Sequels and Prequels and Remakes, Oh My!/by Morgan Miller

The idea of building on an established story is far from new in the film industry. From trilogies to prequels, remakes to sequels, there’s no denying that movie makers have found a new niche among audiences who want to see their favorite stories expanded on. It is this idea that has allowed Marvel to be successful with its Avengers franchise, given Lucasfilm a platform to share new Star Wars films with younger generations, and paved the way for Disney’s slew of live-action remakes.

On the surface, all seems rosy. 

However, constant retelling and expansion of various stories can also be quite polarizing. For some, the idea is a chance to revisit nostalgic favorites in a fresh light or explore new plots that had always been lurking under the surface. For others, the idea is less appealing. Adding on to previously established stories can come across as unwarranted and, even further, make Hollywood look like it’s running out of ideas.

With these differing characterizations of sequels, prequels, and remakes, I turned to various members of MC’s student body to explore their opinions on the subject.

When asked her thoughts, junior McKenzie Hanson says, “I’m not a huge fan of remakes unless the first one was just really terrible. I think sequels can be good if they’re actually following a plot line, like in a book series. They can also be good if the sequel builds on the plot of a previous movie, especially if it ended on a cliffhanger. Other than that, I feel like they can get old or tell me the same story again with few minor differences. I’m not sure I’ve found a sequel that I prefer to an original.”

Building on this, junior Maddie Messick says, “I like the idea of prequels and sequels because I think it’s interesting to dive back into a world whether it be a movie, a TV series, or books. However, it depends on how well they’re made and if they take away or add unnecessary things to the original story. For example, I quite enjoyed the Disney remake of Aladdin and the new songs for the film. I liked the modern feel that the live action brought to the story.”

Senior Jared Vardaman offered his opinion, stating, “I’m a huge context guy so I love prequels. I love anything that gives me any insight into how or why a character became who he or she is. Sequels, while sometimes not needed, are great ways to continue the stories people have come to love and provide a sense of fulfillment when a chapter of the story comes to a close.”

Senior Casey Kellogg added her views, saying, “I think sequels and prequels can be done well, as long as they’re not just being made to make money. There has to be an actual story to tell. It shouldn’t be like ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ and ‘The Kissing Booth’ sequels that mirror each other: girl who just fell in love with boy #1 questions her relationship for some reason and then has a love triangle with boy #2.”

Junior Grace Morgan says, “I think there’s been success this decade with remakes and sequels. I’m not a fan of live-action remakes, personally, but I know it can be a fun experience to pass on to younger generations if they’re not familiar with the story. There’s always excitement when a new one is announced, but I think they sometimes feel lesser to older viewers. For example, I liked the production design and costumes for the live-action Aladdin, but it didn’t feel like the original to me.”

With these opinions, it’s easy to see that the concept of story expansion is multifaceted among audiences. However, with the announcement of sequels to movies like Dirty Dancing and Space Jam, another prequel for Despicable Me, and live-action remakes for The Little Mermaid and Hercules, it’s clear that the film industry has no plans on slowing down anytime soon.

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