Spin-offs, sequels, reboots and revivals are hardly a new phenomenon, but it seems they are flooding Hollywood more and more. With the industry changing, it’s no secret that studios are eager to produce projects they believe have a built-in audience and that they can base a reliable franchise around. Resenting this lack of originality is also nothing new, as people have been complaining about their ruined childhoods as long as this has been going on.
Rebooting a classic film, reviving a cult #TV series, lining up dozens of spin-offs of a successful franchise strikes either excitement or fear in fans. Sure, we all love #HarryPotter, but do we need five #FantasticBeasts movies before we've even met these new characters? More of what we love is either going to delight us or disappoint us, and it seems inevitable that if these things are never laid to rest, eventually they’re going to let us down. But isn't that life? Up and down and uncomfortable, often surprising and sometimes upsetting?
There has always been an understandable disconnect between reality and what we’re presented with in the movies. At the end, the world is saved, the couple kisses, the team wins, the resolution is final. Life however, doesn’t follow a satisfying narrative arc, culminating in a climax and conclusion. It is ups and downs and a lot of mundane stuff between the big moments, and it doesn’t stop at the dramatic peak. Life is brilliant and teeming with fulfilling, amazing moments, but it doesn't guarantee any satisfying conclusions.
Revisiting our beloved stories that we've preserved in our minds inevitably brings trouble. Until last year, we could have assumed that Han, Luke, and Leia were peacefully rebuilding the Republic and the Jedi Order together, but the price we paid for more #StarWars was to see these characters and relationships fractured, struck by tragedy and killed. We could have assumed #BridgetJones settled contentedly with Mark Darcy 15 years ago, but in revisiting her story twice, we are proven otherwise. When we head back to Stars Hollow for the #GilmoreGirls revival, we'll get more time with the titular girls, but it may be a somewhat disillusioning return — the absence of Richard, an aimless and lost Rory and a questioning Lorelai. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s closer to real life.
Reboots, sequels, and revivals fill in parts of our beloved stories that we didn't necessarily ask for. There was a time when the #CloneWars and the truth of Anakin Skywalker was a mystery, only vaguely alluded to. Now, the prequel trilogy and subsequent animated series have fleshed out that era and soon everything in between, from the #RogueOne mission to Han’s origins will be filled in, whether we like it or not. Likewise, life has a way of revealing things to us we didn't exactly want.
Like with many reboots, in reality, things don’t go the way we expect them to in our heads. Most of us aren't where we thought we would be 10 years ago. #HarryPotter isn't where most of us thought he would be 10 years ago either, as those of us who spent a decade solidifying our head-canons as to how the gang got on after the defeat of Voldemort had to grapple with the sudden introduction of #TheCursedChild. For all the incredible, iconic #LordoftheRings moments in your life, there are those forgettable #Hobbit weeks. Sometimes we get actors we don't envision as our Batmans and candidates we don't envision as our president. We all have different ideas of how things will go and life still manages to surprise every one of us.
Inevitably, some will be disappointed with the direction things go in and resent the tainting of their beloved stories, and that’s fair, but that’s how life goes too. Things change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, and then they change some more. That's what these reboots and revivals are doing to our franchises and we might as well accept it.
There's a good chance that we're going to be disappointed when our old favorites are revisited. They are going to keep coming anyway. We simply need to learn to accept these installments as a part of the cyclical loop that the industry is in now. In 2025, when we are watching the 500th superhero film to debut in the decade, starring our sixth Spider-Man, we will either love it, or just wait for the next one. For every original Star Wars trilogy there is a prequel series, and for every prequel series there's a #ForceAwakens, and for every Force Awakens, there's a #RogueOne spin-off. The flood of reboots, revivals, sequels, and spin-offs opens up lots of opportunities to either love some new expansion on a classic or brush off what doesn't work and wait for the next one.
Rogue One will be hitting theaters in December. Check out the featurette below to get a behind-the-scenes look at the next installment in the Star Wars franchise.
What are your thoughts about the recent reboot revival in Hollywood?