In Hollywood, great power rarely brings with it great responsibility. Which is why often, when a film clearly doesn’t need a sequel, money-grabbing movie execs make one anyway. Let’s at least count our lucky stars that these desperate plot ideas – all once genuine plans for famous film franchises – were stopped in their tracks before hitting cinemas…
Se7en: The planned sequel for ‘Se7en’ – clumsily titled ‘Ei8ht’ – wasn’t daunted by the final-seeming conclusion of the original. See, Morgan Freeman’s character from the first film would return, but with psychic powers that he has never, ever displayed before. Really. David Fincher said, upon receiving the script, that he’d rather have cigarettes put out on his eyes than make this film.
ET: One of the most widely derided scrapped sequels, ET 2 planned to swap the heart-warming loveliness of the original for grim horror, as a race of murderous space albinos come to Earth, torture Elliot and spark a sort of civil war among dumpy extraterrestrials. Spielberg admitted it was a bad idea, noting it would “rob the original of its virginity.”
Gravity: It would have been cruel to fling Sandra Bullock back into space after the trauma she endured in Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 blockbuster. So Warner reportedly started toying instead with an idea spawned from an off-hand comment made in the original, when Mission Control mention that ‘multiple’ satellites were down. Exactly the same movie remade with different actors, then. Pass!
Mrs Doubtfire: Despite Robin Williams regularly telling anyone else who’d listen that a Mrs Doubtfire sequel was stupid idea, the bizarre Mrs Doubtfire 2 was in development before his death, and reportedly set to have seen Doubtfire follow his daughter to college. Since Williams’ death in 2014, plans for the film have gone up in flames quicker than a pair of comedy breasts.
Forrest Gump: A planned sequel to this Tom Hanks classic, titled ‘Gump and Co’, had Forrest become embroiled in further world events, including – somehow – the OJ Simpson murder trial. Director Robert Zemekis and Tom Hanks ditched the idea after September 11, deciding his story was “no longer relevant.”
Gladiator 2: Decide for yourself which part of the anecdotal plans for a Gladiator sequel are the most amazing: the fact Nick Cave wrote it, the fact he did so at the insistence of Russell Crowe – or maybe the fact that Cave planned to resurrect Crowe’s Maximus from the dead as a time-travelling fighter who serves in WWII and Vietnam, eventually eventually ending up at the White House.
Jurassic World: A lot of people complained that Jurassic World seemed outlandish, with its hybrid DNA-splicing dinosaurs. It could have so much worse though: in 2007 a canned script for Jurassic Park 4 hit the web that involved a breeding program that saw humans spliced with dino DNA to fight the war on terror. Yep, dinosaurs with guns. Parts of the script were translated to Jurassic World.
8The Amazing Spider-Man 3
The Amazing Spider-Man 3: After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was poorly received, mainly for its incorrect use of the word ‘amazing’, Andrew Garfield’s Spidey universe was crumpled into a ball and chucked in a bin. Probably for the best, as the script for ASM3 reportedly saw Peter Parker learn how to bring dead people back to life, get down to EDM and spend half of the movie on Snapchat.