Biopics aside, it is rare that a film will tell the life of a character from cradle to grave; and with good reason, as it is rare that anyones entire life will be filled with enough moments of drama, action or romance. Most movies cover a moment of heightened emotion and extreme circumstance in a persons life. They are about people learning life lessons through a series of events. Once the character has experienced these events and undergone these changes, their story is told; and nothing that could happen to them after or that would have gone before would be anywhere near as interesting. Superheroes aside, of course. And yet there are some characters whose histories appear so rich and interesting that although they might be alluded to leave you salivating to learn more. Likewise, there are some characters that you wish to stay alongside and see what they do after the movie is over. In the culture of modern Hollywood, where any movie that makes a decent buck immediately receives the greenlight for a sequel, prequel or TV series spin off (Smallville
), regardless of the logic or suitability of them (The Hangover 2, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
) these are questions that are often answered. Its not fair to pile the blame exclusively on contemporary producers; after all, Psycho
got two sequels in the eighties, which allowed audiences to learn what Norman did next all of the Universal Monsters got spin-offs and continuations back in the day. We got to see the continued adventures of Popeye Doyle, even though we didnt want/ need to. The same can be said about Jake Gittes and Michael Corleone. And this is not just something that started in the eighties; if anyone is to blame for the constant exploitation of a character/ characters or ideas it is 20th Century Fox, who in the late 60s and early 70s made four follow-ups to the wildly successful Planet of the Apes two sequels and two prequels. And as that same studio prepares release yet another take on the Apes, Im exploring 10 potential follow ups that Hollywood has yet to exploit. Also... be warned there is spoilers
in this piece for the films in question.
Keyser Söze (The Usual Suspects)
Is there a more mysterious character in modern cinema? And while Im satisfied to keep the history of this enigmatic figure confined to the yarn that Verbal Kint (if that is his real name?) concocts from the walls of the interrogation room, I see the definite appeal of a story that tells the tale of Sozes origins, which would no doubt take the form of a modern day Godfather-esque saga. Would Kevin Spacey
get away with playing a younger Kint some 15 years on? Probably not and we doubt he would want to anyone. Re-casting would be needed.
The Bride (Kill Bill)
Its been on the cards since the credits rolled on the first showing of Kill Bill Volume 2
with Quentin Tarantino
himself feeding the rumour mill by suggesting not just was he considering it but had written sections of the third instalment already. The story is rumoured to revolve around Vernita Greens (Vivica Fox
) daughter tracking down The Bride and her daughter to avenge the murder of her mother. Seems like skinny subject matter for an entire movie to me, so expect long Tarantino-style discussions about burgers and beer and anything else popical to pad it out. We are told this one will be coming when Thurman is a little older and realistically the daughters at a more reasonable age for a blood-filled revenge flick.
Luke Skywalker and Co (Star Wars)
With numerous George Lucas
-authorised novels, which see Luke Skywalker training the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo as a Jedi and the rebellion trying to rebuild the republic after the fall of Empire already in print and massively consumed by fans, it just feels inevitable that a Star Wars Episode VII is going to happen at some point. Indeed our very own editor-in-chief Matt Holmes is convinced another Star Wars live-action movie will be put into production before the end of the decade with the three characters above appearing as supporting characters. However, a recast would obviously be needed, which would be met by obvious opposition; and justifiably so. I mean do we have anyone as cool as Harrison Ford to be a modern day Han Solo? But I suppose could anyone do worse than Ewan McGregor
at inhabiting a character from the universe?
Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
A script was written in the late 80s for a sequel to be co-helmed by Robert Zemeckis
and Steven Spielberg
that tracked the early years of Roger how he met Jessica and then involved her being kidnapped by the Nazis and Roger having to drum up support from Toon Town to save her. This was scrapped in the 90s, but because of the enduring appeal of Roger and his curvaceous and vivacious wife, a sequel has never been far from the slate and last year animation/ CGI mad Zemeckis commented positively on the possibility of a follow up, which we presume with his recent history would be motion-captured.
The ending of Leon
is most satisfying because Natalie Portans
Mathilda is afforded the opportunity of a normal life; albeit at the expense of the first man shell ever loved Leon. But almost twenty years after Leon saved her from the street, but bound her to an upbringing in an orphanage, would it surprise anyone if she resorted to a life that utilised the skills the man taught her in order to make ends meet? A sequel that perhaps saw Natalie Portman taking the role of mentor for a young boy/ girl in a similar state that she found herself in and teaching them the lessons that Leon taught her might be box office hot bread! We'd love to see it and Portman's performance in Black Swan has us eager to see where she goes next.
The Vega Brothers (Pulp Fiction & Reservoir Dogs)
More Tarantino, and a project that was heavily rumoured to be the directors fourth directorial outing before being replaced by Kill Bill - this would be a prequel that traces the early years of Vince and Vic Vega, who of course featured in, and were gunned down in Tarantinos first two features. John Travolta
and Michael Madsen
are probably now too long in the tooth to reprise their roles as younger men, unless the film was set temporally close to Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Murder, mayhem, blood and fast paced, pop-culture laden dialogue guaranteed, this could potentially be great fun or a project or extreme self indulgence; the latter of which has never been something Mr. Tarantino has never been accused of.
Spinal Tap (This is Spinal Tap)
With The Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd still touring, whos to say The Tap wouldnt still be doing the rounds. Two years ago Guest, Shearer and McKean performed their greatest hits at Glastonbury to thousands of adoring fans; a movie outing charting the bands continuing misadventures as they find themselves in their autumn years would surely be greeted with delight, if penned by the stars again.
Felix Leiter (The James Bond series)
No fewer than eight actors have played James Bonds American counterpart. Hes been black, white, old, young, shaggy and suave in his outings as the guy who plays second fiddle to Bond, but is yet to get his own spin off. While Jeffrey Wright
(the latest actor to fill the role) might not be strong enough leading man material, Leiter would surely be an easier sell as the lead for a spy series than an original character given his association with Bond. And much like the crossovers in recent Marvel movies, the potential to have a Bond and Leiter series running concurrently with each appearing in the others movie would be box office gold for MGM.
Boba Fett (Star Wars)
One of the most lauded characters in cinema history; Boba Fett is the definition of cool for many fans of The Trilogy. This has always perplexed me given his limited involvement and failure to do anything of any real style or class in the apprehension of Han or then to stop Luke; he is quickly dispatched in Jedi. So a project that exploited this character and perpetuated the idea shared by many fans that Boba is the man would be an easy sell. The story of an intergalactic bounty hunter in the time of The Empire has great scope, potential and appeal and could work as a film or TV show. Indeed, Captain America: The First Avenger
helmer Joe Johnston is trying right now
to get permission off George Lucas to make a movie based on the bounty hunter!
Sonny Corleone (The Godfather)
This is a project that each night I say fifty hail Marys that Hollywood never chooses to exploit; but those who have read The Godfather novel will know that there is a whole section several years prior to the beginning of Part 1 where Sonny makes his bones by working with Luca Brassi to take down the Boston Don who shoots Vito in the throat. Its a riveting read! This was the sequel Mario Puzo wanted to see made in the late 70s and then tried to resurrect before his death in the late 90s. A new cast would be needed to make this a reality and no one could ever or should ever be recast in these roles. That said, would anyone in 1974 have been in favour of a little-known actor named Robert De Niro playing a younger version of a character that Marlon Brando had made his own just two years earlier?