You might not have noticed it, because it seems so normal these days, but just about every movie hitting the multiplex is either a sequel or expansion of some cinematic universe. The days of wondering if can they tie it all together when a secondary character discovers a magic hammer in the sand are over. The machines just keep on rolling as the powers-that-be don’t even worry about the success of their properties before greenlighting the continuation of a saga, whether the audience wants it or not. I don’t know if it’s due to a lack of new ideas or the fear of an unknown property flopping in the billion or bust market, but it wasn’t always that way. Hell, Star Wars was originally just a silly space movie called Star Wars until people flipped their lid over it and then magically it became Episode IV: A New Hope and the original trilogy was born.
I thought, getting into the spirit of the season of sequels, I would take a look back at some movies that were intended to be made into a series but never got past the first installment, but boy I wish they would have.
Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter –
A 70’s cult classic from Hammer Productions revolving around the adventures of Captain Kronos and his sidekick, Professor Grost, as they travel the countryside thwarting menacing efforts from supernatural foes and the occasional bar bully, this was meant to be the first in a series of films, but because of financial troubles with the studio, the idea was scrapped after just one. But it was a hell of a one.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension –
Peter Weller leads his band of super-awesome weirdos, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, as they embark on an inter-dimensional adventure to save the world from evil red aliens from Planet 10. This incredibly bizarre and strikingly humorous scifi comedy promised us a sequel in the credits, but a poor box office performance squashed that.
Maybe some hipster will use their inheritance to create a production studio, buy the rights and revive this franchise to earn some sweet Greenpoint cred. Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
The Millennium Trilogy (David Fincher version) –
Perhaps as close to a sure bet as it gets, David Fincher’s take on Stieg Larson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) never got past the first installment, and I have absolutely no idea why that is. The material is beloved worldwide, so a Hollywood adaptation shouldn’t seem strange. The cast of Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in the leading roles is just about as spot on as it gets, earning Mara an Oscar nomination which she probably should have won. Fincher is one of the best directors working, and slowly folks are starting to come around on some of his lesser appreciated films, like Zodiac. And if you needed more, the soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor is damn near perfect. I might sound a bit like a fanboy here, but that’s only because I am.
The script for the 2nd installment seemed to languish in a permanent state of rewrite before losing its shine to the prospects of adapting the new book someone wrote for the series that doesn’t have a Swedish film already out for it, and I can only assume that they’re hoping the intrigue of a largely unknown chapter will counter the Dragon Tattoo’s underperformance at the box office.