Hollywood seems to have an insatiable appetite for remakes, sequels and reimaginings right now. There is a particular focus on movies from the 80s and 90s, and we imagine that many directors and screenwriters are inspired by the movies of their childhood. Reboots and sequels will undoubtedly excite some fans, whereas others believe the material should be left alone. At times, it works out well for everyone. But for every Planet of the Apes or Star Trek, there seems to be a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Clash of the Titans that should have been left alone.
We aren’t here to judge the merits of rebooting movies, but there are some in the works that we feel might fall flat. While it doesn’t matter to some fans whether the studio makes money or not, there is an almost philosophical sense that a bad reboot can act to cheapen the original. Below we look at five films in the works that we fear could leave fans sorely disappointed.
The Matrix 4
Matrix Revolutions didn’t satisfy everyone with its conclusion, but it was pretty definitive. News that Matrix 4 had started filming will have been greeted with a couple of raised eyebrows, especially given the fact that both Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss would be back in starring roles. The problem we foresee is that there will likely be a retelling of what we believe to be Matrix canonical history, and that often leads to messy sequels. Fans tend to react badly when new threats (see Supreme Leader Snoke/Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars) are shoehorned into a movie’s historical canon. We will be intrigued to see what Lilly Wachowski comes up with, but we won’t hold our breath.
If any film would be deemed to have a definitive ending, then it is the Oscar-winning Gladiator. After all, almost every lead character was killed off, and we imagine that there is no Matrix-style storyline that can bring them back. We are told the new movie will be set 25/30 years later, with Lucius (the Emperor’s nephew in the original) taking a lead role. The problem here is that we are dealing with historical fiction, so calling it a sequel seems a bit strange. Moreover, there is a sense that we are going to be treated to more of the same. That might be a good thing for fans who want to see epic arena battles, but something tells us that the Academy Awards won’t be flowing this time around.
Bill and Ted Face the Music
In theory, Bill and Ted seems ripe for a sequel. But will it work? It’s difficult to say. The two original films have plenty of fans, but not exactly what we would call fandom. You can see a superb Bill and Ted casino game, as well as a great selection of 3d roulette, at SlotsHeaven, but the movies don’t seem to exist ‘outside of themselves’ in popular culture. Yes, fans will greet another Reeves sequel with delight, but is it really a role for the actor at his age? The bigger fear, however, is that the new Bill and Ted could feel out of its time (pun intended). Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey were made with the wide-eyed optimism of the late 80s and early 90s. It’s a more cynical world now, and calling for us to “be excellent to each other” might ring hollow in modern ears.
Beverly Hills Cop 4
Hmmm. Eddie Murphy looks set for a career rebirth after winning deserved praise for his performance in Dolemite Is My Name. A sequel to Coming to America is set to land in December, but it is Beverly Hills Cop 4 that we have an eye on. Like Bill and Ted above, the original BHC films portrayed a Los Angeles (and an America) that doesn’t really exist any more. Themes like Racism were treated with a casualness that no longer fits the narrative. Murphy does not seem to fear tackling such subjects, but his wise-cracking Axel Foley character might find there is more to explore with the fish out of water story. If they get this right, it could be great. But simply revisiting Beverly Hills Cop for nostalgia might go badly wrong.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Finishing with what is perhaps a controversial choice. The fourth Thor film is set to star Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, with Taika Waititi in the director’s chair. So far, that sounds great, as does the idea of exploring Lady Thor as taking over the franchise in the cinema. Moreover, we know from the comics that there are lots of cool directions to go. However, some fans believe Thor should have said goodbye like the other members of Marvel’s Big 3 (Captain America, Iron Man) at the end of Avengers: Endgame. It’s going to be a few years before we see Love and Thunder, and Waititi will make sure it’s funny, but we might all be suffering MCU fatigue by then. We really want to be wrong on this one.