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Movie Sequels are Better than the Originals

Emma Majaury

Creative Writing Editor

Photos via Wales Online and ETimes.

With the release of Scream 6 in theatres, many people are rolling their eyes wondering what the franchise could possibly do to make this instalment any different than the previous five. It is generally believed that the sequel can never be as good as the original. The first Star Wars that came out is beloved and made quite the impression on the original audiences. Ask any group of people today, however, and you will discover that its successors are often favoured. Therefore, especially when it comes to mainstream action, adventure, mystery, and fantasy movies, the sequels are undoubtedly better than the originals.

In the first movie of a franchise, you’re learning along with the characters as they explore their world. You have already done your basic training by the time you get to the second or third instalments. Even in the YA Enola Holmes movies, the first film is dedicated to exposition to the characters, whereas the sequel is all mystery solving. The suspense and conflicts are far more engaging once you know the lay of the land.

New characters introduced in sequels can often change people’s perceptions of the storylines. Whether it be the death of a character you never liked, the introduction of original characters’ children taking up the mantle, or new sidekicks who win your heart, sequels can change the direction and momentum of a series. One of the greatest challenges of scriptwriters is to get the audience to care about their main characters; therefore, if the first movie does its job, then the audience’s love for a character will carry them back into the theatre to see their next adventures as they learn and grow in the sequels. Just think about how many Marvel movies there are. Why do people keep coming back to see the Avengers fight another adversary? It’s the love for the characters after seeing their establishing first films as well as the desire to see how they will grow and what they will do next. Superhero movies especially benefit from the addition of new villains who force the hero to rethink their strategies in order to vanquish them.

In the case of the Paddington movies, we fall in love with the bear in the original, so when he is framed for a crime and goes to jail in the second movie, we already sympathized with him and cheered him on without needing to establish his character. The same attachment to characters brought us back for each instalment of Toy Story, Shrek, and Harry Potter as well.

Long-running sequels like Star Wars or Scream also help to bring new audiences to the franchises and help to spread the love of the characters and their world. Films like Avatar, Top Gun and The Incredibles only put out sequels more than a decade after their original releases, and yet raked in huge box office numbers. The new fans will often return to the classics, bringing the appreciation for the originals back to the surface and bonding fans regardless of age.

The James Bond franchise and Spiderman films have multiple “reincarnations” of the main hero and allow for the hero to be more relatable to the target audiences as our interests change and we move forward as a society. Creating modern sequels for older originals can also bring underrepresented populations into the world and they can smooth out problematic characters or scenes. To illustrate, casting a black woman as the new James Bond and adapting the classic trope of “the Bond girl damsel in distress” into a more rounded character with agency can bring the reboots into 2023. Including more characters that represent the realities of the viewers in these franchises helps to bring more people to these films. New actors from different backgrounds get a chance to be in the spotlight appearing in these sequels. Diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities, of different ethnicities, races and gender identities enrich these franchises all the more.

In a world of great uncertainty, movie sequels bring on a feeling of nostalgia, comfort, and excitement to viewers of all ages. Although original movies will always hold a special place in our hearts, there’s nothing like the feeling of sitting in the dark movie theatre, waiting for the apparition of those familiar characters on the screen.


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