A sequel is a work of literature, film, theatre, television, music or video game that continues the story of, or expands upon, some earlier work. In the common context of a narrative work of fiction, a sequel portrays events set in the same fictional universe as an earlier work, usually chronologically following the events of that work.
In many cases, the sequel continues elements of the original story, often with the same characters and settings. A sequel can lead to a series, in which key elements appear repeatedly. Although the difference between more than one sequel and a series is somewhat arbitrary, it is clear that some media franchises have enough sequels to become a series, whether originally planned as such or not.[ citation needed ]
Sequels are attractive to creators and to publishers because there is less risk involved in returning to a story with known popularity rather than developing new and untested characters and settings. Audiences are sometimes eager for more stories about popular characters or settings, making the production of sequels financially appealing.
In film, sequels are very common. There are many name formats for sequels. Sometimes, they either have unrelated titles or have a letter added on the end. More commonly, they have numbers at the end or have added words on the end.[ citation needed ] It is also common for a sequel to have a variation of the original title or have a subtitle. In the 1930s, many musical sequels had the year included in the title. Sometimes sequels are released with different titles in different countries, because of the perceived brand recognition. There are several ways that subsequent works can be related to the chronology of the original. Various neologisms have been coined to describe them.
The most common approach[ citation needed ] is for the events of the second work to directly follow the events of the first one, either resolving remaining plot threads or introducing a new conflict to drive the events of the second story. This is often called a direct sequel. Examples include: Toy Story 2 and The Empire Strikes Back .
A legacy sequel is a work that follows the continuity of the original work(s), but takes place further along the timeline, often focusing on new characters with the original ones still present in the plot. Legacy sequels are sometimes also direct sequels that ignore previous installments entirely, effectively retconning preceding events. Superman Returns , Halloween , Candyman (2021) , Cobra Kai , Blade Runner 2049 , the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Ghostbusters: Afterlife , Terminator: Dark Fate , Tron: Legacy , Top Gun: Maverick , and the Jurassic World Trilogy are examples of legacy sequels.
A standalone sequel is a work set in the same universe, yet has very little, if any, inspiration from its predecessor in terms of its narrative, and can stand on its own without a thorough understanding of the series. Big Top Pee-wee , Home Alone 3 , The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift , Species - The Awakening , Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides , Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance , Mad Max: Fury Road , The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water , Spirit Untamed , Space Jam: A New Legacy , The Suicide Squad and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery are examples of standalone sequels. [ better source needed ]
A spiritual sequel is a work inspired by its predecessor. It shares the same styles, genres and elements as its predecessor, but has no direct connection to it at all. Most spiritual sequels are also set in different universes from their predecessors, and some spiritual sequels aren't even a part of their predecessor's franchise, making them non-franchise sequels. Examples of spiritual sequels in film include 10 Cloverfield Lane , a spiritual sequel to the film Cloverfield , and Mute , a spiritual sequel to the film Moon . The video game Deltarune is also considered a spiritual sequel to Undertale , a similar video game.
A prequel is an installment that is made following the original product which portrays events occurring chronologically before those of the original work.Although its name is based on the word sequel, not all prequels are true sequels that are part of a main series. Prequels that not are part of a main series are called spin-off prequels, while prequels that are part of a main series are called true prequels. An example of a true prequel is Tremors 4: The Legend Begins which took place chronologically before the events of the previous Tremors films. Another example of a true prequel would be Better Call Saul , taking place mainly before Breaking Bad but also having some scenes after and during it.
A sequel to the first sequel might be referred to as a "third installment", a threequel, or a second sequel. Toy Story 3 , The Dark Knight Rises , Captain America: Civil War , The Matrix Revolutions , and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World are examples of "third installment" sequels.
Parallels, paraquels, or sidequels are stories that run at the same point in time as the original story.
Midquel is a term used to refer to works which take place between events. Types include interquels and intraquels. An interquel is a story that takes place in between two previously published or released stories. For example, if 'movie C' is an interquel of 'movies A' and 'B', the events of 'movie C' take place after the events of 'movie A', but before the events of 'movie B'. Examples can include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story of Star Wars and some films of The Fast and the Furious franchise. An intraquel, on the other hand, is a work which focuses on events within a previous work. Examples include Bambi 2 and Black Widow .
Alongside sequels, there are also other types of continuation or inspiration of a previous work.
A spin-off is a work that is not a sequel to any previous works, but is set in the same universe. It is a separate work-on-its-own in the same franchise as the series of other works. Spin-offs are often focused on one or more of the minor characters from the other work or new characters in the same universe as the other work. The Scorpion King , Planes , Minions , Hobbs & Shaw and Lightyear are examples of spin-off movies while Star Trek: The Next Generation and CSI: NY are examples of spin-off television series.
A crossover is a work where two previous works from different franchises are meeting in the same universe. Alien vs. Predator , Freddy vs. Jason , Boa vs. Python and Lake Placid vs. Anaconda are examples of a crossover film.
A reboot is a start over from a previous work. It could either be a film set in a new universe resembling the old one or it could be a regular spin-off film that starts a new film series. Reboots are usually a part of the same media franchise as the previous work(s), but not always. Batman Begins , Casino Royale , Star Trek , Børning , Man of Steel and Terminator: Genisys are examples of reboot films.
In The Afterlife of a Character, David Brewer describes a reader's desire to "see more", or to know what happens next in the narrative after it has ended.
The origin of the sequel as it is conceived in the 21st century developed from the novella and romance traditions in a slow process that culminated towards the end of the 17th century.
The substantial shift toward a rapidly growing print culture and the rise of the market system by the early 18th-century meant that an author's merit and livelihood became increasingly linked to the number of copies of a work he or she could sell. This shift from a text-based to an author-centered reading cultureled to the "professionalization" of the author – that is, the development of a "sense of identity based on a marketable skill and on supplying to a defined public a specialized service it was demanding." In one sense, then, sequels became a means to profit further from previous work that had already obtained some measure of commercial success. As the establishment of a readership became increasingly important to the economic viability of authorship, sequels offered a means to establish a recurring economic outlet.
In addition to serving economic profit, the sequel was also used as a method to strengthen an author's claim to his literary property. With weak copyright laws and unscrupulous booksellers willing to sell whatever they could, in some cases the only way to prove ownership of a text was to produce another like it. Sequels in this sense are rather limited in scope, as the authors are focused on producing "more of the same" to defend their "literary paternity".As is true throughout history, sequels to novels provided an opportunity for authors to interact with a readership. This became especially important in the economy of the 18th century novel, in which authors often maintained readership by drawing readers back with the promise of more of what they liked from the original. With sequels, therefore, came the implicit division of readers by authors into the categories of "desirable" and "undesirable"—that is, those who interpret the text in a way unsanctioned by the author. Only after having achieved a significant reader base would an author feel free to alienate or ignore the "undesirable" readers.
This concept of "undesirable" readers extends to unofficial sequels with the 18th century novel. While in certain historical contexts unofficial sequels were actually the norm (for an example, see Arthurian literature), with the emphasis on the author function that arises in conjunction with the novel many authors began to see these kinds of unauthorized extensions as being in direct conflict with authorial authority. In the matter of Don Quixote (an early novel, perhaps better classified as a satirical romance), for example, Cervantes disapproved of Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda's use of his characters in Second Volume of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, an unauthorized sequel. In response, Cervantes very firmly kills the protagonist at the end of the Second Part to discourage any more such creative liberties.Another example is Samuel Richardson, an 18th-century author who responded particularly strongly against the appropriation of his material by unauthorized third parties. Richardson was extremely vocal in his disapproval of the way the protagonist of his novel Pamela was repeatedly incorporated into unauthorized sequels featuring particularly lewd plots. The most famous of these is Henry Fielding's parody, entitled Shamela .
In To Renew Their Former Acquaintance: Print, Gender, and Some Eighteenth Century Sequels, Betty Schellenberg theorizes that whereas for male writers in the 18th century sequels often served as "models of paternity and property", for women writers these models were more likely to be seen as transgressive. Instead, the recurring readership created by sequels let female writers function within the model of "familiar acquaintances reunited to enjoy the mutual pleasures of conversation", and made their writing an "activity within a private, non-economic sphere". Through this created perception women writers were able to break into the economic sphere and "enhance their professional status" through authorship.
Dissociated from the motives of profit and therefore unrestrained by the need for continuity felt by male writers, Schellenberg argues that female-authored sequel fiction tended to have a much broader scope.[ citation needed ] He says that women writers showed an "innovative freedom" that male writers rejected to "protect their patrimony". For example, Sarah Fielding's Adventures of David Simple and its sequels Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple and David Simple, Volume the Last are extremely innovative and cover almost the entire range of popular narrative styles of the 18th century.
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As the cost of developing a triple-A video game has risen,sequels have become increasingly common in the video game industry. Today, new installments of established brands make up much of the new releases from mainstream publishers and provide a reliable source of revenue, smoothing out market volatility. Sequels are often perceived to be safer than original titles because they can draw from the same customer base, and generally keep to the formula that made the previous game successful.
In some cases, the characters or the settings of an original film or video game become so valuable that they develop into a series, lately referred to as a media franchise. Generally, a whole series of sequels is made, along with merchandising. Multiple sequels are often planned well in advance, and actors and directors may sign extended contracts to ensure their participation. This can extend into a series/ franchise's initial production's plot to provide story material to develop for sequels called sequel hooks.
Movie sequels do not always do as well at the box office as the original, but they tend to do better than non-sequels, according to a study in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Business Research. The shorter the period between releases, the better the sequel does at the box office. Sequels also show a faster drop in weekly revenues relative to non-sequels.
Sequels are most often produced in the same medium as the previous work (e.g. a film sequel is usually a sequel to another film). Producing sequels to a work in another medium has recently become common, especially when the new medium is less costly or time-consuming to produce.
A sequel to a popular but discontinued television series may be produced in another medium, thereby bypassing whatever factors led to the series' cancellation.
Some highly popular movies and television series have inspired the production of multiple novel sequels, sometimes rivaling or even dwarfing the volume of works in the original medium.
For example, the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians , its 1961 animated adaptation and that film's 1996 live-action remake each have a sequel unrelated to the other sequels: respectively The Starlight Barking (1967), 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003, direct to video) and 102 Dalmatians (2000).
Sometimes sequels are produced without the consent of the creator of the original work. These may be dubbed unofficial, informal, unauthorized, or illegitimate sequels. In some cases, the work is in the public domain, and there is no legal obstacle to producing sequels. An example would be books and films serving as sequels to the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is in the public domain (as opposed to its 1939 film adaptation). In other cases, the original creator or their heirs may assert copyrights, and challenge the creators of the sequels.
Retroactive continuity, or retcon for short, is a literary device in which facts in the world of a fictional work which have been established through the narrative itself are adjusted, ignored, supplemented, or contradicted by a subsequently published work which recontextualizes or breaks continuity with the former.
Star Wars is an American epic space opera multimedia franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into various films and other media, including television series, video games, novels, comic books, theme park attractions, and themed areas, comprising an all-encompassing fictional universe. Star Wars is one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
A remake is a film, television series, video game, song or similar form of entertainment that is based upon and retells the story of an earlier production in the same medium—e.g., a "new version of an existing film". A remake tells the same story as the original but uses a different cast, and may alter the theme or change the story's setting. A similar but not synonymous term is reimagining, which indicates a greater discrepancy between, for example, a movie and the movie it is based on.
A prequel is a literary, dramatic or cinematic work whose story precedes that of a previous work, by focusing on events that occur before the original narrative. A prequel is a work that forms part of a backstory to the preceding work.
A tie-in work is a work of fiction or other product based on a media property such as a film, video game, television series, board game, web site, role-playing game or literary property. Tie-ins are authorized by the owners of the original property, and are a form of cross-promotion used primarily to generate additional income from that property and to promote its visibility.
Alien vs. Predator is a science-fiction action horror media franchise created by comic book writers Randy Stradley and Chris Warner. The series is a crossover between, and part of, the larger Alien and Predator franchises, depicting the two species as being in conflict with one another. It began as a comic book series in 1989, before being adapted into a video game series in the 1990s. Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film series began with Alien vs. Predator (2004), directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and was followed by Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), directed by the Brothers Strause, and the development of a third film has been delayed indefinitely. The series has led to numerous novels, comics, and video game spin-offs such as Aliens vs. Predator released in 2010.
A crossover is the placement of two or more otherwise discrete fictional characters, settings, or universes into the context of a single story. They can arise from legal agreements between the relevant copyright holders, unofficial efforts by fans, or common corporate ownership.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is a 1996 multimedia project created by Lucasfilm. The idea was to create a story set between the films The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and to explore all commercial possibilities of a full motion picture release without actually making a film. The venture was intended to reinvigorate interest in the franchise ahead of the theatrical Special Editions of the Star Wars trilogy released the following year.
In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story by its fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction. The alternative terms mythology, timeline, universe and continuity are often used, with the first of these being used especially to refer to a richly detailed fictional canon requiring a large degree of suspension of disbelief, while the latter two typically refer to a single arc where all events are directly connected chronologically. Other times, the word can mean "to be acknowledged by the creator(s)".
A film adaptation is the transfer of a work or story, in whole or in part, to a feature film. Although often considered a type of derivative work, film adaptation has been conceptualized recently by academic scholars such as Robert Stam as a dialogic process.
The term expanded universe, sometimes called an extended universe, is generally used to denote the "extension" of a media franchise with other media, generally comics and original novels. This typically involves new stories for existing characters already developed within the franchise, but in some cases entirely new characters and complex mythology are developed. This is not necessarily the same as an adaptation, which is a retelling of the same story that may or may not adhere to accepted canon. It is contrasted with a sequel that merely continues the previous narrative in linear sequence. Nearly every media franchise with a committed fan base has some form of expanded universe.
A spiritual successor is a product or fictional work that is similar to, or directly inspired by, another previous work, but does not explicitly continue the product line or media franchise of its predecessor, and is thus only a successor "in spirit". Spiritual successors often have similar themes and styles to their source material, but are generally a distinct intellectual property.
A media franchise, also known as a multimedia franchise, is a collection of related media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work of fiction, such as a film, a work of literature, a television program or a video game. Bob Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, defined the word franchise as "something that creates value across multiple businesses and across multiple territories over a long period of time".
Alien is a science-fiction horror and action media franchise centered on the film series which depicts warrant officer Ellen Ripley and her battles with an extraterrestrial lifeform, commonly referred to as "the Alien" or Xenomorph.
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, film, video game or any narrative work, derived from already existing works that focus on more details and different aspects from the original work.
Underworld is a series of dark fantasy action horror films created by Len Wiseman, Kevin Grevioux, and Danny McBride, that follows characters who are caught up in a war between vampires and werewolves. Most of the movies star Kate Beckinsale as the protagonist, Selene, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The first film, Underworld, was released in 2003; it introduces Selene, an elite vampire-warrior who defies her orders, and Michael Corvin, a human who gets caught up in the war. The second film, Underworld: Evolution follows Selene and Michael as they are hunted by their enemies. The third film, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), is the prequel to the series, chronicling the origins of the vampire-lycan war. The fourth film, Underworld: Awakening (2012) is the sequel to Underworld: Evolution. In this film, humans have discovered the existence of vampires and lycans, and are trying to eradicate both species. A final film, titled Underworld: Blood Wars, was released internationally on November 24, 2016, and in the United States on January 6, 2017.
A shared universe or shared world is a fictional universe from a set of creative works where more than one writer independently contributes a work that can stand alone but fits into the joint development of the storyline, characters, or world of the overall project. It is common in genres like science fiction. It differs from collaborative writing in which multiple artists are working together on the same work and from crossovers where the works and characters are independent except for a single meeting.
Star Wars has been expanded to media other than the original films. This spin-off material is licensed and moderated by Lucasfilm, though during his involvement with the franchise Star Wars creator George Lucas reserved the right to both draw from and contradict it in his own works. Such derivative works have been produced concurrently with, between, and after the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies, as well as the spin-off films and television series. Commonly explored media include books, comic books, and video games, though other forms such as audio dramas have also been produced.
The Army of the Dead franchise consists of American zombie-action horror installments, which serve as spiritual sequels to the 2004 re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead (1978). The franchise consists of a streaming release movie that was also released in theaters for a limited time, and a spin-off prequel film, with future installments in various degrees of development.
Prequels focus on the action that took place before the original narrative. For instance, in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith the audience learns about how Darth Vader originally became a villain. A prequel assumes that the audience is familiar with the original—the audience must rework the narrative so that they can understand how the prequel leads up to the beginning of the original.
Of particular interest to me in this essay is the shift from a text-based to an author-based culture, accompanied by a developing elevation of the original author over the imitative one.
The trajectory line for triple-A games ... goes up tenfold every 10 years and has since at least 1995 or so ...