In this era of serial filmmaking, where the MCU is the box office god, it is easy to forget that standalone movies are even a thing anymore. However, some directors are still making movies that are not planned as the first instalment in a series, even if sometimes the results are so awesome that they leave people wishing they were.
It can sometimes seem confusing which films get sequels, as we got a Mary Poppins follow-up that many considered unnecessary, whereas this Neill Blomkamp movie from 2009 has not received one. It was originally a short film by the director and got his career – as well as that of star Sharlto Copley – off the ground. The cliff-hanger ending indicates plans for a follow up, but a decade later we are still waiting to find out what happened to Wikus Van De Merwe.
One of the most beloved movies of the 80s, this film about a group of friends searching for pirate treasure has had people discussing a possible sequel for decades now. The new television shows set in that period, like Stranger Things, could actually help this one happen – although a reboot with new cast is more likely.
Big Trouble in Little China
The reason this 1986 action comedy movie from John Carpenter didn’t get a sequel is simply that it was a flop at the time. It has gained an enthusiastic fan base in the years since though, which has led to calls for a belated sequel. That seems unlikely at this point, as the star Kirk Russell is perhaps a little long in the tooth now, although there is talk of a remake starring current favourite The Rock and he has shown he can handle both action and comedy.
This superhero movie starring Will Smith was a smash in 2008 – grossing $624 million in the US – making the absence of further films a real mystery. What makes it even stranger is that its release coincided with Iron Man launching the MCU and taking the superhero movie into the stratosphere. Apparently a sequel was in development back in 2012 and it still seems like something that would work seven years later.
Master and Commander
This historical epic starring Russell Crowe earned 10 Academy Award nominations and is another film to capture a real cult following in the 16 years since it came out. The material was there for further movies, as it was based on a trilogy of novels, and it was such a high quality adventure that it genuinely deserved to get them. There is not much chance now after so many years and with comic book movies now dominating the thoughts of studios, but it was a real lost opportunity.
We will probably never see sequels to any of these films, although at least one of them looks set to be rebooted. It is a reminder that good ideas slip through the cracks sometimes.