Traditional logic would dictate that more is better -- especially when it comes to our favorite films. It is after all, the prevailing and successful strategy behind the Marvel, DC and Star Wars cinematic universes. However, there are also those very special titles which can only ever exist on their own -- beloved films which do not need a potentially franchise-ruining sequel.
But, that doesn't mean the studio didn't try.
When a movie does well commercially, it almost always spawns conversation of a sequel -- even for films you wouldn't normally think of needing one. Whereas some are quickly shot down, other sequel ideas percolate for some time, resulting in spec scripts and treatments -- some of which contain some rather dubious and crazy ideas. Let's take a look at 5 potential sequels which probably shouldn't have been made.
1. Gladiator 2: Rise of the Christkiller
Following the success of Gladiator, Russell Crowe contacted his musical pal Nick Cave to pen a script for a potential sequel -- despite the fact his character meets his demise in the final scenes of the movie.
This presented Cave with a dilemma, however Crowe merely told Cave (who had only penned one script before this point) to simply "sort it out." Whereas some more cautious scriptwriters would probably create a prequel or spin-off, Cave 'sorted it out' in a way which is either incredibly awesome or absolutely ridiculous -- or both.
Here is how Cave described the script to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast:
"So, he [Maximus] goes down to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there’s this one god, there’s this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity and so the many gods are dying so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and all his followers. This was already getting… I wanted to call it Christ Killer, and in the end you find out that the main guy was his son, so he has to kill his son and he’s tricked by the gods and all of this sort of stuff."
Of course, this seems completely at odds with Ridley Scott's original Oscar hoarding masterpiece, which for the most part, was straightly played and relatively historically accurate. However, the ending goes somewhere even crazier.
Maximus is apparently granted (or cursed) with immortality and becomes an invincible fighter who continues to battle in the various wars of history. An ending montage scene sees him fighting with crusaders in the Middle East, commanding tanks in World War II, firing a flamethrower in Vietnam and eventually washing his hands in a Pentagon wash-room.
According to Cave, Crowe wasn't keen on the script, with Cave relaying their conversation:
I said, “What did you think?” “Don’t like it, mate.” “What about the end?” “Don’t like it, mate.”
However, in other interviews, Crowe did mention Ridley Scott and he considered Cave's script "for a while."
Would you have liked to see Gladiator 2?
2. EI8HT: Dawn of Detective Somerset
Unlike Gladiator, David Fincher's noir-ish serial killer thriller, Se7en, at least featured one main character who was not dead/psychologically destroyed by the time the credits rolled.
This was apparently enough for studio execs to get excited about a potential sequel, predictably named Ei8ht. However, instead of actually writing a new one, they simply repurposed an older script titled Solace. In this script, a psychic doctor aids a murder investigator to capture a serial killer. However, for Ei8ht, the script was rewritten so Morgan Freeman's Detective Somerset character had the psychic abilities -- once again, a major departure from the tone of the first film.
As you can imagine, Fincher wasn't keen on the idea. In fact, he claimed he'd "have less interest in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes." So, that's a 'no' then?
If Solace sounds familiar, it's because it did eventually make it to the big screen -- just not as a Se7en sequel. It recently released in theaters and stars Anthony Hopkins as our crime-solving psychic.
Would you like to have seen Morgan Freeman as a psychic detective in Ei8ht?
3. Mrs. Doubtfire 2: Back to School!
Robin Williams massively successful 1990s comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire, also almost got the sequel treatment.
In 2001, Bonnie Hunt was tasked with writing a script, with writing actually beginning in 2003. However, almost immediately Robin Williams was not happy with the plot or the script, which apparently involved Mrs. Doubtfire moving close to Lydia's college so he could keep an eye on her. Eventually, in 2006, the production was officially 'stalled' before being cancelled later that year. In various interviews, Williams continually stated the script was simply "not right."
Despite this, by 2013, the concept of a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel was looking a lot healthier. With Chris Columbus on board to direct and a new script from Elf scribe David Berenbaum, Williams seemed much more receptive to the idea. In a May 2013 interview, Columbus stated:
"We're talking about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire. We've [he and Williams] talked about it, and the studio is interested in it. The thing that fascinates me about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire is with most actors who create an iconic character like Mrs. Doubtfire, when you come back and do that character, well, you're twenty years older so, you're not going to look the same. The cool thing with Mrs. Doubtfire is there's a character, there's a woman, who is actually going to look exactly as she did in 1993. So I look forward to seeing that trailer. I love that concept and there's no CGI. So we just need to make absolutely certain that the story is a good emotionally strong story, that there's a reason for telling it, it's not like Big Momma's House or something. It has to be as emotional and as funny."
However, following Williams's death in 2014, the plans were permanently cancelled.
4. Con Airport/Con Air 2: Con Air in Space
A sequel to Simon West's modestly successful actioner, Con Air was also banded around Hollywood in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It seems at least one 15 page treatment was penned by an unknown scribe and the gist of the plot would have involved an entire airport of criminals.
Having proven himself in the first film, Con Airport would have seen John Cusack's U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin character being put in charge of an entire airport that only serves criminal transport planes. I can imagine things do not go smoothly for him in his new job.
However, more recently, West has suggested an even crazier sequel: Con Air in Space. In an interview with ScreenDaily in 2014, West stated:
"I would do it if it was completely turned on its head. Con Air in space, for example – a studio version where they’re all robots or the convicts are reanimated as super-convicts, or where the good guys are bad guys and the bad guys are good guys. Something shocking. If it was clever writing it could work."
As long as Nic Cage returns with long flowing hair, maybe it would have.
Would you want to see Con Airport or Con Air in Space?
5. The Ironically Titled, Batman Triumphant
Although you may have hated Batman & Robin, it seems Warner Bros. was actually quite impressed by Joel Schumacher's second Batman movie. In fact, they were so pleased with the dailies coming out of the production that they began discussing a sequel before Batman & Robin even arrived in theaters. As it turns out, they acted a bit prematurely...
Titled Batman Unchained or Batman Triumphant, the sequel would have seen Schumacher return with, presumably, George Clooney as Batman.
The film would have concerned Batman learning to conquer his fears and confronting the demons, and villains, of his past. The Scarecrow would have been the main bad guy of the sequel, although his fear toxin would have caused Batman to hallucinate he was once again fighting The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face and The Riddler. According to Schumacher, he offered Nicolas Cage the part of The Scarecrow while he was filming Face/Off.
Harley Quinn was also due to be introduced (played by Courtney Love, no less), although she was going to be reimagined as a toymaker and the daughter of The Joker -- a change which probably wouldn't have gone uncriticized in the comic book loving community.
Ultimately, the terrible reaction to Batman & Robin put the breaks on the whole thing, with Clooney himself vowing never to be a superhero again.