Belated Sequels


I think belated sequels are great! Doesn’t everybody? Like remarriage, they represent the triumph of hope over experience, as studios pray that for once the desperate target of making a follow-up to a film their audience only vaguely remembers, with clapped-out stars or new nobodies, will respark fading careers and fill box office tills. Here are some that should happen.

LAST TANGO IN PARIS 2. Admittedly, both stars of the original are dead, but Jean-Pierre Leaud is still clinging to life and sanity and Bernardo Bertolucci may be poorly but it’s not like we’re asking him to do the shagging. Would necessitate retroactively retitling the previous installment, George Lucas fashion — something like NEXT-TO-LAST TANGO IN PARIS. So maybe the new one could be POSITIVELY LAST TANGO IN PARIS, though that would be a hostage to fortune come the inevitable Part III. Still, even if we’re unsure about the title and cast, we have a slogan and so the thing should immediately be greenlit: “LAST TANGO II: Just when you thought it was safe to whack off in the butter.”

DR STRANGELOVE II: DR STRANGERLOVER. It might seem that destroying the world at the end of the first film would preclude a follow-up, but there is precedent here — EVIL DEAD II opted to pretend the first film never happened, and stage a mini-remake with Bruce Campbell and a new co-star. So the urgent need to address global warming, the new end-of-the-world peril, can be assuaged with a film in which, I don’t know, Eddie Murphy or somebody puts on some masks and pretends to be different people while we all boil to death in our own industrial effluent. And Kubrick’s heirs can reassure us that it’s what Stanley intended all along.

BIRTH OF A NATION II: AFTERBIRTH OF A NATION. Cinephiles have long agonized over the fraught position of DW Griffith’s epic. Historically and artistically significant, yet morally and politically abhorrent. Could not the problem be solved altogether with a belated sequel? In this thoughtful reworking by Ron Howard, the second half of BOAN, which contains all the really unspeakable stuff, turns out to have been a dream sequence. The Little Colonel comes out of the shower and realizes it was all just an overheated fantasy brought on by the trauma of losing the Civil War and eating too much cheese. Then he fights the Klan, possibly by joining the FBI or something. We can get a CGI Lillian Gish. It’ll be super.


SE7EN 2WO. The hard-hitting sequel to SE7EN in which Kevin Spacey plays the nicer brother of his character from the David Fincher classic, Jim Doe, who is out to kill people in ways reflecting ironically on the Seven Cardinal Virtues. “It’s a less dark, less rainy film, and Jim Doe is really a positive guy,” explains Spacey. “Instead of trying to point at all the evil in the world, he wants to use his murdering to highlight the good things.” Baz Luhrmann will direct, as long as they agree to add an exclamation mark.


2005: SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE. This one would be exciting because it’s not only a sequel to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY but also a prequel to 2010: ODYSSEY II. It’ll also be a futuristic science fiction film set in the past, which is obviously twice as exciting. “It’s what Stanley would have wanted,” say heirs. It’s set after astronaut Dave Bowman disappeared near Jupiter, but before he turned up again, so I guess he won’t be in it. Mostly I guess it would be about Dr. Heywood Floyd relaxing at home. Since he has a dolphin in his living room (and possibly a bush baby by now) it’ll be by far the cutest film in the series.

BARRY LYNDON II. Basically three hours of a one-legged Ryan O’Neal losing at cards. Kubrick’s heirs voice quiet doubts.

THE GREAT ESCAPE II. Contemporary setting. POW camp is still running, having somehow been missed at the end of the war. Producers are determined to unite as many of the original cast as possible, including those whose characters died in the first film. So, David McCallum, who is basically immune to old age it seems. Expect extensive flashbacks.


KING KONG DOESN’T LIVE. In an effort to expunge the memory of his misguided sequel to his KONG remake, John Guillermin will return to the director’s chair to lens this epic production. “It starts with Kong coming out of the shower,” he explains, “Which is the waterfall he bathes in with Jessica Lange, and then we realize that the last half of KONG and the whole of KONG LIVES were a dream. A giant gorilla’s dream.” Guillermin hopes to reunite Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin, “Because they’re all still alive, unlike that GREAT ESCAPE crowd.” The sequel will pick up exactly where the middle of KONG leaves off, with Guillermin explaining the cast looking 36 years older as “The effects of the shock of seeing this giant gorilla. I mean, I aged ten years when I saw that stupid heap of junk Carlo Rambaldi had built.”

13 Responses to “Belated Sequels”

  1. Allow me to suggest a different direction for a “Last Tango in Paris” sequel: “Last Waltz in Paris”, in which a middle-aged hotelier dazed from the loss of his wife finds a sense of purpose when by chance he runs into Robbie Robertson and tries to convince him to get the Band back together again for a last performance at his hotel. Scorsese can direct.

  2. The line-up of The Band hasn’t fared much better than the cast of The Great Escape. Maybe they can get the guy who impersonated Crispin Glover in Back to the Future II to play Rick Danko.

  3. I’d like to see Joey Dammit, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Toby’s illegitimate son in Romania to make a cut-rate horror film, being haunted by the same grinning devil child, now all grown up (Glenn Close).

    Peculia, the fantastical adventures of Julie Christie and Richard Chamberlain’s precocious children, directed by Michel Gondry.

    Celine & Julie Go Jetskiing: Celine and Julie have lost touch over the years, but Julie’s daughter Celine (Mia Wasikowska) and Celine’s daughter Julie (Adele Exarchopoulos) meet by chance on a beach vacation.

  4. There actually is a GREAT ESCAPE II made for TV in 1988. No David McCallum but Donald Pleasence is in it as another character and Ronald Lacey plays Winston Churchill, so it can’t be all bad.

    How about LAST TANGO IN PARIS, TEXAS in which a taciturn Harry Dean Stanton wanders out of the desert seeking to put dairy products to a use for which they were not intended.

  5. All EXCELLENT suggestions.

    Ronald Lacey as Churchill is a delightful notion, the Yin to the Yang of his Nazi creep perf in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  6. Gremlins II : The New Batch ( which I celebrate HERE) was in many ways superior to the first film.

  7. A.I. II:The Robot Kid dies

    A lot of people found Spielberg’s deliberately ambiguous ending to A.I. to be sentimental, despite the fact that it was what Kubrick planned. So now someone who isn’t Spielberg (Fincher?) will direct a 2 hour film that unambiguously shows Hayley Joel Osment’s robot character short-circuiting and then remaining motionless at the bottom of the Ocean, occassionally fish will swim by.
    Kubrick’s heirs reassure us that it’s what Stanley intended all along, although they admit “he probably would’ve been a bit less on-the-nose about the whole thing”

    You probably know this but, in the 90s John Carpenter actually pitched a sequel to The Thing, with Russell and Keith David, surviving, with their aged appearances being put down to frost bite.
    Similarly John Landis spent a year in the 90s on a sequel to American Werewolf. It followed the girl Griffin Dunne’s character fantasized about, coming to London. It’d have Agutter too, and at one point the heroine would go to “The Slaughtered Lamb” and find Brian Glover and Rik Mayall still playing chess.

    Neither sound as bad as what we ended up with

  8. I found myself thinking how certain works of literature needed to sneak onto the screen, so to speak; so, for example, H. P. Lovecraft finally got a screen adaptation but only in disguise as Roger Corman’s “Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Haunted Palace'” which was really “H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward'”. So maybe we should take a hint from this and use sequels to disguise cinematic adaptations of works that for whatever reason that completely resisted all direct attempts to film them.

    Hence I propose “The Big Easy II: Twelve Inches of Paradise”, in which Dennis Quaid, now retired from the force and working as a private detective, is hired by inept and downtrodden Patrolman Mancuso to sniff out corruption in the police force, and only the extensive notes and real-life observations of an obese hot-dog street vendor named Ignatius Reilly provide any clue to the solution of the case.

  9. Landis claimed his American Werewolf follow-up was “too political” for the studio, which boggles the mind but entices also.

    Anthony Shaffer proposed a Wicker Man sequel in which everyone woke up the next day twenty years older, which is what inspired some of my nonsense above.

  10. In Out of the Ashes, a documentary about the rise of the Afghan cricket team, there’s a scene where the devoutly muslim and xenophobic Afghans- “We have rivers better than this!” one announces when he sees the sea- watch a tango display in Argentina with astonishment. Perhaps an Afghan boules team was lurking in the corridors of Paul’s hotel in Paris and attended the tango school…
    alternatively- inspired by Attila Marcel- Last Minuet in Paris: an attempt to revive dancing as a non-contact sport…

  11. Well, the minuet would tie in with Brando’s doomed suggestion that he and Schneider attempt to orgasm without touching.

  12. “Carry On Kong” — A giant, CGI Sid James . . .

  13. The noxious Queen Kong is already a stab in that direction, with Robin Askwith as the helpless hand-candy. A film so terrible that Askwith himself, largely associated with the entirely unwatchable Confessions films, while he was making it was sure it would destroy his career. And maybe it did.

    Still, Sid as Kong, Babs as Ann, Kenneth Williams as Denham, Jim Dale as Driscoll… Bernard Bresslaw as native chief…

    Then there’s…

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