Really Bad Sequel Ideas That (Thankfully) Never Got Made
Hollywood has produced so many bad sequels over the years, many of which actually make us question our love of the original film, from The Matrix Reloaded to The Hangover Part II. But for every bad sequel that has made it to theaters, there are a million more that never got made.
Movie fans often don’t even realize how lucky they are that they dodged these bullets and that franchises were not ruined by awful concepts that thankfully never got off the ground. Here’s a look at the absolute worst ideas for sequels that very nearly happened.
1. A Jurassic Park sequel with dinosaur-human hybrids
Not everyone loved Jurassic World, but once you read about the original plans for Jurassic Park 4, you’ll be so very thankful we got the 2015 reboot instead of the alternative.
Jurassic Park 4 is one of those movies that was in talks for literally over a decade; Steven Spielberg confirmed it was happening not long after Jurassic Park III came out. There were a lot of ideas that were considered, but the absolute worst involved scientists creating dinosaur-human hybrids. Apparently, these dinosaurs would even be able to fire automatic weapons.
Luckily, this never ended up moving forward, and we can only pray that the Jurassic World sequels never use this dinosaur-human hybrid idea. Some concepts that were originally developed for Jurassic Park 4 in the early 2000s did end up getting used in Jurassic World, though, including the idea of training dinosaurs to fight in the military.
Next: This proposed sequel to E.T. would have taken the story in a shockingly dark direction.
2. An E.T. sequel where evil, carnivorous aliens kidnap Elliott
E.T. was an absolute monster at the box office when it came out in 1982. Domestically, it made the equivalent of $925 million today, meaning it was about as big of a hit as Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in 2015. It became the No. 1 movie of all time upon release, dethroning the original Star Wars. So it’s kind of surprising that Universal never made a sequel like Fox did with Star Wars.
Well, actually, Fox almost did. Shortly after the success of the original movie, Spielberg and writer Melissa Mathison put together a treatment for E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears. In it, a bunch of aliens of E.T.’s species arrive on Earth, except unlike E.T. himself, the treatment describes these aliens as being carnivorous and evil. Elliott gets all excited that E.T. is back, only for the aliens to kidnap him and his friends, subjecting them to horrifying torture. Finally, E.T. comes to save the day, having not been in the movie at all until this point.
So yeah, the delightful and optimistic original movie was almost followed up by a film in which a bunch of evil aliens that look like E.T. kidnap and torture the main characters. Spielberg wisely decided against moving forward with the sequel, deciding that it would “do nothing but rob the original of its virginity.”
Next: Another sequel to a classic Steven Spielberg film almost ruined everything.
3. A Jaws sequel that was a parody of the series
Jaws 3-D was another subpar sequel, severely dragged down by the fact that it relied so heavily on the 3-D gimmick. But believe it or not, the movie actually could have been a lot worse. The original idea for the third movie was for it to be Jaws 3, People 0.
As you can probably tell from that title, it was going to be a comedy, and it would be more of a spoof of Jaws than an actual sequel. Universal brought in some of the guys behind National Lampoon to write it. The script they came up with consists of a lot of scenes directly parodying the original Jaws, such as one where a shark is gutted, only for increasingly ridiculous things to come out of it, like a violin and some weed.
The plot itself was super meta. It was going to be about a film crew creating a sequel to Jaws, only to come under attack by a shark. There was even room for an appearance by Spielberg. But thankfully, Universal pulled the plug, realizing that making fun of their own series within the series itself wasn’t the best idea in the world.
Next: This sequel to Se7en would have left audiences baffled.
4. A Se7en sequel where Somerset has psychic powers
David Fincher’s Se7en was one of the great crime thrillers of the 1990s, and it still holds up today. It’s a fairly grounded film in which two detectives attempt to catch a serial killer who is choosing his victims based on the seven deadly sins. Everything is wrapped up by the end, and so all a sequel could do would be to follow the same characters on a completely different case.
This almost happened in the early 2000s. A script was floating around Hollywood about the hunt for a serial killer, and New Line figured they would just take the script, change it so that the characters are Somerset and Mills from Se7en, and it would work as a sequel.
The only problem? In this movie, one of the characters is psychic. So if this were a sequel to Se7en, it would reveal that Morgan Freeman’s character has had psychic abilities the whole time and apparently just never used them before.
Next: The lead character of this movie died at the end of it, but he almost came back to life in a sequel.
5. A sequel to Gladiator where Maximus rises from the dead
At the end of Gladiator, Russell Crowe’s character, Maximus Decimus Meridius, dies. When the movie was a success, there was talk of another one, and at first, everyone assumed it would have to be a prequel. But no, the idea was that a second Gladiator would involve Maximus rising from the dead.
“Maximus did die in the first Gladiator, but the Romans had a great belief in the afterlife,” producer Walter F. Parkes said in 2002. “Russell is exploring some ideas on how to come back.”
This awful concept got far enough for there to be an actual script. In it, Maximus goes to the afterlife, only for the gods to decide to send him back to Earth. When he returns, he becomes immortal, so he lives on to fight in World War II and even start working at the Pentagon.
Apparently, Russell Crowe actually liked this idea, but it never got off the ground. As recently as 2017, though, Ridley Scott said he wants to make a sequel, suggesting it would still be about Maximus coming back from the dead. “I know how to bring him back,” Scott said. “I was having this talk with the studio — ‘but he’s dead.’ But there is a way of bringing him back.” Apparently, Alien isn’t the only classic movie of Scott’s that he is intent on ruining.
Next: This is the crazy direction Sony was originally planning to go in before giving Spider-Man to Marvel.
6. A third Amazing Spider-Man movie where Gwen Stacy and her father return from the dead
The first Amazing Spider-Man movie ends with the death of Captain Stacy, Gwen Stacy’s father. This tragic event has a big impact on the story and on her character. Then, in the next movie, Gwen Stacy herself dies in one of the most upsetting scenes in comic book movie history. For a sequel that is generally pretty terrible, the Gwen Stacy death scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is actually quite well-executed.
But The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was apparently going to reverse all of this. After the movie was canceled, Denis Leary revealed that the plan was for his character, Captain Stacy, to return from the dead.
The rumor was also that Emma Stone was going to return as Gwen Stacy, potentially as a clone. This would have greatly reduced the impact of those deaths, which were two of the only good things about the Amazing Spider-Man movies, so we can be thankful that Sony scrapped the whole project and made a deal with Marvel Studios instead.
Next: A Forrest Gump sequel would have seen the main character being present for these crazy events.
7. A Forrest Gump sequel where he rides in O.J.’s Bronco
The classic 1994 film Forrest Gump was based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom, and one year after the movie’s release, Groom came up with a sequel novel called Gump & Co. The book is basically more of the same, just set in the 1980s and 1990s.
In it, Gump invents New Coke, accidentally causes the Berlin Wall to come down, and crashes the Exxon Valdez. A sequel movie was nearly made based on this book, and in it, there was going to be a scene where Gump actually rides in the back of O.J. Simpson’s White Bronco. At another point, it’s revealed that he left the bloody glove at the O.J. crime scene. Gump also would have been there for the Oklahoma City bombing.
But after 9/11, screenwriter Eric Roth says that he, Robert Zemeckis, and Tom Hanks decided not to go forward with it.
“[We] looked at each other and said, we don’t think this is relevant anymore,” Roth told Slashfilm. “The world had changed.”
Next: This abandoned Rambo sequel would have taken things into sci-fi territory.
7. A Rambo sequel where he fights a chemically-engineered super soldier
The Rambo franchise returned in 2008 with the fourth installment, which was just called Rambo. The movie wasn’t a huge hit, but it did well enough that the studio soon began talking about a sequel, the plot of which would have been absolutely bonkers.
In 2009, Sylvester Stallone told Aint it Cool News that the new Rambo would involve a military installation in the Pacific Northwest doing scientific experiments on soldiers. They create the ultimate killing machine, which Rambo has to hunt down and kill. It would be pretty weird for the Rambo series to suddenly get into sci-fi territory, but thankfully, the sequel never happened.
Later, talks about Rambo 5 resumed, with the rumor being that it would be about Rambo fighting ISIS. But that never ended up happening either; instead, a reboot is now in the works.
Next: This sequel to a classic Tim Burton movie would have gone tropical.
9. A Beetlejuice sequel where he goes to Hawaii and surfs
Beetlejuice is definitely one of Tim Burton’s best movies. Audiences ate it up back in 1988, and Warner Bros. was interested in a sequel. But they probably weren’t prepared for how strange Tim Burton’s proposed idea would end up being: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.
In the sequel, the Deetz family would go to Hawaii, where they would open a resort on an old burial ground. Lydia asks for Beetlejuice’s help in getting her parents to leave the island. Basically, it’s a lot like the first one, except this time, it’s in Hawaii. Oh, and Beetlejuice wins a surf contest.
The studio actually liked the idea, and for some time it seemed to be moving forward, with Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, and Winona Ryder all agreeing to come back. However, Burton then got tied up with Batman Returns, and it never got made. Thank you, Batman.
Next: This was one of the many abandoned ideas for Ghostbusters 3.
10. A Ghostbusters sequel where they go to an alternate universe and meet the Devil
Ghostbusters 3 is probably the most infamous never-made sequel of all time. For years, there was talk of a third Ghostbusters that would get the original cast back together, and pretty much every time Dan Aykroyd would do an interview, he’d promise that Ghostbusters 3 was coming. Of course, it never did, and instead, the franchise was rebooted in 2016.
There were a lot of Ghostbusters 3 ideas, but the most ill-advised was Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent. In this script, the Ghostbusters travel to an alternate version of Manhattan called Manhellton, where everything is a flipped version of what it is in the real world. Ultimately, the Ghostbusters would face off against the Devil himself.
It’s possible the idea could have been executed well. But seeing as a lot of the humor of Ghostbusters revolves around weird phenomena coming into the real world, it seems like putting the Ghostbusters into an entirely supernatural plane with no grounding at all would have been a mistake.
Next: This comedy series almost attempted to replace its irreplaceable lead actor.
11. A Naked Gun sequel with Ed Helms replacing Leslie Nelson
It’s difficult to imagine watching a Naked Gun movie without Leslie Nielsen. He’s just so iconic in his role as Frank Drebin, and his delivery of all of the goofy lines is so impeccable that swapping him out in favor of a different actor after his death just feels like it would be disrespectful and wrong.
That very nearly happened, though. In 2013, Paramount Pictures began working on a new Naked Gun, which would be a sequel and would star Ed Helms. The idea would be that he plays a completely different guy named Frank Drebin, although this was still being described as a sequel and not a remake.
That never really got off the ground, something Naked Gun fans were mostly happy about. In 2017, though, David Zucker did say that he was still trying to sell a Naked Gun 4 script, so we’re not quite rid of this awful idea yet.
Next: This sequel to a beloved animated film almost got the Nazis involved.
12. A Who Framed Roger Rabbit? sequel where Jessica gets kidnapped by Nazis
A sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was discussed after the original became a hit, and in fact, an entire script was written for a second one called Roger Rabbit II: The Toon Platoon. If you thought the original movie was dark for a kid’s film, it almost got even more messed up.
Apparently, this second one took place during World War II, and in it, Nazis kidnap Jessica Rabbit and force her to participate in propaganda videos. So Roger Rabbit has to travel to Nazi-occupied Europe in order to save her. It would have been the weirdest combination of animated characters and Nazi imagery since Donald Duck wore a Swastika.
That’s not even the only bizarre Roger Rabbit sequel idea. In 2016, Robert Zemeckis said that he’d still like to make another Roger Rabbit. But because Bob Hoskins had recently died, the sequel would recreate him digitally, which would probably be a complete disaster.
Next: This proposed sequel would have ruined a classic movie.
13. A Casablanca sequel that reveals that Rick was a spy all along
The idea of a sequel to Casablanca, one of the great movies ever made, is so patently stupid as to be hilarious, but Warner Bros. seriously considered it at the time.
The worst kind of sequel is one that actively undermines the first film, and that’s exactly what would have happened here. The Casablanca sequel, Brazzaville, would have revealed that Rick and Renault were both U.S. spies the whole time. So that means that Renault didn’t really turn good at the end of Casablanca; he was always on Rick’s side.
The movie also would have undermined the beauty of the original’s ending. At the end of the classic film, Rick sees Isla off, and she flies away with her husband. But in the sequel, her husband immediately dies, and so she just returns to Rick and they end up together.
Part of what was great about the original Casablanca was that Rick and Ilsa don’t ride off into the sunset at the end. But in the sequel, they do. Thank God it never happened and the ending of Casablanca remains untarnished.
Next: Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece, but it could have been the worst one of the series.
14. A third Toy Story that Pixar would not even make
Toy Story 3 is definitely one of the best sequels ever made. It takes all of the themes of the first two films to their logical conclusions and sends the characters off right. The timing of it was also perfect; because Pixar waited so long to make it, its release coincided with a lot of the kids who grew up with the originals going to college, appropriate seeing as Andy is going off to college in the movie.
But we almost never got any of this, as in 2004, Disney nearly made a third Toy Story without Pixar. This was before Disney officially bought Pixar, but they had the rights to the characters, and so they were going to give Toy Story 3 over to a new studio they created called Circle 7. The whole purpose of Circle 7 would be to make sequels to Pixar movies without Pixar’s involvement.
In the Circle 7 version of Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear would have a malfunction, so the toys send him away to Taiwan to be fixed. But when they find out that the toy company is recalling all Buzz Lightyears, they have to go on an adventure to Taiwan to save Buzz. Not only does this sound terrible because Pixar wouldn’t make it, but that plot also basically sounds like Toy Story 2 again, only with Woody swapped out for Buzz.
Luckily, when Disney officially purchased Pixar in 2006, John Lasseter canceled this awful idea.
Next: This Indiana Jones sequel would have been easy worse than Crystal Skull.
15. An Indiana Jones movie where Indy dies and is brought back to life via magic
Fans generally despised Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and one of their many complaints was that it took the series into ridiculous territory, with literal aliens and with Indy surviving an atomic bomb blast by hiding in a fridge. But it almost got so much more ridiculous so much earlier in the series.
After Temple of Doom, Chris Columbus started writing a third movie, which would open with Indy fighting a ghost at a haunted mansion. The plot would go on to be about Indy traveling to Mozambique, where Nazis kidnap a pygmy and Indy has to rescue him. In the climax of the film, Indy would literally die, only for the Monkey King to bring him back to life using magic peaches.
Ultimately, Spielberg was not happy with this idea. He instead suggested the sequel have something to do with Indy’s dad. Thus we got The Last Crusade, by far the best of the Indiana Jones sequels. Fans sure dodged a bullet with that one.
Read more: 15 of the Worst Movie Sequels of All Time