15 Sequels and Prequels That Are Also Reboots
It seems like Hollywood studios can't make up their mind about how to handle struggling and dormant franchises. Is it better to go the sequel route or start completely fresh with a reboot? More and more often, we're seeing movies that attempt to be both at the same time. Here are a few examples where sequels manage to somehow continue a story and wipe the slate clean.
'Evil Dead 2' (1987)
Many fans assume this darkly comic sequel is actually a remake of the original. It does feature the same basic premise as "The Evil Dead." The opening recap is supposed to make it clear that this movie takes place after the original. However, because director Sam Raimi had to reshoot the flashback footage (minus many of the original actors, to boot), the recap sequence didn't do much to clarify matters.
For the most part, "Shaft" plays like a pretty straightforward reboot of the original series, with Samuel L. Jackson taking over for Richard Roundtree as the bad-ass cop with a flair for wooing the ladies. However, Roundtree himself appeared in one scene, making it clear that the new John Shaft is actually the nephew of the original. This trend looks to continue in the 2019 "reboot," which will also feature both Jackson and Roundtree.
'The Sum of All Fears' (2002)
Originally, Harrison Ford was expected to reprise the role of super-spy Jack Ryan again in "The Sum of All Fears." But once he was replaced by the much younger Ben Affleck, the film was retooled to be more of a reboot, while still appealing to Tom Clancy fans who wanted to see the Jack Ryan saga continue. In the end, we're not sure anyone was pleased with the final results.
'Casino Royale' (2006)
The James Bond franchise is a tricky beast. Generally, there's so little continuity between films that each new entry could almost be a reboot unto itself. However, the franchise took a more direct approach with Bond #21, as this sequel rebooted back to the early days of Bond's career, put Daniel Craig in the spotlight, and paved the way for a new series of films following a consistent storyline.
'Superman Returns' (2006)
"Superman Returns" is technically a sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve movies, while pointedly ignoring the latter two (which is understandable). But with an almost entirely new cast (apart from some archival footage of Marlon Brando's Jor-El) and a new Art Deco aesthetic, the film also played like a fresh start for the series. Sadly, it didn't revive the franchise like "Batman Begins" had done for its hero the year before.
'The Incredible Hulk' (2008)
"The Incredible Hulk" has always felt like the odd man out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not just because star Edward Norton would be replaced by Mark Ruffalo in later films. This reboot began life after 2003's "Hulk," and you can still sense that in the way it skips over Hulk's origin story in favor of introducing the Abomination.
'Star Trek' (2009)
2009's "Star Trek" kicked off a trend where movies directly acknowledge the fact that they're simultaneously continuing an ongoing story and rebooting the franchise. This film used the feud between Leonard Nimoy's Spock and Eric Bana's Nemo as a catalyst to reset the Trek timeline and pick back up with the original Enterprise crew.
'The Thing' (2011)
This 2011 misfire tried to have its cake and eat it, too. It's ostensibly a remake of the 1982 version, following a similar plot structure as it explores a group of Antarctic scientists battling a shape-shifting alien infiltrator. But it also attempted to serve as a prequel, focusing on the Norwegian team whose charred remains were discovered by MacReady and the gang. Unsurprisingly, it did neither particularly well.
'X-Men: First Class' (2011)
The continuity of the X-Men franchise has always been rather flimsy, but it really dove off a cliff with this 2011 prequel/reboot. "First Class" attempts to delve back and explore the very first team of X-Men, but it creates so many plot holes and inconsistencies along the way that it really works better as a full-fledged reboot. That didn't stop Fox from combining both casts of characters for 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
'Evil Dead' (2013)
The Evil Dead franchise only stirred up more confusion with this 2013 reboot. The film features an entirely new cast of characters who spend a weekend in a remote cabin with only a demonic book for company. But a post-credits scene featuring Bruce Campbell's Ash Williams makes it clear that this reboot is actually a sequel. Ash vs. Evil Dead."
'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)
"Fury Road" technically fits into the larger Mad Max saga (between "The Road Warrior" and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," to be precise). However, given the amount of time that passed between sequels, the fact that Tom Hardy took over the role of Max Rockatansky -- and the fact that it only loosely touches on the character's tragic past -- "Fury Road" really plays out as a standalone action film.
'Terminator Genisys' (2015)
The Terminator franchise borrowed a page from the Star Trek playbook for its fifth movie, using time travel as an excuse to forcibly reboot the saga and start over with the story of Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese and their cybernetic guardian. Sadly, that approach didn't bear the same fruit it did for Trek, and now the sixth Terminator movie is said to be completely ignoring the events of "Genisys."
Actor Kiefer Sutherland is the one piece of connective tissue linking the original "Flatliners" to its 2017 remake. Oddly, while Sutherland himself confirmed he'd be reprising the role of Dr. Nelson Wright, he wound up playing a completely different character instead. None of this answers the most pressing question surrounding the film -- why did anyone think the world needed another "Flatliners" movie?
As if X-Men movie continuity needed to become even more complicated, "Logan" threw the franchise for a loop all over again in 2017. The film hints that many of the previous X-Men movies were simply telling embellished versions of real events, if they ever truly "happened" at all. That effectively places "Logan" in its own, separate branch of the X-Men universe. And maybe that's just as well. We'd like to think these heroes are due for a happier ending.
'Ocean's Eight' (2018)
"Ocean's Eight" is very much a fresh start for this stylish heist movie franchise, boasting a new director and a new, female-driven cast. However, it's also a direct spinoff of Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy. Sandra Bullock's character is the sister of George Clooney's Danny Ocean, and fans can expect at least a couple Ocean's veterans to make cameo appearances.