If current trends continue then by 2050 roughly 134 percent of all entertainment will be sequels, and original content will be released retroactively as prequels in order to capitalize on the success of the sequel which will come first and... sorry. I've gone all cross-eyed. My point is, content creators love sequels because they eliminate half the marketing work.
You're not selling people on the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter, any more. Now all you have to do is take a the name everyone knows and add words like "giant snake", "werewolf", and "Emma Watson's increased physical maturity" and boom. Coke money.
Sometimes, though, sequels actually fall through the cracks, even for juggernaut franchises. For instance...
Link and the Portal of Doom I'm not breaking any new ground here by saying Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is more or less the greatest video game ever made. It's direct sequel, Majora's Mask is regarded as slightly inferior (Not much of an insult when standing next to perfection), but still a very worthy title in the legendary series.
In between those two excellent games was an official novel called Link and the Portal of Doom written by children's author Tracey West. Taking place during the events of Ocarina. Link is sucked into various portals (of doooooooooom) as he traverses Hyrule and eventually destroys them by singing. Princess Zelda and Impa save him from one last portal (OF DOOOOOOOOOOM) trying to swallow him whole.
The weirdest part of this sequel is its timing. You'd think it would be a throwaway title to keep the games in mind between development cycles, but it was actually released in 2006, long after both Ocarina and Majora and even after the much more kid-centric Wind Waker. In the end, the whole thing has been considered non-canon anyway, but right on the inside is the Nintendo Seal of Approval. It's a legitimate sequel, if kind of a pointless one.
Splinter of the Mind's Eye It's no secret that Disney recently nuked the entire Star Wars expanded universe, and as much as that pains me I can admit that it was probably the right idea. Picking and choosing would have been a nightmare, and they want to start fresh with Episode VII and the inevitable empire it will continue to build.
But once upon a time no one knew if Star Wars was going to take off. Novelizations were a nice way to make extra dough on a film, even if it tanked, and Alan Dean Foster was hired to produce one for Star Wars. In doing so he was given pretty much everything George Lucas had ever written about the idea, and amazing trove of original backstory that didn't appear on film.
Foster was also hired to write a sequel to the novelization that could serve as the basis of a low budget movie sequel should the film's performance be lackluster. Set entirely on a misty jungle planet and featuring no dogfights or other aspects that would require major special effects, Splinter of the Mind's Eye was not only the first expanded universe novel but the first true Star Wars sequel. Of course, Star Wars made all the money in the world and went on to become a blockbuster trilogy. Splinter was excised from the canon, but it still stands as one of the best Star Wars novels ever written.
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Chronicles of the Shadow War Speaking of George Lucas, how come no one eve talks about how awesome Willow was? Seriously, it's a great film, and was way more worthy of an out-of-nowhere sequel than another Indiana Jones. If his appearance last year in Doctor Who is any indication, Warwick Davis is still perfectly capable of being a diminutive badass.
Especially since there's already an amazing, officially sanctioned fantasy trilogy just waiting to be adapated. Lucas teamed up with Chris Claremont to further Willow's adventures in the Chronicles of the Shadow War books. Willow wanders the world as a wizard, and the baby Elora Danan has grown into a spoiled teenage brat that must now learn how to save the world.
Let's see... beloved nostalgic classic appeal plus a plucky young female lead plus an aging, but still awesome pop culture icon to guide her. C'mon, Hollywood, we can't make this any easier. It's even got zombies.
E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet: A Novel Now, I'll be the first to say that there is never a reason to remake or make a sequel out of E.T.. The film said everything that needed to, ended exactly how it should have, and perfectly embodied the era it was made in. In short, it's pretty flawless.
But, you know, money, so out came the official next chapter in the story taking place on the main character's home planet of Brodo Asogi where E.T. continues to watch Elliot grow up and go through puberty. All in all William Kotzwinkle didn't write a bad book, exactly. It's just that he wrote an unnecessary book.
On the other hand, someone did make a Farmville clone based around the book, which means that someone finally made an E.T. video game that wasn't objectively terrible enough to destroy an entire industry. So, kudos to that.
Parasite Eve Parasite Eve is probably one of the most underrated RPGs ever released. It's weird mash-up of science fiction, survival horror, and traditional RPG elements was revolutionary for a console game in 1998. Though it's well remembered, it didn't exactly set the world on fire like Squaresoft's Final Fantasy.
It's also an extreme rarity in that the game is an official sequel to the same-titled novel by Hideaki Sena. Authors have occasionally collaborated with game makers on adaptations before. For instance Harlan Ellison was heavily involved in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, but there are only a handful of books that have ever been made directly into video games rather than adapted from film adaptations. As far as I can tell Parasite Eve is the only direct book-to-game sequel ever made, making it the oddest entry on this list.
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