair, she could have his child – the product of a union between a valid and a ‘de-gene-erate.’ This would open up an interesting discussion over what that could mean for the offspring. And, of course, the system, too. Would Vincent even find out, and if so, would he return?
A story could even revolve around the character of Xander Berkeley’s Dr. Lamar. He passed Vincent for the mission despite knowing his true identity because his genetically inferior son looked up to Vincent as an inspiration. Would it open the door for a revolution, with the in-valids and less ‘gifted’ rising up? With some fans theorizing that Niccol’s In Time can be seen as an unofficial sequel, this story could fill in the gaps.
Anon is available in the US and Australia on Netflix, and hits cinemas and Sky in the UK on May 11.