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16 Long-Anticipated Sequels That Were Totally Worth The Wait

Updated July 8, 2021 2k votes 276 voters 6.6k views16 items

List RulesVote up the sequels that were worth the long delay.

Revisiting a franchise after many years - even decades - have passed can be a scary thing. Sequels are hard enough already, let alone situations in which years separate the first film's magic from the next installments. It's hard for studio executives, as well, as they have to decide whether or not there's still interest in a property that hasn't been touched in years. Yet, even with all the obstacles, sometimes it works out. 

There are examples throughout cinematic history of filmmakers revisiting a franchise decades later and the resulting film being just as good as the original. Sometimes the original writer, director, or actors return and bring with them the same chemistry they had the first time around. Other times a fan of the original gets a chance to breathe new life into the franchise with their own installment. Now, it's time to decide which franchise revisits did it best.

  • How Long Was The Wait? The Mad Max franchise began with Mad Max in 1980. The next five years brought two more Mad Max movies, but the series was dormant for 30 years after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Then, Mad Max: Fury Road arrived in 2015, directed by the original mastermind, George Miller, ending the three-decade wait.

    Why Were We Waiting? Fans wanted the franchise to continue ever since the third film's release, but a series of difficulties prevented the fourth installment from being shot for decades.

    Why Was It Worth It? The film received 10 Oscar nominations and the respect of Miller's peers. Notable director Edgar Wright called the film his favorite action movie of all time. The film was an incredible feat of craftsmanship built basically entirely on action, while still having depth and meaning.

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  • How Long Was The Wait? Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, 11 years after Toy Story 2 in 1999.

    Why Were We Waiting? Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-generated animated film created by the now-legendary Pixar. The film was a masterpiece and was followed up by Toy Story 2 a few years later. The characters were beloved, and fans obviously wanted more. However, Pixar doesn't put out films it isn't proud of, and thus fans had to wait over a decade for the release of the third installment. 

    Why Was It Worth It? Toy Story 3 not only gave fans what they loved about the original films, but also added the emotional weight of Andy, the toys' owner, growing up and heading off the college. The movie managed to simultaneously play to current children, as well as children who had grown up since the original film's release.

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    Incredibles 2

    How Long Was The Wait? Incredibles 2 was released in 2018, 14 years after the release of The Incredibles in 2004. 

    Why Were We Waiting? Like so many films produced by legendary animation studio Pixar, The Incredibles was an instantly beloved modern classic. Pair that with its cliffhanger ending, and it's no wonder fans were vocally clamoring for more during the decade-and-a-half wait. The wait for Incredibles 2 was simply because the film's director, Brad Bird, wasn't sure he had another story he needed to tell about the family and would only make another movie if it clicked. Luckily for the fans, it did.

    Why Was It Worth It? As the Empire review of Incredibles 2 stated, "The Incredibles are back - it's like they never left." Incredibles 2 picked up on the original film's cliffhanger and carried the baton with grace. While the film lacked the original's novelty, anyone looking for the same charm and wit as the first film won't be disappointed.

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  • Photo: Starz

    How Long Was The Wait? The Evil Dead was released in 1981, Evil Dead II was released in 1987, Army of Darkness was released in 1992, and Ash vs Evil Dead - a sequel series released on Starz - hit screens 23 years later in 2015. 

    Why Were We Waiting? When The Evil Dead came out, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell didn't yet know how campy the franchise they were making was going to be. With Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, in which Ash is sent back to medieval times with a chainsaw arm, the series took full control of its tone, style, and audience. The films - and Ash as the centerpiece of the franchise - remained horror icons in the decades that passed as new generations discovered the movies. 

    Why Was It Worth It? Ash vs Evil Dead continued with the campy fun of the series and gave fans plenty of Bruce Campbell. What's not to love? It received insanely positive reviews, both from critics and audiences.

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