It’s natural to want more of a good thing. Whether it be music, books or food, we always desire more of what we love. That’s doubly true for movies because we know sequels are not only so common but, like Mad Max: Fury Road, occasionally amazing. Yet, sequels aren’t always meant to be. Sometimes that’s because of budgetary restrictions, sometimes it’s because not enough people saw the first one. For whatever reason, there are plenty of unmade sequels haunting Hollywood like ghosts. Let’s take a look at some possible movies that might not ever be…but should be.
28 Months Later
Just to put my cards on the table, I must admit that Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later is my favorite film of all time. That being said, there is so much to explore in the universe Boyle and writer Alex Garland created. Not only did they re-invent the zombie genre but they set up such possibilities. The end of 28 Days Later revealed that (SPOILER ALERT) the zombie outbreak was restricted to Britain only. That allows subsequent sequels to expand the infection and slowly give us more over time. That’s exactly what the follow-up, 28 Weeks Later, did. But it’s still just scratching the surface. When we last left our heroes, the rage virus was burning across Europe but imagine all the chaos that could ensue in the proposed 28 Months Later. An entire world filled with red-eyed, ravenous zombies? That sounds delightful.
Danny Boyle has teased us about making this for ages but nothing has officially been greenlit. With Boyle finally taking on a Trainspotting sequel, it’s unlikely 28 Months Later is happening soon. But we can hope. And fear.
Speaking of Alex Garland, he wrote the better-than-expected Dredd, starring Karl Urban. Based on the classic Judge Dredd comic, the movie completely erased the memories we had of Sylvester Stallone’s abysmal 1990’s attempt at a Dredd adaptation. We finally saw the potential of Judge Dredd on the big screen. He lives in a dirty, violent, dystopian world – the problem was we didn’t see much of it. Dredd restricted our hero to one (albeit massive) City Block, essentially a giant apartment building. We got a taste of the world at large but weren’t able to properly explore it. A follow-up film could let Dredd loose in Mega-City One and really show us what we’ve been missing. Like Blade Runner for the modern age. With guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Sadly, this one seems like a long shot. Judge Dredd 2 is most certainly not happening, despite the calls and pleas from fans. But maybe someday we can get a proper sequel or, better yet, a TV series.
This might sound weird but there was a time when M. Night Shyamalan was one of the most exciting filmmakers around. He came on the scene in a big way with The Sixth Sense and then followed that with the even-better Unbreakable. The story of David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his inability to be harmed was truly impressive cinema and felt like the first act of a superhero movie. This was intentional, of course, but Shyamalan had no direct plans to make a sequel any time soon. He had more stories to tell. Those stories just happened to be pretty cruddy.
Years have passed now and it’s about time Shyamalan came back to Unbreakable. Give us an older, more experienced Dunn years after he’s discovered his abilities. Perhaps his powers have changed his life for the worse, maybe it’s a burden he doesn’t want. Or maybe he’s become a quiet, caped crusader. There are plenty of options and avenues to explore. Say what you want about him but Shyamalan has a chance to give us a superhero film unlike any other. Again, this one seems like a long shot but those of us who love superheroes are waiting and hoping.
This one is tricky because what fans want isn’t really a sequel but rather a faithful reboot. If you watch the first Resident Evil, you’ll see that it’s not too far removed from the groundbreaking video games series it’s based on. As time went on, Paul W.S. Anderson and his crew diverged greatly from the games and got more and more outlandish and silly. The current Evil films have little in common with the source material and feels widly mutated. But let’s take it back to basics and try it again. Scale things down, adapt the games properly and make everyone happy. You can keep Milla Jovovich if you want, just give us something that resembles the games we love. Or, if you must, burn the whole thing down and start from scratch. It hurts because the first film showed promise and wasn’t too far off base. Can we pretend the last few films never happened and try again?
If a filmmaker does try to right the wrongs of this series, take inspiration from the spectacular Resident Evil 4, a game that deserves every accolade it received.
Leon: The Professional
Here’s another one that’s almost happened several times: a follow-up Leon film starring a grown up Natalie Portman playing Mathilda, a now-experienced assassin doing damage in New York City. She’s been taught by the best and has picked up the mantle after Leon. Maybe we have returning characters, maybe it’s just Mathilda against a scary violent world. Either way, Luc Besson created such strong characters that it feels criminal to not visit them again. Can’t you just picture Mathilda following in the footsteps of Leon? Waking up early, doing her sit-ups, putting her potted plant in the windowsill before going out in the world and killing the bad guys?
Besson has shown interest in actually tackling this project so we might eventually see it but, like most movies on this list, it seems unlikely. Until then, we have Leon to revisit again and again..and again and again.
I know what you’re thinking: Mean Girls already has a sequel. Yes, it does: a direct-to-DVD spin-off that doesn’t remotely live up to the original. What we want from a proper Mean Girls sequel is one thing: Tina Fey. She can write, she can direct, she can just co-star if she wants but she’s needed to keep this series interesting. Obviously Lindsay Lohan and the rest of the original cast wouldn’t return (though maybe it could take place in college…if they’ve all been in college for ten years). Honestly, we just want to see Fey take on high school politics again. Or maybe Fey can create Mean Moms, all about the obnoxious mother characters we saw a bit of in the first film. Remember Amy Poehler’s character? Let’s give her an entire movie. Throw in Maya Rudolph as another mean mom and Kristin Wiig as the fresh-faced, innocent protagonist. Your ticket would be sold already, wouldn’t it?
It’s surprising a Dick Tracy sequel was never made. The movie was mostly well-received, did business at the box office and even picked up several Academy Award nominations. If a movie did that in this day and age, a follow-up would be announced in no time at all. However, there’s a legitimate reason why we never got a sequel: legal troubles. Warren Beatty and Tribune Media Services, the original owners of the Tracy copyright, fought over ownership for years. Beatty had actually been on record saying he wanted to produce another Dick Tracy but the legal murkiness made it impossible.
This was finally settled in 2011, when a judge declared Beatty really did hold the rights and was able to do what he wanted with the property. Beatty still showed interest in making another film at the time but we haven’t heard anything since, leading us to believe it’s not happening. Lack of public awareness, Beatty’s age and a slew of comic book movies on the docket suggest we might not ever see Tracy hassle gangsters on the big screen again.
But imagine the possibilities. This one will always haunt us.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Well, this is obvious. We will move heaven and Earth to get this made. Take as long as you need, George Miller. Ask for whatever you want. Cast whoever you desire. Just please, please, please let us visit this universe again with you at the helm.
The good news here is that, despite some rumors, a Fury Road sequel seems possible.