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Long-Awaited Sequels That Were Most Worth The Wait

Updated January 7, 2021 17.2k votes 2.5k voters 35.6k views24 items

List RulesSequels that arrived at least 10 years after the previous installment. Vote up the movies that actually lived up to expectations.

A list of cinematic sequels that hit theaters after long stretches of franchise inactivity, with the best and worst ranked by savvy movie buffs. Hollywood sometimes has a hard time continuing a series, even one that sounds like a guaranteed blockbuster. With films that take forever to get made, all those years spent in development hell can heighten hype as well as the potential for spectacular flops. 

Jurassic World arrived more than two decades after the original and just shy of 15 years after the last Jurassic Park, and all that time riding the proverbial bench means outsized expectations like those that accompanied long-delayed chapters like Toy Story 3, Mad Max: Fury Road, and, of course, The Godfather: Part III

This kind of film is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in years: either you're reminded of all the good times you shared or you're embarrassed to have ever been associated with them. So where do these sometimes classic and occasionally notorious movies that really took their sweet time coming to theaters rank when stacked against each other?

Vote up the sequels that were worth the wait, vote down each film that dashed hopes and brought shame to the originals. Your votes will make it clear which franchises aged like fine wines and which sequels arrived way after their expiration dates.

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  • Mad Max: Fury Road1


    Released in 2015, 30 years after Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985).

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  • Toy Story 32


    Released in 2010, 11 years after Toy Story 2 (1999).

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens3


    Released in 2015, 32 years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) and 10 years after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005).

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  • Jurassic World4


    Released in 2015, 14 years after Jurassic Park III (2001).

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  • Blade Runner 20495

    Released in 2017, 35 years after Blade Runner (1982).

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  • The Incredibles 26
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    The Incredibles 2

     

    Released in 2018, 14 years after The Incredibles (2014).

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  • Finding Dory7


    Released in 2016, 13 years after Finding Nemo (2003).

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  • Men in Black 38


    Released in 2012, 10 years after Men in Black II (2002).

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  • The Rescuers Down Under9


    Released in 1990, 13 years after The Rescuers (1977).

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  • Clerks II10
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    Released in 2006, 12 years after Clerks (1994).

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  • Monsters University11


    Released in 2013, 12 years after Monsters Inc (2001).

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  • Rambo12
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    Released in 2008, 20 years after Rambo III.

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  • Live Free or Die Hard13


    Released in 2007, 12 years after Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995).

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  • Rocky Balboa14


    Released in 2006, 16 years after Rocky V (1990).

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  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace15


    Released in 1999, 16 years after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

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  • The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day16


    Released in 2009, 10 years after Boondock Saints (1999).

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  • Escape from L.A.17


    Released in 1996, 15 years after Escape From New York (1981).

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  • Tron: Legacy18


    Released in 2010, 28 years after TRON.

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  • The Godfather Part III19


    Released in 1990, 16 years after The Godfather: Part II (1974).

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  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines20

    Released in 2003, 12 years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).

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  • Dumb and Dumber To21


    Released in 2014, 20 years after Dumb and Dumber (1994).

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    #56 of 224 The Worst Sequels Of All Time#94 of 111 The Best Stoner Movies

  • Superman Returns22


    Released in 2006, 19 years after Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).

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  • Fantasia 200023


    Released in 1999, 59 years after Fantasia (1940).

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  • The Odd Couple II24


    Released in 1998, 30 years after The Odd Couple (1968).

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