We live in a film world populated by sequels. There’s always characters, places and stories that moviegoers want to revisit, and movie studios are only too happy to oblige if it means racking up more hit films.
But what about those films that haven’t gotten sequels? What characters would you like to catch up with, and what stories would you like to see continue? Our critics Rebecca Kivak and Joe Baress run down the top 5 sequels each would like to see.
Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking “Inception” (2010) is a visually spectacular, mind-bending tale that I get something new from every time I watch it, which I now count among my favorite films. The sci-fi actioner follows a team of dream stealers tasked with implanting an idea in a businessman’s subconscious. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, including best visual effects and cinematography.
Led by the always excellent Leonardio DiCaprio, “Inception” features an incredible cast who play off each other well, including Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Wantanabe and Dileep Rao. I enjoyed seeing these actors work together so much that I would love to see the team reunite for another mind heist. I’d also be curious to see how Nolan would top the film’s elaborate special effects, including the breathtaking hallway sequence involving a floating Gordon-Levitt.
An “Inception” sequel could negate the film’s ambiguous ending, depending on your interpretation (I know what mine is). But Nolan created such an intriguing universe in “Inception” that it’d be worth the return trip. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s a theory the director’s next film, “Tenet,” could be a secret “Inception” sequel. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of the DREAMS team yet!
“Mad Max: Fury Road 2”
With 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller did the impossible. The visionary director not only revived his dystopian “Mad Max” trilogy after a 30-year lull in between films, but surpassed it, creating one of the best action films ever made. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a gloriously unrelenting, post-apocalyptic thrill ride that captivated critics and audiences alike.
Tom Hardy seamlessly took over the reins from Mel Gibson as the reluctant hero Mad Max. But it was Charlize Theron’s resilient warrior Imperator Furiosa who stole the film. In the four years since the film was released, fans have been clamoring for a sequel. “Fury Road” ignited several storytelling possibilities, including the fight to survive in a world-gone-crazy, as well as learning more about Theron’s one-armed heroine. However, legal issues between Miller and Warner Bros. have delayed a return to the desert wasteland.
But there’s a light at the end of the dystopian tunnel. Miller said in a recent IndieWire interview he has two “Fury Road” sequels in the works, including one centering on Furiosa. Miller’s remarks bring relief for those of us waiting on a sequel, even if we still have to wait a little longer.
“Practical Magic 2”
The 1998 film about sister witches is one of my all-time favorite movies. I remember seeing it in the theater with a group of friends, with many of whom I’m still close.
The empowering story focuses on the bond between Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman), two outcast sisters descended from a line of cursed New England witches. Sally is a widowed mother of two who struggles to fit in, while Gillian is a free spirit trapped in an abusive relationship. The fantasy flick follows the sisters through their struggles in life, love and family as they come into their own.
A lot of women from my generation feel a connection to this film. The movie celebrates the idea of sisterhood, showing various women once at odds coming together to help and support one another. Bullock and Kidman are two of my favorite actresses, and I would love to see their characters’ stories continue.
“Practical Magic” has been conjuring up a lot of interest lately. A prequel series for the film was recently announced for HBO Maxx that would focus on the sisters’ eccentric aunts, played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest in the film. Hopefully this recent development will stir up interest for a film sequel, too.
As if! The 1995 teen flick is one of the defining films of its genre. A modern update of the Jane Austen novel “Emma,” “Clueless” follows rich and popular high school student Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a vain but good-hearted Vally Girl who attempts to play matchmaker for her friends. Amy Heckerling’s charming and delightful film launched the careers of Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash and Donald Faison.
A sequel could see Cher and her friends as parents, with their own kids trying to navigate the social maze of high school amid the pressures of social media. The film would include a respectful remembrance of Murphy, who died in 2009.
Since the original was a fresh spin on “Emma,” maybe the sequel could remix another Austen classic, like “Pride and Prejudice.” As long as it’s done with the same heart and wit as the original, I’m ready to find myself “rollin’ with the homies” once again.
“National Treasure 3”
I’m a big fan of the “National Treasure” movies, the light-hearted series of historical adventure romps starring Nicolas Cage.
I enjoyed the original 2004 film, which saw Cage’s character, treasure hunter Benjamin Gates, steal the Declaration of Independence. And the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” expanded the Gates family by adding the lovely Helen Mirren to the cast.
The truth is: I’ve been waiting since “Book of Secrets” for a third movie in the franchise. The films are exciting, funny and family-friendly, so there’s still a viable audience out there. Cage is an actor who always gets my attention, so I’d love to see what Benjamin Gates has been up to and what treasure he has his eye on now. The Constitution? The Freedom Bell? Bring on the history!
“Ant-Man 3”: The “Ant-Man” films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are some of the most underrated in the franchise. Both are thrilling and humorous heist flicks that boast the star talents of Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily and the scene-stealing Michael Pena. After his pivotal role in “Avengers: Endgame,” the MCU should give Rudd’s Ant-Man the third film he deserves. The tiny but powerful superhero could also help fill the hole that will be left when Tom Holland’s Spider-Man reportedly leaves the MCU fold.
“Divergent Series: Ascendant” (or Allegiant: Part 2): The Divergent Series started off strong with 2014’s “Divergent,” which distinguished itself among the young-adult dystopian films in a then-crowded field. The follow-up, “Insurgent,” was a hair off but solid enough. But the failure of the awful “Allegiant” killed “Ascendant,” what was supposed to be the final film in the franchise. I really enjoyed the first film and still wonder what could have been.
“Spy 2”: Paul Feig’s rip-roaring spy parody “Spy” gave Melissa McCarthy her best starring role yet. With “Mission: Impossible,” the Bond franchise and “Kingsmen” movies upping the ante on spy movies, there’s room on the silver screen for McCarthy’s quick-witted Susan Cooper to go on more laugh-out-loud missions.
“Days of Thunder 2”: The 1990 racing classic brought NASCAR to a mainstream film audience. I’ve toured the grounds of racing team Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, North Carolina, that were used in the film. As the movie nears its 30th anniversary, a sequel could focus on Tom Cruise’s racer Cole Trickle, perhaps now working as a crew chief to a young driver moving up in the ranks. As the sport has dealt with the retirements of big names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon in recent years, the sequel would have a chance to reflect upon NASCAR’s changing landscape.
“Van Helsing 2”: 2004’s “Van Helsing” is considered a critical failure, but the Hugh Jackman-starring vehicle made $300 million at the world box office. I’ve always enjoyed the fun and pure ridiculousness of the movie, which I watch anytime it’s on. Universal was planning a reboot as part of its Dark Universe franchise – get this, starring Tom Cruise – before the failure of 2017’s “The Mummy” halted their plans. With Jackman no longer playing the iconic Wolverine, now might be a good time to revisit a sequel. Jackman is a well-beloved entertainer who can bring some life back into the property.
“Vantage Point 2”
“Vantage Point” (2008) had a great concept that fell a bit short, but I still had a lot of fun with it. The film shows many perspectives of the same terrorist attack one character at a time. So, the audience picks up a few more pieces as it sees more of the characters’ vantage points. This could have made a cool series of films. “Vantage Point” almost quadrupled its budget, but the negative reviews must have stopped the studio from making another movie.
Looking back, there was a lot of star power in “Vantage Point,” including Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Ayelet Zurer, Edgar Ramirez, Matthew Fox and William Hurt. Although it’s 11 years later and counting, I think this could work. Every movie should be a different group of stars similar to “True Detective” and each is its own original story that has nothing to do with the previous film or films. It would be a shame to see this cool concept go to waste.
“District 9” got to me emotionally the way no other movie did before 2009 and no film has since. I left the theater thinking, “Do I even like the movie?” I really didn’t know. I had to see it again before I decided I didn’t like it … I loved it. The best picture nominee beautifully transitions from a documentary-style to an all-out action movie, which makes audiences think after leaving the theater. “District 9” also introduced audiences to the brilliance of Sharlto Copley, who gives an incredible performance as the lead, Wikus Van De Merwe. His arc is so beautifully plotted and so phenomenally acted that I always wanted to see what happened to the character. I was pretty confident there would be a “District 10.”
Instead, writer/director Neill Blomkamp moved on to create the underwhelming “Elysium” (2013) and “Chappie” (2015). Blomkamp should grab Copley, return to his first success and create a sequel as powerful as its predecessor.
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 2”
Writer and director Edgar Wright should stick to creating original films, except when it comes to “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010). Based on a series of comic books, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” didn’t do well at the box office, but has a cult following. It is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen and one of my favorite movies of all-time. Its fun action, slick editing and knee-slapping dialogue make me stop to watch it when it’s on TV and constantly quote it. The film also has plenty of characters to fall in love with, even the evil exes, which included pre-Captain America Chris Evans and post-Superman Brandon Routh. The talented Michael Cera gives his best performance as the title character.
I have every confidence the brilliant Wright can muster a great sequel.
“Jerry Maguire 2”
The sports world is a lot different than it was when “Jerry Maguire” was released in 1996. The player empowerment era has hit the NBA, especially this offseason with most of the big names switching teams during free agency. Rich Paul has become the most famous agent in sports after he founded Klutch Sports Group and started representing some of the top athletes in the NBA, most notably LeBron James. He even made a “Sports Illustrated” cover. And he did it all without a college degree.
There are also plenty of issues with the NCAA. High-profile NFL running backs including Le’Veon Bell (who sat out all of last season), Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon hold out for more money because running backs have a small window when they are at their peaks. In Major League Baseball, Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $430 million extension in the offseason.
Tom Cruise can either return as a sports agent who is trying for one last hoorah or serve as a mentor to a young up-and-coming agent. Who knows, maybe Dorothy Boyd’s (Renee Zellweger) son, Ray, can be the next agent. Preferably, maybe Rod Tidwell’s (Cuba Gooding Jr.) son, Tyson, or daughter Katie.
The star power is already in place with Cruise’s career resurgence through the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. That combined with the sports climate of today would make for a great sequel.
“The Raid 3”
If “The Raid” franchise were still alive, it would be the best action franchise in a time when the action film is back. Before “John Wick (October 2014),” there was “The Raid: Redemption” (2011) and “The Raid 2” (April 2014), two of the greatest action films of all-time.
“The Raid: Redemption” has a fun video game feel to it and a simple story that serves the movie well. Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park also helped compose the score. Main character Rama (Iko Uwais) is a member of a S.W.A.T. team that gets trapped in an apartment complex during a raid. The team tries to survive each floor while the mobster who runs the building and his thugs try to take them out. That’s very similar to the plot of “Dredd,” which came out a year after “The Raid: Redemption.” “Dredd” could use a sequel too, but I digress.
In “The Raid 2,” Rama survives the apartment complex only to be thrown back into the fray as an undercover officer. “The Raid 2” doesn’t have as strong of a plot as its predecessor and the two-hour, 30-minute runtime is a bit too much. However, the sequel pumps up the action, making it my favorite of the two films.
The action is second to none, as these trained martial artists look like they’re fighting. The choreography is phenomenal. When the actors can do the fighting and stunts, it opens up a world of possibilities for a film. It gives director Gareth Evans the ability to incorporate long tracking shots so the audience can see the action.
They’re Indonesian films, so the actors’ success in “The Raid” franchise has pushed them into American movies. Uwais and Yayan Ruhian haven’t hit it big yet, but both have been in a few films of note. Both played a cameo role as members of Kanjiklub in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Uwais has been busy of late with roles in “Mile 22” (2018), “Stuber” (2019) and as the lead in Netflix original series “Wu Assassins” (2019). Ruhian also had a movie this summer. He played a small role in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” that fit his skill set. He’s one of the many assassins who try to kill John Wick.
Much like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, stars of the BBC’s “Sherlock,” Uwais and Ruhian are a little busy finding success in America to return to an Indonesian franchise, but maybe one day they’ll make a third film. It definitely would be worth it.
“The Odyssey”: I still thoroughly enjoy “Troy” (2004), which is based on “The Iliad.” A continuation to Homer’s next work, “The Odyssey,” with Sean Bean already there to play Odysseus would have been interesting to explore. Bean did a great job in his supporting role in “Troy,” which proved one of the most charismatic in the film.
“Man of Steel 2”: The DCEU would have been on a so much better path had it taken time to develop its characters. “Man of Steel” did that, but a lot of people hated it for reasons I can’t explain. As a result, Warner Bros. rushed toward “Justice League.”
“A Few Good Men 2”: “A Few Good Men” is one of my favorite movies of all-time written by my favorite writer of all-time, Aaron Sorkin. I just saw Sorkin’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway, so he’s already back in the court room. After he does a sequel to “Jerry Maguire,” maybe Tom Cruise could team up again with Sorkin.
“National Treasure 3”: It’s always good to have Nicolas Cage doing something and “National Treasure 2” made more than $450 million. The first two are fun films with nods to history and a score I’d love to play in the background of my life.
“Wanted 2”: With the rise of the action film, a sequel can do so much more than the original, which came out in 2006. “Wanted” is a fun movie with a solid cast. Bring back James McAvoy as the lead and see if Edgar Wright will write and direct. I’m already microwaving the popcorn.
“Allegiant: Part 2”: The “Divergent” franchise was fascinating as the first film was solid, the second film was moreso entertaining and the third film was garbage. It was so bad and made so little money that the studio did not complete the franchise. I’m a completionist so it really bothers me that I don’t know how it ends. Maybe it’s for the better.
Rebecca Kivak and Joe Baress write about movies for Take 2 blog. Together, they review current flicks and offer their insights into the latest movie news. Rebecca is a copy editor and page designer at The Times-Tribune. She started her career with Times-Shamrock Newspapers in 2005 and has won several professional journalism awards for page design and headline writing. She also covers NASCAR races from Pocono Raceway. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5126; @TTRebeccaKivak