Five Key Components to a Sequel Not Sucking


There’s a big part of me that wants to virtually abolish all sequels.   If you really think about it I would say that 90% of sequels out there definitely suck.  The funny thing is that there are 1000’s of sequels that we don’t even know about simply because they went straight to video (DVD nowadays).

There are plenty of reasons that a follow up movie will suck.  Mostly it’s because of the repetitiveness or the fact that the first one wasn’t even all that good in the first place.

I’m here to try to help studios understand what will make a sequel not suck.  And guys, you don’t have to do it all the time but let’s try and focus on making a good movie and not tons of money!

Here are five key components to a sequel not sucking

First movie has to be good


Let’s face it.  There are far too many sequels of BAD movies out there.  Here’s a hint.  At least make a good one first.  Please?  Pretty please?  Even if the sequel sucks at least there was a basis to make it:  a good first movie.   This is the foundation to make a decent sequel.

Missing elements from the first that we care about


It’s kind of cool to have unanswered questions answered.  Godfather II is probably the best example of this.  We don’t know much about the past and personally I think Godfather II is better than the first because we get a much better feel for why Michael is who he is.   And also why Vito is who he is.  It’s masterful.  Clearly we didn’t NEED the sequel but finding out these things were great.    I would get into Star Wars but the whole prequel sequel thing confuses me.  Tee hee.  I’m just lazy.

Repetitiveness should be “different”


Rocky is a great example.  We know exactly what’s gonna happen in every Rocky film.  He’s gonna struggle and overcome the odds to win.  But HOW it’s portrayed is different every single time.  The training scenes are different, the villains are different, hell even the locations are different.  Point is, it’s the same thing but displayed in a new format.  And it works.

New and Interesting Characters

Rocky IV

It’s very tough to just throw in the exact same characters, have a new plot and basically do the whole first movie over again.  Bring in some new blood and don’t make them horrible.  Why do you think all these lame karate movie sequels go straight to video?  Did you know there was a Bloodsport 2?  How about a Kickboxer IV, yes FOUR.    Sure they may have decent video value but these movies suck.  And it’s mostly because they’re recycling the same old characters.  Why is Rocky successful?  Despite him always training, always overcoming odds, it’s a new villain each time (except in the second one).

Don’t Use the Same Lines Over and Over (and dumber)


This one goes mostly for comedy movies.  I’ll give you a classic example.  Ace Ventura 2 was damned funny in its own right.  In fact I think it’s much funnier than most comedies out there.  But there were some vintage lines he used in the first that were way too embellished in the second.  The line “Re-hee-heee-eeelly” was drawn out for like a minute in the second movie.  You just can’t do stuff like that.  If you’re gonna use the same lines over please add some twists or something.  Don’t make it more animated and “dumbed” down.

  • J5

    I have seen kickboxer 4 and let me just say, it was bad, but in no way worse than Rush Hour 2 (or 3).

    Then again the whole time I was watching kickboxer 4 I was thinking “Ha! That’s the dude from Step by Step.”

    I’m actually surprised you didnt include Tremors 2 as a good example.
    “I feel I was denied critical, need to know, information. I am completely out of ammunition…..I dont think that’s ever happened to me before.”
    Awesome movie.

  • jaromir

    …just had to add that I too prefer Godfather II to the original.

  • Drester

    I was thinking about other movies where the sequel is better then the original. The only one I could think of is Manhunter, which is the first Hannibal Lector movie.

  • Madison

    @ Drester

    What about Terminator 2 or Aliens? I prefer X-2 to X-Men, Spidey 2 to Spidey…

  • Levi

    @ Drester

    Seen Red Dragon? I liked it better than Silence of the Lambs.

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  • Bert

    @Drester, three words for you – The Dark Knight.

  • Bryan

    I’m with Madison. I’ll throw out Empire Strikes Back, too.

  • Choy

    Studio executive decision making process before authorizing a bad sequel:

    Did the original make money?
    yes: make sequel – no: don’t make sequel

    That’s it. Quality, logic of continuing the story, redundancy – none of that matters.