It feels like now more than ever before sequels have become the dominant form of life on Earth. They rule the release schedules of major studios, and they tend to make the most money at the box office; this might be good for business, but it doesnt speak highly of their ability to come up with fresh ideas. Sequels are regularly slammed for their inbuilt lack of originality, so its a surprise to learn that some original movies started out as follow-ups to something else. The reasons for this are varied; maybe the actors refused to come back for a sequel, but the studio felt the concept was strong enough to merit a movie anyway. Or maybe the story didn't work as a sequel, so it was reworked into something else. In some cases the movies sequel origins are plain to see; and in others theyve changed so radically its near impossible to tell. Heres a rundown of ten movies that abandoned their sequel roots to become standalone films; whether or not they were better for doing this is a matter of personal opinion.
10. The French Connection III Became Nighthawks
Nighthawks is an underrated Sylvester Stallone thriller from the early eighties, which featured him as a cop hunting down a ruthless terrorist. By all accounts the movie was a nightmare to make, with a revolving door of directors and Stallone being forced to shoot parts of it himself. Upon release it was written off by most critics; they deemed the idea of a terrorist attack on New York to be ludicrous. The original script for Nighthawks was intended to be The French Connection III, with Gene Hackman returning to the role of Popeye Doyle. The basic storyline would have been the same, with the grumpy Popeye being forced to work alongside a wisecracking partner; Richard Pryor was apparently attached to that role. Despite the script being well received Hackman wasnt keen on another Popeye movie, so the idea was abandoned. The script was quickly rewritten to become Nighthawks, with Doyle becoming Stallones detective and Billy Dee Williams playing his partner.