Everyone has experienced the strange sense of loss that comes with having a beloved movie ruined by a sequel. It hurts. These aren't just ordinary bad or depressing movie sequels. These are sequels that wipe out some crucial aspect of the previous movies. These are films that walk you right up to the existential void by rendering everything you watched in the original meaningless. They erase happy endings or drop retcon bombs that undo major plot points. They change the way you view the original and not in a good way.
Now that doesn't mean these are all bad films. Some of them are actually really good. Others make you want to scream, "Why did you make this abomination, you money-grubbing monsters!?" In either case, they all commit at least one cardinal sin of sequels: They all sully the memory of their predecessor. Vote up the worst offenders.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
The heroes of Terminator 2: Judgment Day go through a lot of trouble in the name of stopping Judgment Day. People explode. Time travel is involved. So when they succeed in stopping the creation of Skynet in the end, the payoff is substantial. Averting a nuclear holocaust is generally a pretty big win.
Then Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines comes along, and audiences learn that all of that was completely pointless. Judgment Day is coming, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Apparently, Terminator 2 was just an effort in rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. As far as bummers go, that's on the level of Sisyphus. Time for John Connor to push the boulder back up the hill.417Shameful sequel move?
- Photo: InterStar Releasing
"There can be only one!" That is the entire point of Highlander. A bunch of immortals fight to the death until there is only one. Then the reward is mortality, so technically zero. Look, it works, and it's a pretty good film.
Then in walks Highlander II: The Quickening. Did they say only one? Just kidding. Actually, they are aliens. Yeah, not immortals, just aliens. Also, Sean Connery can resurrect himself. The retcons don't stop there. Our hero Connor MacLeod? He decided to literally block out the sun and plunge the earth into eternal darkness. Also, he was actually exiled to Earth and punished with immortality for space treason a long time ago. Also, also, he is now immortal again. Seriously, the retcons just keep going. Basically, they made the entire movie out of nonsensical retcons.
The film was so bad that director Russell Mulcahy disowned the original cut and tried making a new cut called the Renegade Version which removed all references to the planet Zeist. It still makes no sense.280Shameful sequel move?
- Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
The end of Aliens is extremely satisfying. The alien menace is narrowly defeated and Ripley makes it out along with potential romantic partner Hicks, surrogate daughter Newt, and the better half of Bishop, their quirky robot pet. The makeshift family gets tucked in together for some hypersleep nappy time, and all is well. Finally, a happy ending. This time, Ripley would not be the sole survivor.
Psych. Ripley wakes up from her nap to find out that everyone else is super dead. Of course, that all happens off-screen in a spaceship crash, though the audience is at least allowed to glimpse the mangled remains that were once beloved characters. Thanks for that, movie. The emotional investment built up during the second film? Never mind all that. This is the story the studio settled on.4014Shameful sequel move?
- Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The centerpiece of the original Star Wars trilogy is a galactic civil war of epic proportions. Audiences spend three films following Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie fighting against insurmountable odds to defeat an evil, totalitarian empire. When they finally succeed in Return of the Jedi, the Galactic Empire is presumed either destroyed or crippled and leaderless. Finally, the lovable characters are going to have an opportunity to create a galactic order based on freedom and justice.
The Force Awakens ignores all of this background. The "Empire" is back, rebranded as the First Order, whose genesis is left completely unexplained. The New Republic itself never really appears on-screen. Instead, the audience is introduced to "The Resistance" whose name is confounding considering that they are serving the dominant political force in the galaxy. Starkiller base then blows up the core New Republic system, which of course the audience never gets to visit or explore. Finally, any hope audiences had of learning how and why everything accomplished in Return of the Jedi came crashing down is dashed in the first line of The Last Jedi: "The FIRST ORDER reigns."
So now you are telling audiences that the New Republic, which was bought at such a dear price in the original trilogy, is now officially a failed state. Come on, guys, you have to at least show us the sandcastle before kicking it down. Disney does seem to recognize the missed opportunity to explore the world created after the Battle of Endor, choosing to frame The Mandalorian around just that.307Shameful sequel move?