5 Things Filmmaking

Sequels

By Nicholas Nesbitt & Gentlemen

Hi! I’ve teamed up with Gentlemen to bring you an article on the process of filmmaking. Enjoy ;)

1. Stick to the plan

J.J. Abrams recently admitted that there should have been more of a plan going into the latest Star Wars sequels. If that trilogy taught us anything it’s that you shouldn’t play a billion-dollar game of Exquisite Corpse while trying to build a franchise. It won’t go well.

Another hindrance to building a good franchise seems to be studio meddling. Studios are notorious for wanting the same but, different. One of the big reasons sequels are greenlit is to make more money, but good movies can’t be made from studio notes.

Trust must be given to the director that their vision is the right direction to go in. A clear creative vision is something that has to be there from the start and needs to be nurtured through the filmmaking process to produce a series of classic films.

2. Everyone deserves a second chance

Nobody wants the party to end, and if done right, sequels are like a cool afterparty that lets us go back to that cinematic world we love and do IT again. Very often sequels and trilogies are associated with high-concept genre movies. But, there are movies like The Godfather Part II and Before Sunset that are unique and something to be admired in a world of rehash. These movies lovingly look back at their predecessor and carve new ground. It's a wonderful journey that can only have been delivered in the format of cinema.

As time passes in our own lives, we see things from different perspectives. In a sequel, filmmakers can take advantage of how actors age, change and grow. This can be a wonderful thing to capture on film.

3. Mission Impossible

We all want more of what we love but there is a danger in ruining it. If you are going to make a sequel or a prequel to something people adore, the creators need to make sure they put the time in to make it as good or better than the first iteration.

You can’t rely on regurgitating the same things that worked before. Yes, you must have some of the original tones that people loved but it has to find its own voice. There is no science behind making a successful franchise. It’s almost an impossible mission to keep fans happy whilst keeping things original.

It’s a delicate balancing act between reminding people of the thing they loved and showing them something new.

4. Roboot?

As Pop Culture moves on and a new generation defines itself, it's risky business to try something new. It’s understandable to see how tempting it is for Hollywood to dust off that cult classic blockbuster and reboot it for a new audience. The world doesn’t need more reboots but it does make for good business.

They’ve somewhat become our myths and legends. Every generation needs to express and define themselves through these fables. As humans, that’s what we do best, tell stories. Stories that we love will inevitably be retold in new ways.

Sentimentality is often why an older generation distrusts restarts. Their version of the franchise will always be beloved but if done right and with enough care, creativity, and sensitivity to the source material, something original comes along and makes everyone happy.

5. Create a universe

Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Nope… Just ask Marvel.

They have shown us how sequels can intertwine and develop characters in a cinematic medium that previously only comic books could. If you ask Marty Scorsese they have changed cinema for the worse, but love or hate it, it’s here to stay.

What marvel has proven is that serialised cinema can create a rich universe. Not all universes need to be so blatant. For instance, Tarantino himself confirmed the existence of a shared universe in his movies. Although his movies are not technically sequels there is a connected world that they all take place in and there are numerous easter eggs to be found.

As David Lynch says “There is still room to dream”. This new kind of storytelling opens the door for world-building. Leaving room for fandom and future creators to fill in the blanks. As more young filmmakers make their mark it’s exciting to think of what universes they will take us to next. The possibilities are endless.

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