Have you ever wished there was a sequel to one of your favourite films, but you were worried that maybe the filmmakers would just screw it up? Or are you confident that there's a surprising story further down the road for that character that demands a Rocky to Rocky Balboa type lurch out of retirement? Maybe sometimes it seems like a pipe dream that these fantasy sequels will happen, but strangely and occasionally - they happen by accident. I was first struck by the notion of 'Imaginary Sequels' when I finally got around to watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off about five or six years ago, and as I watched the film I had this strange bizarre feeling that Alexander Payne's film Election (also starring Matthew Broderick) was the sequel to this film. I'm sure that by casting Matthew Broderick as Jim McAllister an embittered high school teacher who tries to thwart the school polls, Payne was consciously captialising on his iconic role as school skipping rogue Ferris, but I can't imagine Payne ever set out to create a film that would act a Truffaut-like second part of Bueller's life; just as Love at Twenty caught up with The 400 Blows' Antoine Doinel. Sure, there's a dopey argument that any actor who doesn't really play characters is always playing the same role and you could facetiously argue that Ladyhawke, The Cable Guy and The Lion King are all sequels to Ferris Bueller's Day Off; but that's more a comment on Broderick's range. So, to be an 'imaginary sequel' there has to be some sort of thematic continuation and there is a brilliant arc inherent in the end of Ferris Bueller and the opening of Election. Bueller is the eternal high-schooler, so eager to cut class that ultimately he winds up staying on forever, becoming a teacher, becoming Jeffrey Jones' Ed Rooney in his own right and going to extreme lengths to orchestrate the comeuppance of one of his least liked pupils; in this instance Tracy Flick. This lends further irony to McAllister's dreams of driving around in a fancy sports car as it becomes more of a wistful flashback to those bygone days hanging around with Sloane and Cameron back in '86. 80's teen flicks are a good place to go hunting for 'imaginary sequels', none more so than in the back catalogue of John Cusack and making the not too difficult connection between Cameron Crowe's 1989 debut Say Anything and Cusack's 1997 comeback Grosse Point Blank; in which high school vanishing act Martin Blank returns for his 10 year reunion now a hitman; heck, both films feature Jeremy Piven and Joan Cusack. There are films that, by the inclusion of other movie's characters become pseudo-sequels or, at least, exist within the same universe; such as Michael Keaton's Ray Nicolette appearing in both Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight and, furthermore, George Clooney's character Jack Foley in Out of Sight could be the small time grifter that got busted and later became Danny Ocean, assembling his team for three diminshing returns, especially as both films share the same director. Tarantino is guilty of plenty of imaginary sequels, naming Reservoir Dog's Mr. Blonde Vic Vega meant that he was, in fact, the brother of Pulp Fiction's Vincent Vega and a The Vega Brothers spin-off was touted (but thankfully, thus far, never made). Likewise, John Landis turning Coming To America into a sister film of Trading Places by throwing in a wonderfully gratuitous cameo by the now homeless Duke brothers handed a huge wad of cash, ironically, by Eddie Murphy's Prince Akeem (Murphy's Eddie Valentine helped bankrupt the Duke's in Trading Places). The most blatant culrpit of imaginary sequel-ing though is Rob Reiner's film Rumor Has It, which is a meta-sequel to The Graduate in so much that Jennifer Aniston's Sarah discovers that her family was the inspiration for the film The Graduate and she may be the result of the filmic finale. Originally Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft were circling 'reprising' their roles for the film, but sadly Bancroft passed away and production wouldn't wait for Hoffman's schedule to free up. It's a strange companion tale to that of Jonathan Hensleigh's script Simon Says, which began as a stand alone thriller, before being considered as the third Lethal Weapon movie and then wound up becoming Die Hard With A Vengeance and the Hans Gruber connection subtly (ahem) shoe-horned into the screenplay. Similarly if you retitled any number of Bruce Willis films (Mercury Rising, Striking Distance, Cop Out) as Die Hard: Something there'd probably make for a better film than Die Hard 4.0. Are there any films out that you feel are spiritual sequels to other movies? Or can someone best me and come up with an imaginary trilogy? Answers on a postcard (or in the comments below), please!