7 movies that started out as sequels to much loved films

  • 7 movies that started out as sequels to much loved films

Not long ago we looked at films with original scripts that, during development, turned into sequels - but what about when things go the other way?

In this article, we're looking at scripts and ideas that started life as plans for sequels, but, for one reason or another, became original films with no relation to the original film.

Films like...

8. Django was originally the main character of The Hateful Eight

When he set about writing The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino had Django as one of the characters in a film that was titled Django in White Hell.

Tarantino revealed in an interview: "so I started writing, and it was basically just the stagecoach stuff... instead of Major Warren, it was Django. I hadn’t got to Minnie’s Haberdashery yet, hadn’t figured out who the other people would be there, just kind of, just setting this mystery into place.”

As the story developed, Tarantino felt that Django was too much of a hero to be in the room full of unsavoury characters and deadly standoffs.

"There should be no moral centre," Tarantino explained, "I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can't trust a word anybody says."

So Django was changed to Major Warren and Tarantino fave Samuel L. Jackson was cast in what would become possibly Tarantino's most blood-soaked movie to date.

7. Minority Report was planned to be a sequel to Total Recall

With the success of Total Recall, TriStar Pictures picked another Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report, to develop as a sequel to the mind-bending Arnie sci-fi adventure.

Total Recall writers Ronald Shusett and Gary Goldman developed a screenplay which took place on Mars, and what would become Minority Report's precogs were originally the people mutated by the Martian atmosphere who helped Quaid stop crime before it happened.

The project fell apart, and years later 20th Century Fox hired writer Jon Cohen to start a script from scratch.

The only element from the Shusett and Goldman Minority Report script was the sequence in the car factory, which was loved by director Stephen Spielberg.

See also | 7 sequels that started out as completely different movies

6. Predator started out as a joke about Rocky V

Having defeated Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and ending the Cold War, there was a widespread joke in Hollywood that Rocky was running out of people to box, and if there was to be a Rocky V, he would have to fight a space alien.

Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas thought that there was something more than the joke and set about working on a script for a film that named Hunter.

In 1985, 20th Century Fox producer Joel Silver discovered the script and loved the idea; instead of casting Sylvester Stallone, Silver cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the main character after working with him on Commando a few years earlier.

When it was released, Predator was a great success, the deadly cloaked alien became a cultural icon and we were given some dubious sequels and spin-offs.

5. The Collector was written as a Saw prequel but dumped by producers

Largely-forgotten 2009 home invasion horror The Collector was written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, screenwriters of Saw IV, V, VI and Saw 3D, with ideas on it being a prequel to the money-spinning blood-soaked torture porn series.

When producers were presented with Dunstan and Melton's script - titled The Midnight Man - they didn't like it and opposed the idea of having a Saw prequel, dismissing the script.

With faith in their hard work, the pair pushed ahead with the film and Dunstan directed what eventually was released as The Collector, which sees a criminal robbing his employer's country home, only to discover that another criminal has rigged it with a series of deadly, Saw-esque traps.

The film didn't go down well, as throwing as much gore and torture porn only bored audiences - despite that it has since become a bit of a cult favourite and spawned a sequel The Collection, released in 2009.

See also | Our predictions for the 10 surprise hit movies of 2017

4. Solace was supposed to be a mind-bending sequel to Se7en

Riding the wave of success from David Fincher's bleak, depressing Se7en, New Line Cinema picked up a script from Ocean's Eleven writer Ted Griffin in 2002 with intentions to turn it into a sequel called Ei8ht.

The story was about a psychic who helps the FBI find a notorious serial killer, which New Line wanted to be Morgan Freeman’s Se7en character, Detective William Somerset.

When presented to Se7en director David Fincher, he responded: "I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes."

New Line continued with the project, returned the project to its original title Solace, and cast Anthony Hopkins as the psychic FBI aide John Clancy.

The psychic serial killer hunter thriller didn't turn out as well as its premise, as fans and critics were left disappointed.

3. Home Alone's Marv almost got a spin-off that was instead turned into Bushwhacked

The largely-forgotten 1995 comedy Bushwhacked sees a sleazy courier on the run from authorities who poses as a scout leader to a troop of bright and inventive scouts.

Home Alone's Daniel Stern signed on to play the unlikely scout leader, and it was conceived that he would reprise his role as Marv.

During production, the idea was scrapped and the character was given the name Max Grabelski, but the character's traits weren't changed too much.

The film was a critical and box office bomb, and 20th Century Fox's deal with Stern for a movie series was abandoned.


2. Colombiana started out as a sequel to Léon: The Professional

Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional - which was a somewhat expansion of the character from 1990's La Femme Nikita - became a cult classic upon its release, turning its 11-year-old actress Natalie Portman into a Hollywood star.

Leaving the film with an open ending, Besson had written a script for a sequel named Mathilda, which he planned for his protégé Olivier Megaton to direct once Portman was a bit older.

After he directed Leon, Besson left the Gaumont Film Company to start his own movie studio, which upset Gaumont - owners of The Professional rights, who refused to let Megaton start working on a sequel.

Instead, Besson turned the script into the 2011 action film Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana, which moved the story of an orphaned girl who turns into a stone-cold assassin to Bogota.

Unfortunately, Colombiana wasn't well received by critics, who labelled it 'hammy' and 'overcooked'.

1. E.T. (and Poltergeist) came from a Steven Spielberg idea for a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Off the back of the success of Close Encounters, Columbia Pictures pushed Steven Spielberg to make a sequel.

Spielberg wasn't keen on the idea, but didn't want Columbia to make a sequel without him, just like Universal had done with the terrible Jaws sequels.

The director came up with an alien horror follow-up called Watch the Skies about a family who gets terrorised by gremlin-like aliens.

One of the aliens was a child who strikes up a relationship with the child of the family getting terrorised, which drew Spielberg's interest more than the rest of the story.

When Spielberg brought the idea to Columbia's president, he called it "a wimpy Walt Disney movie" and so Spielberg took it to Universal, where it became the highest grossing film of all time until Jurassic Park.

Spielberg wanted to continue with the idea of the alien horror film, and as that story developed, he changed the alien aspects to the paranormal and switched it to the suburbs, resulting in the phenomenally successful horror movie Poltergeist.

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