Take Two: Movie Sequels Multiple Years in the Making

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There’s nothing quite like watching a movie and falling completely in love with the stories and the characters. When all the elements come together in perfect form, the result is a movie that soars at the box office and scores legions of fans. And when fans fall head over heels for an amazing movie, one story is never enough to satisfy them.

The bigwigs in Hollywood know which sequels we crave most, but they aren’t always quick about giving us more. Let’s take a look at some of the most anticipated sequels that have been a long time coming.

Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun was an instant classic more than 30 years ago. When Paramount Pictures first introduced viewers to the USS Enterprise — the aircraft carrier, not the starship — in 1986, viewers swooned over the fast-flying, action-packed drama. Fans can experience it all over again with Top Gun: Maverick.

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Tom Cruise’s hotshot naval pilot Maverick returns along with Val Kilmer’s Iceman. The cast is also rounded out with other big names, such as Jennifer Connelly, John Hamm, Ed Harris, and Glen Powell. 

“Indiana Jones 5”

There has long been plenty of speculation among internet movie bloggers that a reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise might be in the works. Those rumors were recently stomped out with the announcement of the production of Indiana Jones 5, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as the tough-talking, whip-slinging Indy.

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A plot hasn’t been finalized, but the movie is rumored to be based on one of the books in the series. With Ford in his late 70s, audiences can undoubtedly expect a different approach to Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., although he is sure to still rock his signature fedora.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

In 1996, kids were treated to the now-classic movie Space Jam. Featuring legendary basketball star Michael Jordan and all your favorite Looney Toons characters, it was a slam dunk at the box office. The movie launched franchises in other media, including video games, toys and even a graphic novel, all raking in $6 billion in profits.

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The mix of cartoon and live-action in one movie was a hit with fans. Space Jam: A New Legacy brings back Bugs and the gang for a long-awaited sequel. The new installment stars LeBron James, Don Cheadle, and a host of Warner Bros. cameos.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 

There’s never a shortage of Disney remakes and reimaginings, but the live-action Maleficent gave us a fun new twist on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty. Angelina Jolie brought the personable villainess to life in the origin story, and she keeps the magical fun going in the sequel.

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Elle Fanning reprises her role as Aurora, and Michelle Pfeiffer joins the cast as Maleficent’s new arch-nemesis, Queen Ingrith. The movie was released in October 2019 and picks up a couple of years after the first film’s ending.

“Pirates of the Caribbean 6”

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has captured the hearts of Disney fans across the globe, in part due to Johnny Depp’s charismatic and eccentric portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. He took to the seas in all five movies and brought his special brand of pirate magic to the big screen.

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This time around, however, Captain Jack won’t be starring in the film. In fact, he won’t be in it at all. The movie will focus instead on a female pirate lead. Although the plot isn’t yet known, it’s sure to be an exciting addition to the franchise.

“Gladiator 2 “

Gladiator was a hard hitter when it was released in 2000. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Costume Design, Best Picture and Best Actor. The smash-hit Roman history film raked in more than 450 million worldwide after its initial release.

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For this version, Ridley Scott will take his spot in the director’s chair with screenwriter Peter Craig focusing on a new character named Lucius, who is the nephew of Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) in the original film. Casting has yet to be announced, but the highly anticipated sequel will likely put Lucius at the center of a good old-fashioned revenge story.

Men in Black: International 

It has been more than 20 years since Agent K and Agent J took on the extraterrestrials that hid among the human race on the mean streets of New York City. Loyal fans of the franchise stuck with the agents across three movies full of adventures, with both MiB 2 and MiB 3 also becoming huge box office successes.

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The fourth installment arrived in June 2019, with new characters, new aliens and new intergalactic crime. MIB: International stars Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth as Agent H and Tessa Thompson as Agent M and takes them around the world to fight alien threats.

Bill and Ted Face the Music 

Bill and Ted captured the hearts of metal-loving slackers all over the world when Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey were released 30 years ago. In the last movie, we saw Bill and Ted promise to save the world in the future after fighting for their lives.

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The third movie in the trilogy follows them as they try to make good on their promise while staying true to their old rock roots and taking care of their new families. The original writers are back to give Bill and Ted plenty of quotable one-liners. 

McClane

John McClane has fought terrorists for years, and he came out on top every single time. Bruce Willis’ iconic hero is one of the most successful and influential characters in the action movie genre. The Die Hard franchise has continued to win over new fans ever since the release of the original in 1988.

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Willis will reprise his role as John McClane in the next installment, although we will also get a glimpse of a young John in flashbacks. The chance to see how it all started and how McClane became the world’s hero should be worth the wait.

“Beetlejuice 2”

Tim Burton has mastered the art of making creepy movies for people of all ages. His ghostly comedy Beetlejuice was one of his early efforts but still a huge success when it was released in 1987. The cult classic won an Academy Award for special effects.

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Now, more than 30 years later, everyone’s favorite evil spirit is back for round two of laughs and mild scares. The storyline and cast haven’t been posted on IMDb, but fans of the franchise can definitely expect to see the prankster in the black-and-white striped suit back on their screens to deliver another hauntingly good time.

Doctor Sleep

The Shining has long been hailed as one of the best horror movies of all time, with the U.S. National Film Registry calling the movie “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Doctor Sleep continues the story many years later.

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The famous “Here’s Johnny” line echoes in the minds of everyone when The Shining is mentioned, and new fans can now get a taste of what Danny is like as an adult. Doctor Sleep was written by Stephen King in 2013 and follows Danny as he struggles with his likeness to his father and his gift of the shining.

Dark Phoenix

Marvel fans have flocked to theaters to see X-Men movies for years, and comic hero fans are a loyal bunch. Dark Phoenix follows Jean Grey, or Dark Phoenix, on her journey to becoming the mutant character fans know, love, and fear.

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The unlikely villain is played by Sophie Turner, and returning cast members include James McAvoy as Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Dark Phoenix hit the big screen in June 2019 and quickly made more than $250 million in revenue.

Coming 2 America

The well-received comedy Coming to America hit theaters more than 30 years ago and has since become a classic favorite with Eddie Murphy fans everywhere. The film followed African Prince Akeem on his first trip to America.

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The sequel once again stars Eddie Murphy reprising his role as Prince Akeem. He finds out he fathered a child, who now lives in the U.S., so he heads back west to surprise his only heir. The cast is stacked with a lot of the original actors playing their old roles as well as many newcomers.

“Sherlock Holmes 3”

The gritty streets of London are about to get cleaned up for the third time as Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role of Sherlock Holmes for the third installment in the successful franchise. The literary character is a favorite role among Downey Jr. fans, and with both his and Jude Law’s schedules clear, they’re ready to put on their sleuthing caps and get down to business.

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Numerous factors have delayed production on this project. We wonder when we’ll get an official release date – and if Rachel McAdams will bring back Irene Adler’s trouble-stirring character to shake things up for the crime-solving duo.

23 Jump Street

The remake-turned-box-office-success known as 21 Jump Street followed two bumbling rookie cops played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as they tried to impress their captain with their undercover skills. The odd pairing was well-received, and the buddy cop comedy became an instant classic.

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The first sequel came in 2014, and now the film’s third installment has been confirmed by writers and producers of the first two. The film is in active development, although no release date has been set. It’s safe to say that Jenko and Schmidt will soon be up to more hilarious shenanigans and outlandish criminal takedowns.

“Austin Powers 4”

The groovy 1960’s spy Austin Powers broke onto the scene in 1997 and quickly became a household name among comedy fans across the world. The first three movies came out within a few years of each other. Rumors claim the fourth has been in development since 2005.

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At long last, the next entry in the franchise has been confirmed, and Mike Myers is on board to bring back randy spy, Austin, and not-so-clever villain, Doctor Evil. The movie will take a new direction, focusing more on Doctor Evil’s perspective. Although the script is still in progress, the film’s story is sure to be filled with comical moments.

Zombieland: Double Tap 

The apocalypse was no match for Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin back in 2009 when Zombieland, an end-of-the-world dark comedy, was released. Ten years later, the foursome is back and still surviving the world of the undead in Zombieland: Double Tap.

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The sequel introduces some new characters played by Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch and Zoey Deutch who fight alongside the main cast to keep their brains off the menu. The film was released in October 2019 and has already made almost $90 million in a short time.

“Triplets”

The ’80s were a good time for comedy flicks, and two of the most famous icons of the decade pulled off the separated-at-birth comedy story Twins. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito played the unlikely brothers. Now, almost 40 years after the original release, the twins are getting another surprise.

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They weren’t twins at all — they were triplets! The movie will take the quirky original story and add another wild twist to (hopefully) create even more comedy cold. The third brother will be played by Eddie Murphy, and filming is set to begin soon.

Bad Boys for Life 

Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back in action and better than ever in the narcotics department of Miami PD in the long-awaited third installment in the Bad Boys franchise. The release of the original film in 1995 sparked a buddy cop comedy action spiral, and the pair went on to star in the successful sequel, Bad Boys II.

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The sarcastic and playful banter of Lowrey and Burnett came back to the big screen in January 2020. Fans flocked to theaters to see Lawrence and Smith fight crime with a new generation of action cops.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas Sequel”

Since 1993, Tim Burton’s claymation masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas has touched the lives of kids and adults of all ages. But in late 2019, rumors started swirling that a live-action sequel was in the works. Fans weren’t pleased with the news of a live remake, but one of the actors was more than happy with the idea.

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“I’d crawl on my hands and knees, from the east coast to the west coast, in the spring or the fall, to do it again,” Chris Sarandon, the actor who voiced Jack Skellington, said. “Of course I would. I love that character and I love that I’m part of a legacy of that character as well.”

“Murder on the Orient Express 2: Death on the Nile”

The sequel to the remake of Murder on the Orient Express will bring back private detective Hercule Poirot to solve yet another unsolvable mystery — in this case, a murder. Kenneth Branagh will not only be back to play the role of Poirot, but he’s also claimed the director’s chair.

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The novel Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie was used to develop the script, and big names like Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer will join Poirot for the adventure on the Nile River. 

“Night of the Living Dead Part II”

In 1968, George A. Romero terrified audiences with his zombie apocalypse movie Night of the Living Dead. He trapped seven people in a farmhouse, and viewers anxiously watched them lose the fight of their lives. Since then, several movies have tackled the zombie genre, but none were official sequels to this film — until now.

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Night of the Living Dead Part II will hit big screens and (hopefully) bring back the same sense of fear to zombie enthusiasts. The original was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry because of its stellar quality. Years later, the sequel is bound to leave viewers sleeping with one eye open.

Godzilla vs. Kong 

Godzilla was a reboot when it hit theaters in 2014. 7 years later, the King of Monsters faced off against the King of the Jungle. Godzilla vs. Kong was released on March 31st, 2021. Several big-name actors like Michael Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown returned alongside newcomers like Bryan Tyree Henry.

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With King Kong movies enjoying their own box office success, producers obviously saw this as a good time to make a movie with both creatures. The showdown is a must-see for fans of either franchise, and the battle is one for the books.

All of the “Avatar” Sequels

Avatar was the highest-grossing film of all time when it was released in 2009. Considering its phenomenal success, fans have been more than patient waiting for the sequel. James Cameron finally gave the people what they want when he announced that he will continue the story across four more films.

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The sequels in the franchise were all filmed at the same time, so their release dates will be steady and should remain on schedule. Cameron waited for new technology before getting too deep into the project, so the films are bound to be just as epic as the original.

“Gremlins 3”

The horror/Christmas movie Gremlins was a huge success when it was released in 1984. It was a shocking upset to the doubters of the film, and due to its rabid fandom and financial success, a second installment was released. Unfortunately, the lackluster results of the sequel killed the idea of a third movie on the spot.

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Years later, the third movie in the franchise is expected to breathe new life into the Gremlins franchise and achieve better results with a new generation. Original fans who miss their favorite little psychotic creatures couldn’t be happier. The films have a serious cult following, and the next chapter is set to start production this year.

“Salt 2”

Fans of Angelina Jolie’s CIA Agent Evelyn Salt can take heart now that the sequel is finally in production. The Bourne-style film follows the action adventures of Jolie’s Salt. Although the movie made more than $290 million at the box office, the original screenwriter didn’t jump on board for the sequel.

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Instead, Sony signed Kurt Wimmer to create the screenplay, and the film should be released early in the 2020s as long as they don’t encounter any snags in production. The only thing left to do is wait for Jolie to confirm her involvement and wait for the flick to hit theaters.

“Rush Hour 4”

The Rush Hour movies were huge successes across the board, and rumors have long circulated about a fourth installment in the franchise. The highly anticipated Rush Hour 4 was finally confirmed in October 2017 when Jackie Chan announced he was on board with the new script.

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Chris Tucker signed on shortly after that, and in April of this year, a photo was shared to his Instagram of the crime-fighting duo, possibly on set. The film doesn’t have an official release date yet, but that is in the works.

“Legally Blonde 3”

Everybody’s favorite lawyer is back and better than ever in the third installment in the Legally Blonde franchise. Elle Woods became an icon for blondes everywhere when she won her first on-screen murder case in 2001. The sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde was released just two years later, so 16 years later, fans had completely given up hope they would see her work her fashionable legal magic again.

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Reese Witherspoon sparked excitement when she confirmed the script for the third movie was finished and that filming was set to start in 2019. You and your friends can hopefully watch another one of Elle Wood’s funny, heartfelt journeys soon.

No Time to Die 

It’s no surprise that James Bond is still a fan favorite after all these years, and Daniel Craig has possibly been the most successful actor to don the 007 mantle. Needless to say, Craig plans to go out in style in his final installment as the MI6 agent in No Time to Die, set to be released on October 8th, 2021.

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The plot will follow Bond as he attempts to leave active service to help a friend with an abduction. As a result, he faces the toughest obstacles of his career. Craig stars alongside Rami Malek in what is bound to be the send-off from the franchise he deserves.

F9: The Fast Saga

The phenomenon that is The Fast & the Furious has taken the world by storm for quite some time. The racing action movies have scored fans all around the globe, and the next installment in the franchise stirred up just as much excitement and heart-pulsing action as the first eight.

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The movie zoomed into theatres on June 25th, 2020. Dom, Letty, and the gang faced off against terrorists, paramilitary soldiers, and John Cena. That’s not a joke. Neither is F9’s $700 million box office gross.

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