With so many movie sequels and reboots being made today in Hollywood, it's amazing that any original movie gets made. However, some of the greatest (and not so greatest) movies didn't begin life as an original story. Other movies, like 1998's Soldier or 2018's The Cloverfield Paradox, exist in a weird franchise limbo. For one reason or another, the movies listed here were originally conceived as sequels to other popular films.
Can you imagine Seven as a supernatural psychic crime drama? Or, how about the third Die Hard movie taking place on an out-of-control travel cruise? If things went as planned, these well known movies would have turned out drastically different from what they are today.
After completing Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino wasn't quite ready to leave Django and the Wild West behind. In an interview with David Poland, Tarantino revealed that The Hateful Eight was originally envisioned as a novelized sequel to Django Unchained.
“After doing Django I knew I didn’t want to do any Django movie sequels or anything," Tarantino told Poland, "but I liked the idea of there being several paperbacks that could be the further adventures of Django or maybe go back in time, a couple more Django/Schultz adventures."
Tarantino said the original name for The Hateful Eight was Django in White Hell, and instead of Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) as the lead role, the story would have centered on Django (Jamie Foxx). What changed Tarantino's mind? He said it didn't make sense for a heroic character like Django to star in such a non-heroic story with a cast of immoral characters. Therefore, Django in White Hell became The Hateful Eight.
Following the success of the 1990's Total Recall, production company Carolco Pictures wanted to follow it up with a sequel starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just like how the first movie was inspired by a short story by Phillip K. Dick, the Total Recall sequel would have been based on another of Dick's stories.
Carcoloco Pictures bought the rights to "Minority Report," and would have combined that story with the original, serious draft of Total Recall that was penned by Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg. Unfortunately for Caroloco Pictures, they went out of business before ever making their desired sequel.
When 20th Century Fox and Steven Spielberg bought the rights for "Minority Report," it became a standalone film starring Tom Cruise. It was released in 2002 to critical and commercial success.
Ron Kovic, an anti-war veteran of the Vietnam War, tried for years to make a movie out of his 1976 memoir, Born on the Fourth of July. In 1997, filmmaker Oliver Stone became involved with the project while simultaneously working on the 1986 film Platoon.
Despite Stone's involvement with the film, Born on the Fourth of July was unable to start production due to shuffling production studios and the loss of stars, such as Al Pacino. However, Stone promised Kovic he would revive the project if his movie career took off.
Following the success of Platoon, Stone and Kovic returned to Born on the Fourth of July. In April of 1987, Hemdale Film Corporation announced they were producing Stone and Kovic's film and that it would serve as a sequel to Stone's Platoon. While Hemdale would later withdraw their funding, Born on the Fourth of July was still able to be made thanks to Universal Pictures picking up the slack. Similar to Minority Report, the title role originally envisioned for Al Pacino was taken over by Tom Cruise.
Believe it or not, the gritty 1995 crime thriller Se7en almost had a sequel that took place in a futuristic world of psychics. Solace, the 2005 mystery thriller starring Anthony Hopkins, was originally rewritten as a sequel to the David Fincher movie and would have been called Ei8ht.
During this phase of production, Hopkins's psychic doctor character, John Clancy, was rewritten as Detective Lieutenant William Somerset, Morgan Freeman's character from Se7en. In the end, the idea of turning Solace into a sequel of Se7en was ultimately dropped and the movie was reverted to its original state.
While no official reason was given as to why Solace never became Ei8ht, one would assume it was because trying to connect the realistic world of Se7en to the surreal world of Solace was just too much of a stretch.