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The Legacyquel Treatment: 15 Films Ripe For A ‘Star Wars’-Style Nostalgic Redo

The Legacyquel Treatment: 15 Films Ripe For A 'Star Wars'-Style Nostalgic Redo

There’s been a word on the tip of the tongues of studio executives in the last year or so. And that word is “legacyquel”’ Coined, as best as we can tell, by Screencrush’s Matt Singer, it describes a specific kind of franchise-continuing movie that resulted in some of last year’s most popular movies in “Jurassic World,” “Creed” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and will potentially lead to some of the biggest of this year with “Ghostbusters” and “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars: the Force Awakens,’ The Legacy-quel,’ And The Rising Danger Of Fan Service   

In essence, the legacyquel is a sequel, normally in a series that’s been dormant for a decade or more but has often loomed large regardless. These films (arguably pioneered to a degree by J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” “Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull” and “Tron: Legacy”) aim to mix the old with the new and to keep some kind of continuity with earlier movies by returning earlier franchise stars to the fold (they usually exist in the same universe), while also introducing new characters and storylines, often with far more diverse casts than in previous iterations, stealthily passing the torch for a time where Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Jeff Goldblum or, uh, B.D. Wong might not be available.

It’s the perfect mix of the old and the new (and the perfect metaphor for a generation obsessed with nostalgia and never growing up), and though not everything in this new genre has worked (“Tron: Legacy,” “Terminator Genisys,” “Vacation”), films as such have mostly proven far more successful than plain old sequels or remakes. Expect plenty more to come: Harrison Ford is coming back for a “Blade Runner” sequel in 2018, Tim Burton’s been developing a “Beetlejuice” followup for some time, Arnold Schwarzenegger looks likely to be back to battleThe Predator” for Shane Black, Tom Cruise has long been ready to suit up forTop Gun 2” —you get the idea.

So since the legacyquel is the thing of the moment, and the “Ghostbusters” trailer not far from our memories, we looked through the history books to find 15 blockbuster franchises from the 1980s and 1990s that haven’t yet been announced for a fresh lick of paint, but will be probably be back. And with tongue mostly in cheek, we’ve pitched our versions on what shape they should take. So read on below, and remember to support original movies in theaters to prevent any of these ever coming to pass.

“The Cannonball Run”

Why This Film And Why Now? Following the success of “Smokey & The Bandit” and its sequels in the 1970s, “The Cannonball Run” took much of the same formula —automotive hijinks, stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, star Burt Reynolds, a mix of blue-collar laughs and action— and made it bigger, telling the story of a cross-country car races and its various competitors, also including Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, Jackie Chan, Roger Moore and Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman. Despite mostly sniffy reviews, the film was a huge hit, outgrossing “Chariots Of Fire” and “For Your Eyes Only” with a $70 million haul (adjusted for today, that’d be over $200 million), and spawned a sequel and more than one imitator. Surprisingly, no one’s really attempted to recapture this sort of formula (the closest was 2001’s “Rat Race,” but that really owes more to “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” than anything else), though there were rumors that Guy Ritchie was developing a remake for Warner Bros. to star George Clooney or Brad Pitt, plans that have so far come to naught. You can see why the idea would appeal, especially in the era of the “Fast & Furious” movies being so massive: the film has a broad, very American appeal that could click with the ever-elusive red-state crowd, yet there’s the potential to meld that approach with a hipper modern comic sensibility too.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? The idea of a group of comedy stars in a cross-country race is still a pretty robust idea, and it’s easy to imagine someone like Todd Phillips or “We’re The Millers” director Rawson Marshall Thurber at the helm. And a high profile cast would obviously provide all kinds of opportunities, but we imagine any version would try and tick off a whole bunch of demographics to bring in the broadest audience. Budget allowing, imagine a crew of racers including Kevin Hart, Jason Sudeikis, Rebel Wilson, Ty Burrell, Michael Pena, Rose Byrne, Jerrod Carmichael, Zach Galafianakis, Leslie Jones and Randall Park, and you start to see why this could be a big hit (if not something that we’d actually, you know, want to see). Plus, you’d want a returning star for full legacy-quel status: Reynolds would surely be available, or Jackie Chan might be the cooler alternative if Reynolds proves difficult.

READ MORE: The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2016

“The Matrix”

Why This Film And Why Now? Often, one of the issues facing those wishing to defibrillate an old property is how to extend/expand the universe of that film so that it can accommodate a new story. “The Matrix” possibly offers the opposite problem. After the terrific first film, the two sequels basically disappeared into endlessly looping, needlessly complex, nesting-doll type mythology. Worse still, the overplotted and overpopulated films lost sight of their characters —clotted up with so much sophomoric philosophizing, the characters in the story became little more than ciphers. Add to this overcomplexity the fact that the storylines from The Matrix Online, the online role-playing game, are considered “canon” and you basically have story stew. But like a primordial soup, that could prove very fertile territory for a return, and with the final film literally rebooting its universe, it feels very possible. Also, while the Wachowskis have fared poorly at the box office since with a series of ambitious flops (and we’re apologists for “Cloud Atlas,” but Jesus H, “Jupiter Ascending“?), they have been more successful on TV of late, with the creaky but surprisingly heartfelt and engaging Netflix series “Sense8” which has been renewed for a second season. Perhaps they could pass the reins of “The Matrix” to a new director and remain as producers, or perhaps they could conceivably bring it to television? Or maybe, as rumors a while back suggested, they could make a new trilogy? Whatever happens, it really feels like there’s a wealth of opportunity lying dormant there, and they can’t even “ruin” anyone’s “childhood” by returning with something subpar, since they already got that out of the way with the sequels.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? Neo/The One has transubstantiated, but as The Oracle suggested at the end of “Matrix Revolutions,” he returns to the rebooted Matrix. But this time he’s embodied as twin girls —one growing up in a small village in a war-torn African republic, the other adopted away and living in Seoul. They are The Halves, and must fight to reunite, contending not only with the Machines, but also with the injustice that humans make for themselves in their self-created, virtual world. And that’s before they even discover The Third (because they’re actually triplets —a Trinity, if you will). Ironically, the Agents this time out are all played by Keanu Reeves.

READ MORE: Watch: 7-Minute Video Essay Explores The Inspirations And Influences On ‘The Matrix’


Why This Film And Why Now? It’s pretty surprising that Jan de Bont‘s windy megahit never spawned a sequel in the 1990s: making almost half a billion dollars from a script co-written by the highly franchisable Michael “Jurassic Park” Crichton (with an uncredited rewrite from Joss Whedon), the film checks all necessary boxes. Also, despite the sniffy reviews at the time, “Twister” is a brilliant archetype of a disaster movie, uniting remarkable-for-the-time visual and sound effects (the mooing of that cow in the tornado is still a landmark moment in Dolby Surround, if you ask us) with a cast of B-listers (and Philip Seymour Hoffman in his jobbing actor days) who all manage to rustle up surprising amounts of chemistry in their thinly written roles. Of course, it can’t have helped that De Bont’s career, after this film and directorial debut “Speed,” took a major nosedive, with the dreadful “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” the ill-conceived remake of “The Haunting” and the ‘Tomb Raider’ sequel being his only subsequent films. If de Bont is out of the game now, he could pass on the director’s chair to “Twister”‘s cinematographer Jack N. Green as a tip of the hat to de Bont’s own career trajectory, or to Bill Paxton (who volunteered in a Details interview a few years back), or as proved so successful with “Jurassic World” to some hungry young director anxious to sell their soul to Hollywood after a promising indie debut. It ain’t Shakespeare, but neither would it be rocket science to return to a new story (with a bigger, windier threat, natch) within this world, especially as the threat posed by extreme weather conditions has only increased in the intervening two decades.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? In “Megatwister: Let’s Twist Again,” Meg Harding (Sophie Turner) is a college senior spending a semester in the Philippines studying extreme weather patterns. She has a theory that no one supports but she’s desperate to prove, in part because it was what drove her constantly feuding parents Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) apart. But when all the signals start to occur that a massive multi-uber-hurricane is on its way, her estranged father and mother rush to South East Asia to help/rescue her. Oh, and if you get Nick Robinson from “Jurassic World” to play her love interest, the path is laid for a Crichtonverse crossover in which a cyclone hits a dinosaur park.

“The Godfather” 

Why This Film And Why Now? While every fiber of our being might cry out against the notion, especially considering how disappointing “The Godfather Part III” proved after two near-perfect preceding films, we can’t deny the probability that some hungry producer in Hollywood is right now thinking about the Corleone family and salivating. However, any ‘Godfather’ sequel would have to be approached a little more reverently than some of these other titles, with an eye on the prestige quotient of the final product rather than pure bottom-line potential. The involvement of Francis Ford Coppola would no doubt be a prerequisite, though maybe less as director (possibly a good thing if you’ve seen his recent directorial films), than as a producer and consultant —a creative Godfather, if you will. And if this property is enticing enough, it could attract a real auteur director for a new installment, rather like Denis Villeneuve taking on “Blade Runner“? Of course, without the involvement of writer Mario Puzo (who died in 1999) or Gordon Willis, the series’ cinematographer who died in 2014, any new films would of necessity look and feel different, but there’s a tone and a scale established by the colossal mythology of the trilogy that certainly has the scope for further exploration, especially considering the last film leaves off around 1980. What with the mania for all things ’80s-retro, that period would be a fascinating one to visit through the lens of a mafia fable, especially when the actual history of the Mafia in the 1980s, both in America and Sicily, is so very storied. Or there could be a movie based on the 2004 novel “The Godfather Returns,” Mark Winegardner‘s putative sequel to Puzo’s original book that takes place during the events of the “Godfather II,” but with a different focus and more backstory. But we really, really hope they don’t.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? With Michael Corleone’s retirement to Sicily, the channel is still open to have at least part of the story be set amid the Second Mafia War, the incredibly dramatic events of the early ’80s that radically altered the Cosa Nostra and involved over a thousand suspected homicides. Meanwhile in the U.S., the 1980s saw an increase in anti-mafia legislation and a corresponding decline in their influence, so there would be a grand fall-from-grace arc, potentially if we also followed the fortunes of Michael’s successor, Vincent (Andy Garcia, about due a comeback).

“The Mask”

Why This Film And Why Now? Once Hollywood’s biggest star, Jim Carrey’s has had more misses than hits of late, with films like “A Christmas Carol,” “”Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “Kick Ass 2” failing to get much interest from audiences. The shining light came with “Dumb & Dumber To,” a film that marked the star’s first return to one of his own properties since “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,” and his biggest opening in well over a decade. The actor’s taking on some riskier projects, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see him looking to support those experiments with safer bets, and we reckon “The Mask” is the one that seems most likely. The Dark Horse Comics adaptation was the ninth biggest-grossing movie of 1994, and if you adjusted its worldwide take for inflation, it would have made around $700 million, an enormous success for a comedy. Carrey refused to return, and so New Line followed it up with disastrous results a decade later with the Jamie Kennedy-starring “Son Of The Mask” (itself a kind of legacyquel). But the stink of that film has faded, and the property is the kind of effects-filled, star-driven comedy that studios are gagging for (and will be doubly so if the “Ghostbusters” reboot is the hit most are expecting it to be). And it’s the kind of film that has the right kind of nostalgia for millenial audiences that “Jurassic World” tapped into. Ideally, you’d have Carrey returning in some form or another, but even if he proves reluctant, there would be a way to make it work without him (and maybe get Cameron Diaz back instead…maybe she should don the mask herself).

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? The success of “Deadpool” might be the indicator here. The original comic was a much more violent and adult affair than the PG-13 movie, but it’s not too difficult to see “The Mask” being re-engineered as Warner Brothers’ answer to “Deadpool” (and the character could be incorporated into the DC Extended Universe, given that New Line presumably still has the rights to the property). Hire a filmmaker with a proven facility for darker comedy (“Krampus” helmer Michael Dougherty, perhaps). Get a script that gives the superhero movie a “Jekyll & Hyde”-ish twist, and a star, someone like Bill Hader or Keegan Michael-Key, with a ton of range. And get Carrey in for a cameo, to pass the torch or to play mentor or villain. With “Deadpool” still raking in the cash, an R-Rated “The Mask” doesn’t feel like a pitch many executives would pass up.

“Austin Powers”

Why This Film And Why Now? For every “Anchorman 2” or “Dumb & Dumber To” that revives a long-dormant comedy series to great financial success (and sometimes even improves on them), there’s a “Vacation” or “Zoolander 2” that fails to even remotely capture the magic. So there’d be a risk with bringing back Mike Myers’ swinging superspy creation Austin Powers, but given that it’s among the most successful comedy franchises ever, with the second and third film both taking over $200 million domestically, we imagine that studios would find that it’s a risk worth taking. The first film, released in 1997, was only a modest success, but it blew up on home video, and sequel “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” exploded, with third film, the cameo-packed “Austin Powers in Goldmember” doing even better. The films feel like a sort of odd relic now, an echo of the ’60s-fetishizing Britpop years that are rather out of step with what works in big screen comedy in 2016. But the films are still beloved, and spy flicks are more popular than ever. Myers has all but retired these days, with only one live-action starring role in the last decade, but it was rumored that he’s signed on to reprise his trademark character back in 2011, so it’s clear that some kind of further film in the franchise has been in development, and that Myers was then willing to go back. Director Jay Roach has signaled a willingness to return too, and if James Bond can still be going strong after parodies by Powers and others, there’s surely room for one of the character’s most famous spoofs to return.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? You probably couldn’t just carry on with ’60s-related shenanigans, given that the times have changed fairly significantly in the past fifteen years. But there’s potentially fun to be had in mocking the gritty reboots of the modern age: perhaps with attempts to given Austin a “My Fair Lady” style-makeover to fit the “Skyfall” era of spy flicks, or some generational clashes with a Powers Jr. whose followed his dad into the family business. Given that Myers had initially said that a fourth movie was set to be Dr. Evil-centric, maybe we’ll see the supervillain following Donald Trump and running for President? All that said, Myers has shown something of a reluctance to move with the times, so the chances of any serious creative risks, should the film happen, are slim.

“Romancing the Stone” 

Why This Film And Why Now? The Robert Zemeckis original is one of those weird films that, while dated to the point of creakiness, still retains a surprising amount of charm amid all the casual sexism, racism and other isms. The hurried sequel that followed (which did not come from Zemeckis, who was putting his kudos to good use making “Back to the Future“) does not hold up as well, even though it was a similar-sized hit (both films cleared over $70m if you subtract their production budgets), which reunited the wildly popular duo of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner with Danny DeVito. With the lackluster reviews and disinterest expressed by the stars, a third installment tentatively titled “The Crimson Eagle,” which was to have been set in Thailand where the couple were on holiday with their teenage kids, never got off the starting blocks. In 2008, a different sequel developed by Douglas as a vehicle for himself and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones apparently came perilously close to being made. Set aboard a train traveling in Indis, it was to be directed by “Daddy Day Care“‘s Steve Carr, and was reported solidly by the Daily Telegraph as the first-ever full Hollywood/Bollywood co-production. But that never happened either. With Douglas at 71, it’s hard to see how he could reprise his role as Jack Colton as anything but a supporting character, but the screwball charms of the original’s loopy romance-novel take on ‘Indiana Jones‘ could easily lend themselves to a new generation.

What Could A Legacy-quel Look Like? You can see a Paul Feig-type comedy caper or a tongue-in cheek spoof evolving here, but the trick would probably be to have it played with something of the original’s old-school straight-faced charm and not to go too meta. So, looking to cynically debunk the mythos surrounding her estranged romance novelist mother Joan Wilder (Turner), whom she regards as a regressive influence, an intrepid reporter (Emma Watson) ventures into the same situations that her mother’s heroines found themselves in to prove that the reality is anything but romantic. However, falling for the charms of a roguish mercenary (Michael B.Jordan), whom she has to repeatedly rescue from danger, she discovers that love conquers all, even politico-ideological differences.

“Arachnophobia” (1990)

Less an actual movie than a series of skits and jump-scares, Frank Marshall‘s “Arachnophobia” didn’t bust any blocks in theatrical release. But it was enough of a grower on home video to have evolved a small following — it’s not big enough to make a legacy-quel feel inevitable, but enough to suggest it’s possible. And with it not requiring a particularly mammoth budget, it would be a relatively low-risk relaunch, if only someone could think of what to do with it. And that’s a big if —as enjoyable as “Arachnophobia” is, there’s not a lot to get too much purchase on as regards fan-fic possibilities, aside from MORE SPIDERS and/or BIGGER SPIDERS. Or possibly MUTANT SPIDERSAURUSES, though “Eight-Legged Freaks” would appear to have covered a lot of that territory already. However, the jokey, tongue-in-cheek vibe of the original, as well as some fun legacy cameo possibilities from the likes of Jeff Daniels and John Goodman (sadly, Julian Sands‘ character is dead, so it’s hard to see how he could turn up to be comically terrible) means that it could, like the original, be a bit of a blast if it doesn’t take itself too seriously. And director Marshall has a lot of experience in this regard, serving as producer, along with superproducer wife Kathleen Kennedy, on such sequels as “The Bourne Legacy,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? Tommy Jennings (Aaron Paul), now in his mid-30s, is a psychologist running a successful, cutting-edge clinic/retreat. Based on his own experiences as a child whose arachnophobia abated after half his town was killed by poisonous spiders (in the original film), he specializes in radical treatments that help patients overcome various phobias by exposing them to them in controlled circumstances. Needless to say, those controls fail and chaos breaks loose, as all manner of phobics are trapped in simulations or demonstrations of their worst nightmares. Only his dad (Daniels), the clinic’s GP, and exterminator-turned-biotech-billionaire Delbert McClintock (Goodman) who funds it, can help him.

“The Fugitive”

Why This Film And Why Now? On paper this seems like one of the least likely prospects on this list. So obviously, it’s one of the few that we actually have heard solid news on — back in May a script was reportedly being developed by Black List writer Christina Hodson. IMDBpro currently suggests it’s a straight-up remake of the original, but we have to take that with a pinch of salt. Andrew Davis’ “The Fugitive,’ based on the ’60s TV show of the same name, which starred Harrison Ford as the innocent man on the run and Tommy Lee Jones as the dogged Marshal on his tail took nearly $370m globally, was nominated for Best Picture, and won Jones an Oscar. So it’s hard to see a straight-up remake being set up for anything but a big fall. That said, it already spawned a legacy-quel (in that it doesn’t feature all the original characters but takes place in a continuum where the events of the first film have also happened). But “U.S. Marshals,” made for a bigger budget, only just cracked $100m at the worldwide box office, and received at best lackluster reviews, which points to the quandary inherent in resurrecting this property — clearly, simply following U.S. Marshal Sam Gerrard (Jones) on another manhunt is not the recipe for repeating the first film’s success. Of course, the passage of time makes that unlikely anyway (Jones is pushing 70) so hopefully any new version of this film would feature a new fugitive and a new pursuing law enforcement officer, and would actually share relatively little DNA with the original, while retaining just enough to get the curiosity/nostalgia vote. Also, with a female screenwriter who wrote the currently-shooting Naomi Watts vehicle “Shut In” working on the script, might this be another occasion for the MRA lobby to get up in arms about an all-female overhaul of a traditionally male-dominated property? Oh, we hope so. Anything that gets those saddos riled up is good for the soul.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? “The Fugitive Reborn” stars Katherine Waterston as a woman forced to go on the run after she’s framed for the murder of a powerful politician. The marshall on her trail (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was Sam Gerrard’s protege, until a dispute that ultimately led to him retiring under a cloud. But he may still have some grizzled wisdom to impart as the cat-and-mouse pursuit of her woman also inevitably becomes a pursuit of the dangerous truth.

“48 Hrs”

Why This Film And Why Now? Eddie Murphy hasn’t starred in a theatrical feature since 2012’s “A Thousand Words” (which itself had sat on a shelf for a while), and his hopes for a comeback have mostly been pinned to a revival of the “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise, first with a fourth movie to be directed by Brett Ratner, then with a TV series that would have had frequent appearances from Murphy, but which the network ultimately declined to pick up. But maybe Murphy’s been looking in the wrong place, and that his earliest big screen hit might have the key to his revival? Murphy’s first screen appearance was in Walter Hill’s “48 Hrs,” which teamed the star as a motor-mouthed convict with Nick Nolte as a grizzled racist cop in a movie that, if it didn’t quite invent the buddy cop genre, certainly made it one of the most popular staples of the 1980s and 1990s. It’s become less popular of late (and even the “Lethal Weapon” reboot is aiming for the small screen rather than the big), but a film like “The Heat” shows that it can still do blockbuster numbers when it’s done well. What separated “48 Hrs” from its many imitators was a sense that it had a real edge and grit to it, thanks in part to the muscularity that Hill brought to the movie, and thanks further to the abrasive chemistry between Nolte and Murphy. With R-rated action-comedy back in the zeitgeist again, and with relations between racist white cops and the black community not exactly any more harmonious than they were nearly 35 years ago, it could be the perfect time to bring back this particular series, and in a far more effective way than 1990’s dire “Another 48 Hrs.”

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? All that said, “48 Hrs” is not a movie with a particularly rich mythos or universe, and any new version is likely to go over similar beats to the original. But that potentially works, especially if you go for a take as close to the bone and raw as the original. How about this: he’s long been on the straight and narrow, but when his old friend Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) is murdered, Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) tries to investigate, but swiftly meets with some resistance, and extreme police brutality, from a demented racist cop (Tom Hardy, or maybe Christian Bale). But Reggie’s soon forced to team with him, and his jailbird nephew (Hannibal Buress), to crack the case. “Dear White People” helmer Justin Simien directs from a script by “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris.

“The Goonies”

Why This Film And Why Now? Well, for one, it’s been said to be in the works for a long time, with cast members like Sean Astin and Corey Feldman regularly talking up a sequel to their 1985 Amblin adventure about a group of Oregon pre-teens who search for buried treasure in the hopes of saving their family homes. And with filmmakers like Spielberg and Zemeckis ruling out the idea of follow-ups to some of the big 80s Amblin hits like “Jaws,” “Back To The Future” and “E.T” (thank god), “The Goonies” is one of the most recognizable names still up for grabs. The Amblin vibe has become something of a touchstone for a new wave of filmmakers like Jeff Nichols, David Lowery and Jordan Vogt-Roberts of late, and “The Goonies” is one of the best examples of it. The idea of kids on an adventure is a somewhat timeless one (and one perhaps under-serviced by studios these days: one of the reasons that they’re finding it increasingly hard to capture younger audiences), and there are millions of adults who have found associations with the original and as with “Star Wars” and “Jurassic World,” would drag their kids along. Perhaps most importantly: the original movie kind of sucks, a shrill, shouty example of the worst of 1980s blockbuster vibes, and whereas so many of these movies got it right the first time, “The Goonies” has a prime chance to take the promise of its premise and actually fulfill it this time around.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? With original helmer Richard Donner essentially retired, producer Steven Spielberg unlikely to pick up the reins, and at least one of the original cast swearing that they wouldn’t come back (Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk, is now an attorney), it might be best to go the “Ghostbusters” route here, essentially starting fresh and then building in cameos from original cast members in new roles. What about Jeff Nichols directing a grounded, lyrical, but still exciting Southern version of the set-up drawing as much from Mark Twain as from the original movie, with a who’s-who line-up of scene-stealing child actors: Quvenzhané Wallis, “Room”’s Jacob Tremblay,Looper” actor Pierce Gagnon, “Black-ish” breakout Miles Brown,Southpaw” star Oona Laurence,Trophy Wife” genius Albert Tsai, and “Bad Words” actor Rohan Chand.

“The Rock”

Why This Film And Why Now? Younger readers might find this difficult to believe, but there was once a time when Nicolas Cage did things other than make terrible VOD thrillers at a rate of five a year. At his peak, in the second half of the 1990s, Cage was both a respected actor who could win Oscars and appear in acclaimed indies and for A-list auteurs, while also headlining blockbuster action movies in between. One of the highlights in the latter category was “The Rock,” still probably the best movie Michael Bay ever made, which saw Cage as an FBI chemical weapons expert who’s teamed with Sean Connery, a British spy who was the only person ever to escape from Alcatraz, in order to break back into the legendary San Francisco prison after disgruntled soldiers take it over and hold the city to ransom. Could a follow-up, twenty years on, give Cage the chance at a comeback he needs? The film was a huge hit at the time, with $335 million worldwide, but crucially has been a long-player on DVD and cable, proving to be one of the few riffs on the “Die Hard” formula to replicate things effectively, in part thanks to the chemistry between Cage and Connery, as well as Bay’s facility for an iconic action image. Bruckheimer blockbusters like this aren’t necessarily the blockbusters that they were in the 90s, but the occasional “Olympus Has Fallen” or “Safe House” still do big numbers, and the name recognition from this could well make it worth Disney’s while.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? There’s a couple of intrinsic problems with the idea of a follow-up, that said. One is that Connery has retired from acting, and is unlikely to be lured back at the age of 85 for this. That’s an easy enough fix, though: you simply move Cage into a Connery-type role, driven mad from decades of incarceration after stealing a microfilm at the end of the last movie, and pair him with a younger star. The second is a bigger problem: the film’s title refers to Alcatraz, but to set a second movie on the prison island would be lazy, and there aren’t many other prisons with the same kind of iconic value. The solution seems simple to us though. In Gareth Evans’ sequel, far-right bio-terrorists have miniaturized themselves and seized control of an impenetrable fortress: the body of charming wrestler turned movie superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. FBI agent John Boyega must track down Cage’s Stanley Goodspeed, the only man to escape from the body of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, in order to break back in and save the day.

“9 To 5”

Why This Film And Why Now? Released back in 1980, “9 to 5” was a sort of early precursor to the new wave of feminist comedies that we’re getting now, a story of female empowerment that sees Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton seek revenge on their sexist, harassing boss (Dabney Coleman) with a kidnapping and blackmail scheme. Written and directed by “Harold & Maude” scribe Colin Higgins and forever associated with Parton’s seminal theme tune, it proved to be a monster hit at the time, taking over $100 million at a time when that really meant something (it’s the equivalent of over $300 million now), and with gender politics in the office still very much in the news, a follow-up seems to be an obvious possibility for Universal. Many of the breakout comedy hits of the last few years, from “Bridesmaids” to “Spy” have been female driven, while “Horrible Bosses” essentially borrowed the film’s set-up to great success (though less so with its sequel), so there’d seem to be an appetite for this. Parton, at 70, is as big a star as she ever was (and returned to acting a few years back with 2012’s “Joyful Noise”), while Tomlin and Fonda have been reunited to great success with Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” so there’s an argument for keeping the band together, though sadly Higgins died in 1988.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? There are two generations that get screwed over in the workforce more than most: older people, and millennials (and, obviously, women in general get the shitty end of the stick in the office environment in general). So why not team the original cast, still working after being screwed out of their pensions, with younger recruits — Emma Stone, “Dope” and “Neighbors 2” star Kiersey Clemons, Jillian Bell — fed up of being made to work unpaid internships, and put them on a shared quest to take down their boorish, sexist boss (Ryan Reynolds). “Broad City” helmer Lucia Aniello to direct.

“Home Alone”

Why This Film And Why Now? Quick, is Jacob Tremblay busy? How much longer have we got with him while he’s adorbz? The misadventures of angel-faced, twice-abandoned moppet Macauley Culkin in the “Home Alone” franchise made an absolute killing at the box office, with the first taking $487m worldwide (and in 1990, that wasn’t the chump change it is now) and the 1992’s “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York” taking a very healthy $359m. But did you know the Home Alonaverse did not end there? You can be forgiven, if so: 1997’s “Home Alone 3” starring none of the original cast (and Alex D Linz is no Culkin) made less than $80m, while “Home Alone 4” and “Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist,” (yes, these affronts to God exist) were both made-for-TV. Not that anyone really gives a “Kevin!” about continuity in this particular ‘verse, this does pose the problem that almost all approaches to sequelization have already been tried and failed. “Home Alone 4” even basically recast the original, using the same character names, and implying some of the events of the first two had happened, yet updating the setting while keeping Kevin the same age. What? When you have Daniel Stern refusing to be in your movie and calling it “total garbage” (French Stewart replaced him, which is sad news for French Stewart) surely you should call it a day.

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? If we lived in a more interesting world, it might look like a feature version of this short webseries episode from Moldy Peaches guitarist Jack Dishel, in which a grown-up Macauley Culkin plays a psycho Uber driver haunted by parental abandonment issues. But we don’t, instead they’d probably cast Macauley as the dad (if at all) who, having suffered from commitment issues all his life as a result of his childhood trauma, learns a little about parenting and about how easily mistakes like leaving your 8-year-old at home while you fly off on vacation, can happen, when he does pretty much the same thing. Sure they could make it a little girl this time, and maybe have him be a weekend/holiday Dad who is separated from her mother (but over the course of the film learns finally that Family is Everything) but they could also just not. At all. Short of Xavier Dolan doing some sort of arthouse take starring Antoine Olivier Pilon we’d be very happy if “Home Alone” was just left alone.


Why This Film And Why Now? Since the originals are often grouped together as evidence of a halcyon period of studio comedy in the 1980s, you can be sure there’s a finger hovering over the greenlight button somewhere on a new “Gremlins” film, depending on how well the “Ghostbusters” reboot does. But this will hardly be the first time “Gremlins 3” has been mooted — as recently as 2013 there were said to be definite talks happening between Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment with a view to jump starting it again. Original director Joe Dante, who at the time burned down the franchise in rather spectacular fashion when his anarchic, batshit “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” tanked at the box office, said more recently still that he constantly hears rumblings, though he himself is not currently involved in the discussions. Given that, even aside from the “Ghostbusters” deal, producer Steven Spielberg has recently after-the-fact-sequelized two other beloved properties (“Indiana Jones” and “Jurassic Park”) it’s by no means impossible that this one goes ahead too. That said, it’s been hovering over us since forever (here’s Dante quashing a round of rumors in 2010), and while actor Zach Gilligan who plays Billy was sure it was moving forward in November of 2015, he’s got a bit of skin on the game and is not exactly a disinterested party. The big sticking point with purists will undoubtedly be whether or not the effects are going to be practical, but with mo-cap technology what it is, we could see some halfway measure happening that might not be the worst. The bigger deal for us would be Dante’s involvement: it seems like it should be a prerequisite, but his recent directorial output has been spotty (to be very kind) so who could take it on instead (under Dante’s guidance, we’d hope)? Edgar Wright? Rupert Wyatt? Peter Jackson? Or (terrifying thought) original writer and “Pixels” director Chris Columbus?

What Could A Legacyquel Look Like? Set in a near-future where humanity’s attempts to contain the Gremlin population have come to naught, “Rise Of The Planet Of The Gremlins” sees ex-real-estate billionaire, now US President Clamp (John Glover) essentially enslaving the peaceful Mogwai along with all the Gremlins he can find. In the midst of all this, Gizmo, now an elder Mogwai statesman and the best hope for peaceful co-existence realizes he must become a Gremlin if he is to be able to appeal to their better natures. Meanwhile, Billy (Gilligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) finally develop a secret formula that can turn all Gremlins back into Mogwai but Gizmo, who has learnt the freedom that Gremlinization brings, persuades them to halve the dosage to create hybrid “Moglins” instead — not all bad, not all good, just like people. Clamp is impeached and the new president chooses Gizmo as as his VP.

Honorable Mentions: Obviously, there are dozens more where that came from, and that’s even excluding the franchises that have some kind of legacyquel properly in development, whether on the big-screen (“The Crow,” “Top Gun,” “The Predator,” “The Shining”) or on the small (“Lethal Weapon,” “The First Wives Club”). That said, there’s plenty more territory to be mined. Marvel have the rights to “Blade” again, though if the character resurfaces, we imagine a Netflix series would be the most obvious home for him. Surely it won’t be long before an “Addams Family” reboot gets underway, while there have been various attempts to bring “Fletch” back to some degree.

Could we get a “Crocodile Dundee” reboot with Jai Courteney as our hero’s son? Could Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock be tempted back for another “Speed” movie? Might “Guardians Of The Galaxy 2” give Kurt Russell enough heat to return as Snake Plissken for another ‘Escape From…’ movie? Would someone dare to develop a grown-up “Ferris Bueller” follow-up? The answer to all of the above is ‘we hope not,’ but they’re far from unlikely… Let us know what you’d like to see get the sequel/reboot treatment in the comments.

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