YouTube
YouTube

9 Movies That Were Supposed to Be Sequels to Other Movies

YouTube
YouTube

Why let a good screenplay go to waste? Sometimes sequel movies get repurposed and recycled into something else that’s new and exciting. Here are nine movies that were supposed to be sequels to other movies. 

1. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

Quentin Tarantino originally conceived of The Hateful Eight as a sequel to his Django Unchained (2012). But as he began writing, the filmmaker realized that something didn’t feel right about having Django in the middle of the new story. Tarantino felt that Django was too much of a good guy to be part of the deadly situation at the center of The Hateful Eight. "There should be no moral center. I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can't trust a word anybody says," Tarantino said during a Q&A at the Alamo Drafthouse in 2015.

“At the time it was called ‘Django in White Hell,’” Tarantino told David Poland. “And it was basically just, you know—so I started writing—and it was basically just the stagecoach stuff, you know, all the stuff that we have in the story of the stagecoach, instead of Major Warren it was Django. And I was working on that and I hadn’t got to Minnie’s Haberdashery yet, hadn’t figured out who the other people would be there, just kind of, just setting this mystery into place.”

2. DIE HARD (1988)

Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel, Nothing Lasts Forever. Which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective, which was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra in 1968. When Die Hard was being developed, 20th Century Fox offered the lead role to Sinatra, who wasn’t interested in reprising the part.

“A good bar bet if you want to make some cash is to ask someone: ‘Who was the first actor to play John McClane and in what movie?’ They will say: ‘Bruce Willis in Die Hard' and you say: ‘No! Frank Sinatra in The Detective!’ and then run out before you get beat up,” Die Hard screenwriter Steven E. de Souza told the Bristol Bad Film Club in 2015. “Interestingly, 20th Century Fox had to contractually offer Bruce Willis’s part in Die Hard to Frank Sinatra because it was a sequel to the original book! Fortunately for Bruce, he said: ‘I’m too old and too rich to act any more.’” 

3. PREDATOR (1987)

After Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago and brought together the United States and Russia at the end of Rocky IV, there was a joke in Hollywood that Rocky was running out of people to box and would have to fight a space alien if there was ever a Rocky V. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took the joke seriously and started to write the script for Predator, which was originally titled Hunter. Producer Joel Silver really liked the story and picked it up for 20th Century Fox in 1985. Instead of casting Sylvester Stallone in the leading role, Silver cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer after working with him on Commando a few years earlier.

4. COLOMBIANA (2011)

With the success of 1994’s Léon: The Professional, director Luc Besson and his protégé Olivier Megaton tried to make a sequel called Mathilda. After years of running into roadblocks—including Natalie Portman’s rise to stardom and Besson’s rocky relationship with Gaumont Film Company, which owns the rights to The Professional—Besson and Megaton turned their script for Mathilda into Colombiana instead. 

"Ten years ago we decided to make Mathilda, which was the Professional sequel, but we couldn’t do it because of the evolution of a lot of things," said Megaton. “Luc tried to do this movie again and again—he proposed it to me 12 years ago. But when we decided to change the script and to make another movie with a revenge story like Mathilda, he had to give up everything about Mathilda."

5. NIGHTHAWKS (1981)

During the late 1970s, screenwriter David Shaber wrote The French Connection III after the success of the first two feature films for 20th Century Fox. However, Gene Hackman refused to reprise the role of Popeye Doyle, so the project moved to Universal Pictures and Shaber rewrote the script into Nighthawks, with Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the main roles.

Fun Fact: The character Popeye Doyle would eventually reappear in a movie, but this time on the small screen. Ed O’Neill played the character in Popeye Doyle, a made-for-TV movie that aired on NBC in 1986.

6. SOLACE (2015)

After the success of Se7en in 1995, New Line Cinema wanted to make a sequel and acquired a script called Solace from Ocean’s Eleven writer Ted Griffin in 2002. With the hope of making a sequel called Ei8ht, the story featured a psychic who helps the FBI find a known serial killer. New Line wanted to change the psychic character to Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman’s character from Se7en), but Se7en director David Fincher was less than enthusiastic about the idea of a sequel.

“I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes,” the director said during an advanced screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2008. “I keep trying to get out from under my own shadow.” He later added, “I don’t want to do the same sh*t over and over.”

In 2013, New Line Cinema continued with the project without Fincher, but made Solace under its original title and characters instead. 

7. SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Before Die Hard with a Vengeance hit theaters during the summer of 1995, 20th Century Fox was interested in turning a spec script called Troubleshooter from writer James Haggin into Die Hard 3. If made, the film would’ve followed John McClane aboard a Caribbean cruise ship with terrorists taking over the luxury ocean liner. Fox scrapped the idea when they learned that Steven Seagal’s Under Siege, which had a very similar story, was in production at Warner Bros. for release in 1992. However, in 1997, Fox reworked Troubleshooter into Speed 2: Cruise Control with Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) and new love interest Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) on board the cruise ship instead. Keanu Reeves was offered $12 million to reprise his role, but said no.

8. MINORITY REPORT (2002)

Originally, Minority Report was developed as a sequel to Total Recall, both of which were based on short stories by Philip K. Dick. When Total Recall became a box office hit in 1990, TriStar Pictures wanted a sequel, so they looked to combine Total Recall with Minority Report and tasked novelist Jon Cohen with adapting the screenplay in 1997. The would-be sequel would’ve seen the precogs from Minority Report changed into the mutants from Total Recall, as they helped Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid stop crime before it happened on the Red Planet.

However, production company Carolco Pictures, which owned the rights to Total Recall and Minority Report, went out of business, so the sequel project fell to 20th Century Fox where Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise later picked it up for release in 2002.  

9. CYBORG (1989)

During the late 1980s, Cannon Films planned to make a sequel for Masters of the Universe and a live-action Spider-Man movie at the same time. However, the movie studio ran into financial problems because Masters of the Universe was a box office bomb and had to cancel its deals with Mattel and Marvel, who owned He-Man and Spider-Man, respectively. Unfortunately, Cannon had already spent $2 million in pre-production, so the movie studio decided to rework the projects into a new film called Cyborg to make up for the loss. A script was written in one weekend and Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast in the lead role of Gibson Rickenbacker.

“That's part of the Cannon experience—we couldn't shoot these because the check bounced for the rights,” Cyborg director Albert Pyun told io9. “First it was Spider-Man, and then they couldn't bring themselves to tell us they'd also bounced the same check for Mattel [for He-Man]. It was kind of good, though. I was relieved—both Marvel and Mattel were very difficult to deal with, and they just did not want to cooperate.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Meester X, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
'Eat Lead!': When Activists Hacked Talking Barbie
Meester X, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Meester X, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

With his familiar green fatigues and grenade clipped to his chest, G.I. Joe platoon leader Duke appeared carved from granite, not plastic. The 12-inch action figure was part of Hasbro’s Hall of Fame series, a premium-format figure released in 1993. Press his chest and the military specialist’s voice box would be activated, allowing Duke to shout a series of commands or threats.

But for a number of boys who unwrapped him on Christmas Day 1993, Duke appeared to be in no mood for conflict. When pressed to speak, he would instead exclaim, “Let’s go shopping!”

At the same time, parents who had gifted their children Mattel’s Teen Talk Barbie—which was also equipped with a voice chip—were equally confused. Instead of talking about clothes or Corvettes, the Barbies sounded like they had been gargling gravel. “Eat lead, Cobra!” shouted one. “Vengeance is mine!”

Families were not amused: The dolls weren't cheap—each had a $40 to $50 price tag. After examining the box for any signs of tampering, some parents came across a small leaflet that helped explain the toys’ out-of-character speeches. A group calling themselves the Barbie Liberation Organization was taking responsibility for the switch. The goal of their stunt was to reframe the conversation over gender roles in America.

 
 

Since she first hit shelves in 1959, Barbie has transcended her boxed-in identity as mere toy store inventory to become an avatar for girls looking for a role model. (At one point, the doll received 20,000 fan letters a week.) The size of her waist, her job skills, her Malibu beach house—all of it has been commandeered by social anthropologists looking to see whether her influence is enriching young girls' lives or offering dispiriting, stereotyped notions of femininity.

That debate took a turn for the worse in 1992, when Mattel released a teenaged variation of the doll that exclaimed “math class is tough!” Women’s groups were outraged, believing that Barbie was falling victim to harmful tropes that put a ceiling on both her intellect and that of her pre-teen consumers.

Though the phrase was just one of 270 the doll could utter at random—others included “I love school, don’t you?”—it received the brunt of media attention, including demands to recall the dolls. (Mattel apologized, but did not pull the dolls off shelves.)

The debate over whether Barbie had social responsibilities caught the attention of Igor Vamos, a student of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. Vamos was intrigued by the idea of “cultural jamming,” a kind of analog hacking that upended conventional ideas to create controversy. If Barbie taught passivity and sexism with her complaints of math being hard, then perhaps she should be given a different script.

Vamos bought several dozen Teen Talk Barbies and Talking Duke figures from toy stores in California and New York. He and several other “operatives” dismantled the toys, performing a crude surgery that allowed them to switch the voice boxes buried in their bodies. Volunteers would use a knife to cut into the dolls' plastic skin, then modify the transistor of the Joe’s voice chip so it would fit into Barbie’s comparatively slimmer torso.

A screenshot of a G.I. Joe Talking Duke figure

21solo, YouTube

After repackaging the dolls, the team “shop-dropped,” surreptitiously restocking them on toy shelves in Albany, San Diego, and Walnut Creek, California. Each box had a piece of paper encouraging disgruntled parents to reach out to the media after discovering the toys weren’t gender-conforming. To speed things along, they also told friends to buy the dolls and make the calls. Then they waited.

Within weeks, adults confused by their child’s new toys did exactly what the B.L.O. suggested, telling local news affiliates that their Barbie was shouting attack commands and informing kids that “dead men tell no lies.” Duke, meanwhile, rebuffed war strategy, preferring to “plan our dream wedding.”

The ensuing media coverage is exactly what Vamos was hoping for. Calling the toys' gender roles “stone-aged,” the B.L.O. claimed responsibility, stayed anonymous, and hoped it would cause consumers to rethink the propagation of violence by male toys and the relatively vacuous ambitions of Barbie.

"Obviously, our goal is to get media attention,” a B.L.O. spokesperson told The New York Times. “We are trying to make a statement about the way toys can encourage negative behavior in children, particularly given rising acts of violence and sexism."

Vamos even supervised production of a video that used Barbie to spell out their mission. “They build us in a way that perpetuates gender-based stereotypes,” the toy said. “Those stereotypes have a negative effect on children’s development.”

 
 

While most considered the act harmless—the toys could, after all, be exchanged for an unadulterated version—not everyone believed the B.L.O.’s mission played fair. "I've got a very strong negative feeling about terrorist acts against children, no matter how noble the motives," Joanne Oppenheim, a toy industry advocate, told the Times. “It's a cheap shot, and it's unfair to the kids.” Others protested the general idea of product tampering.

Mattel and Hasbro were less rattled. Wayne Charness, then-vice president of Hasbro, called it “kind of ridiculous,” while Mattel refrained from commenting. Though the B.L.O. claimed to have tampered with hundreds of toys in 43 different states, the truth was that Vamos and his team had performed surgery on roughly 120 toys. But the media perpetuated the story, making it seem as though the stunt was pervasive.

The story died down after the holidays. The tampered toys were either returned or bought and discarded. Vamos kept his role in the stunt largely under wraps until years later, when he became a part of The Yes Men, a social disruption performance group, under the alias Mike Bonanno. Vamos is now a professor of media arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Was the stunt effective? Anecdotally, maybe. Media outlets like Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal profiled kids and parents who had been affected by the switch, including 7-year-old Zach, the recipient of a Barbie-possessed Duke. Asked if he wanted to return the toy, Zach said no: “He’s teaching me not to fight.”

Were kids really influenced by the toys to rethink gender portrayals, or were they yet another example of the B.L.O. manipulating the media by using an undercover operative to articulate their message? If Barbie knows, she isn't talking. 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Shout! Factory
Original GLOW Wrestling Series Hits Twitch
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

When it premiered in June 2017, GLOW was a bit of a sleeper offering for Netflix. With the amount of original programming ordered by the streaming service, a show based on an obscure women’s pro wrestling league from the 1980s seemed destined to get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, the series was a critical and commercial success. Ahead of its second season, which drops on June 29, you'll have a chance to see the mat work of the original women who inspired it.

Shout! Factory has announced they will be live-streaming clips from the first four seasons of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which first premiered in 1986, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on June 28. The stream, which will be available on shoutfactorytv.com and Twitch, will feature original footage framed by new interviews with personalities including Godiva, host Johnny C, and Hollywood. The show will air live from the Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles.

Godiva, who was portrayed by Dawn Maestas, inspired the character Rhonda (a.k.a. Brittanica) on the Netflix series; Hollywood was the alter ego of Jeanne Basone, who inspired the character Cherry in the fictionalized version of the league. Basone later posed for Playboy and takes bookings for one-on-one wrestling matches with fans.

Shout! Factory's site also features a full-length compilation of footage, Brawlin’ Beauties: GLOW, hosted by onetime WWE interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER