Wednesday, June 3, 2015

7 Classic Geek-Friendly Franchises That Deserve A Sequel


It seems pretty safe to say that Mad Max: Fury Road is a bona fide success at this point. The new installment of director George Miller's post-apocalyptic wasteland saga is earning near-universal praise from critics while raking in box-office revenue, and yet the most impressive aspect of Fury Road's success just might be the fact that it's the follow-up to a film released more than 30 years ago.

This year's movie slate also features sequels for the Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchises that pick up where Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi left off 32 years ago and Jurassic Park III concluded a mere 14 years ago, respectively. If nothing else, it's proof that it doesn't take a reboot to make everything old feel new again.


Given all of this interest in bringing older franchises back into the spotlight again, one can't help wondering about some of the other, geeky series that might benefit from a modern sequel. Here are seven older geeky movie franchises that seem ready for a new chapter:

Gremlins


What's not to like about the idea of bringing cute, cuddly Gizmo back for another adventure with his creepy, crazy, reptilian offspring? A return to the darker, more horror-influenced tone of the original, 1984 film (and away from the sillier 1990 sequel) might serve the series well, but one thing is certain: practical effects are the way to go with any Gremlins movie. Heck, maybe a new movie could offer a bit more info about the origins of the mogwai – just as long as it eschews digitally-created creatures in telling the story.

Darkman


Sam Raimi's grim 1990 superhero movie Darkman cast Liam Neeson as a scientist who's left for dead by mobsters who wreck his lab, only to develop superhuman strength and a fantastic capacity for pain. It spawned a pair of forgettable direct-to-video sequels, but the original film was a precursor to the “dark” comic-book movies that became all too common in the years to follow.

Although the title character borrowed liberally from the pulp hero The Shadow, there were some unique – and extremely compelling – elements of the character that merited more attention, but failed to receive it in the subsequent installments. Give this one to an up-and-coming director and see what he can do with its unstable, ultraviolent hero.

Revenge of the Nerds


Yesterday's nerds are today's billionaire CEOs and tech celebrities, so it would be interesting to see Lewis Skolnick and the rest of his Lambda Lambda Lambda brothers called upon to champion a different group of outsiders that find themselves victimized by bullies. Want to give the movie a fun twist? Make the villains a group of elitist nerds and get the old Tri-Lamb crew back together to help out a bunch of phys-ed students (or possibly some downtrodden college athletes) being victimized by the snobby math and science majors.

The NeverEnding Story


The two sequels to this 1984 film failed to capture the magic of the original, but enough time has passed – and enough has changed in the world – to make the idea of revisiting the land of Fantasia an appealing prospect. What happens to that magical world when more and more people – including the youngest generations – opt to go digital with their reading material? And more importantly, what's Falkor been up to all this time?

Mortal Kombat


Sure, there's been a great webseries and various other fan-made iterations of the game-turned-movie franchise released over the last decade or so, but a potential big-screen reboot has been mired in development hell since the credits rolled on 1997's Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Rather than go the reboot route, however, a sequel could re-establish the series' continuity and takes a lesson from some of the aforementioned webseries' success with aping classic kung-fu sagas.

Back to the Future


Purists will almost certainly scoff at this one, but let's be honest: Time-travel plot devices make anything possible, even unlikely sequels. Back in 1990, Back to the Future III concluded with Doc Brown flying off to an unknown time aboard a reconfigured locomotive-turned-aircraft, so there's reason to believe we haven't seen the last of ol' Doc. Would it surprise anyone to see him pop up someday with an important mission for Marty McFly's son or daughter – possibly involving some interaction with their parents' timelines? Today's digital-editing software certainly makes it possible to bring such an encounter to the screen, so all that's missing is the right story.

Escape From...


John Carpenter's 1996 sequel to Escape from New York was a critical and commercial flop, but that doesn't mean the world is any less interested in Snake Plissken, Kurt Russell's iconic character from the two films. The patch-eyed special forces operative turned criminal has been the focus of countless comics, fan films, and homages in mainstream media over the years, so there's reason to believe that all he needs is the right treatment to get back in action. And let's not forget that Russell showed some impressive action chops in the recent Furious 7. With the conclusion of Escape From L.A. plunging the world back into a technology-free existence, it would be interesting to see Plissken get back to his roots as society attempts to rebuild itself.

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