6 Insane Sequels That Almost Ruined Classic Movies
Hollywood may be a soulless machine of sequels, prequels, remakes and ripoffs, but there are some movies that even they won't touch -- some because they are undisputed classics that would only be cheapened by a sequel, and some because there's simply no rational way to continue the story.
Well, it turns out that if they've left those movies alone, it's not for lack of trying. Here are six absolutely real and completely insane proposed sequels that were fortunately never made:
Se7en 2: Ei8ht
David Fincher's classic serial-killer flick Se7en has a pretty closed ending: Out of the four main characters, one is shot in the head, one is presumably institutionalized and another one now fits in a small box. However, where most people saw a finished story, the executives at New Line Cinema saw an ending filled with sequel potential, so they actually went ahead and developed a sequel centering on the one remaining character ... who is now magic.
In 2002, New Line Cinema grabbed a screenplay by the writer of Ocean's Eleven about a clairvoyant doctor who helps the FBI catch a serial killer and rewrote it as a sequel for Se7en, replacing the protagonist with Morgan Freeman's character from the first film. It's the exact same character, only this time around he has psychic powers (or maybe he had them all along but just didn't mention it in the first one).
"Because eat me, that's why."
This script was at one point sent to David Fincher, who said "it didn't make a lot of sense" and later commented that he would rather have cigarettes put out in his eye than do Ei8ht. So that's probably a no for him. We're pretty sure Brad Pitt would have sided with his pal Fincher ... but you never know about Morgan Freeman.
If he did Dreamcatcher, he'll do anything.
Once you start introducing supernatural elements, what's to stop them from bringing back John Doe as a crazy ghost who haunts Morgan Freeman? Or maybe Gwyneth Paltrow as his clumsy beheaded ghost sidekick. We're 90 percent sure these ideas were at least floated around by the execs before they mercifully abandoned the project.
But, believe it or not, this movie is coming out ... under its original name (Solace) and with Anthony Hopkins playing the psychic doctor.
Because Anthony Hopkins as a doctor who helps FBI agents catch a serial killer is the most original idea ever.
E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears
This sequel for one of the highest grossing and most beloved family films of all time would have taken everything that made E.T. successful and gone in the exact opposite direction: It would have featured evil aliens, animal murder and child torture. The one thing it didn't have? A sizable role for E.T. himself.
And instead of Reese's Pieces it would have been something hateful, like chocolate Skittles.
After the insane success of E.T. in 1982, Steven Spielberg and the movie's writer Melissa Mathison immediately got to work on a sequel. Within weeks of the original movie's release, Spielberg and Mathison had already produced a nine-page treatment for E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears, which borrowed several elements from a previous idea of Spielberg's about a family being terrorized by aliens. Which sounds weird, but come on ... how can you go wrong with E.T.? Aside from turning it into a video game.
The story begins exactly like the first E.T., with a spaceship landing in the middle of the forest -- the only difference is that this time more than one alien comes out, and also they are evil. We know this because the treatment specifically says, "The aliens on board are EVIL." They look exactly like E.T., only they're albinos. We later find out that the white aliens hate the brown-skinned aliens and have come to Earth chasing E.T., whose real name is revealed to be Zrek.
Zrek Jefferson, to be more specific.
E.T., however, left Earth long ago, so these redneck aliens amuse themselves hunting and killing forest animals with their mental powers. Yep, instead of Reese's Pieces, they feed on fresh meat. Meanwhile, the kids from the first movie are feeling depressed because they still miss their turd-looking space friend. Elliott and his brother and sister somehow end up back in the forest and bump into the albino aliens -- the aliens sense that they know something about "Zrek" and freeze the terrified kids with their powers.
And this is where things get really messed up: The kids are taken into the spaceship and tortured by aliens for information on Zrek. Elliott is tortured until he passes out and then tossed into a cell with his siblings.
Drew Barrymore would have been around 9 at the time this movie was made, and therefore already addicted to cocaine.
At this point, the rest of the movie would have been rendered completely unwatchable by the horrified screams of every kid in the audience. And the foremost question in their minds (besides "Whyyyyyy?") would be: Where the hell is E.T.? Turns out he only shows up at the very end of the movie, when he rescues the kids and sends the bad guys to the other end of the galaxy ... before heading back into space himself. That's his entire role in the film.
Granted, this was just an initial treatment, and a lot would have probably changed before it got made, but the fact that it was written by Spielberg and Mathison themselves didn't bode well. In the end, Spielberg decided to abort the project because even he realized that it "would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity."
Above: Our best idea of what he was talking about.
That's ... one way to put it.
Forrest Gump 2: Gump and Co.
If you ever wondered what Forrest Gump was doing in the '80s and '90s, turns out the answer is pretty much the same thing he was doing in the '60s and '70s, only with ridiculous hair. The proposed sequel for Forrest Gump would have featured the lovable man-child making cameos in more world events, fighting in another war and delivering plenty more chocolate analogies. Oh, and he would have also met beloved celebrities of the '90s, like Princess Diana and ... um, O.J. Simpson.
We're using a pretty loose definition of the word "beloved" here.
No, really. There's a whole part with Forrest escaping from the police with O.J., because apparently the '90s didn't have a lot to choose from in term of historic figures.
Eric Roth, screenwriter for both Forrest Gump movies, says Gump and Co. would have started literally five minutes after the end of the first one, with Forrest sitting on the bench waiting for his son to get back from school. When the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company has financial troubles, Forrest (now a widower) apparently begins a career as a dancer to support his son. This leads to a scene where he gets to dance with Princess Diana, which no doubt would have ended with Forrest saying something cute, like "It sure is lots of fun to drive through a tunnel. You should try it more often."
Their sex scene was described by critics as everything from "wrong" to "straight up unholy."
The script for Gump and Co. was based on the book of the same name in which Forrest is seen inventing New Coke, crashing the Exxon Valdez, accidentally tearing down the Berlin Wall and fighting in Desert Storm with his orangutan sidekick. We don't know how much of this made it into the screenplay (hopefully the orangutan wasn't cut) -- but we do know, from Eric Roth himself, that the film would have included a sequence where Forrest ends up in the back of the Bronco driven by O.J. Simpson during the famous televised chase. Forrest is also the one who tossed the bloody glove ... so when you think about it, he's the one responsible for O.J. being acquitted.
That's Forrest in the red tie.
The movie would have ended with Forrest being present during the Oklahoma City bombing and commenting on the events with his particular brand of wisdom -- that's the sort of shit you could only get away with before 9/11. Unfortunately for Eric Roth, he happened to submit the script for Gump and Co. on September 10, 2001. After that, Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis decided that the movie wasn't "relevant" anymore and pulled the plug.
As for Eric Roth, he went on to write another movie about a man-child wandering through history that has nothing to do with Forrest Gump:
This one was slightly more realistic, though.
Beetlejuice 2: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian
Tim Burton's Beetlejuice was way ahead of its time, mainly because it had a message that still resonates with goths and emo kids everywhere: Death is far better than the torment of a comfortable upper-middle-class life. It also made like five times its budget, so it's no surprise that the studio was desperate to make a sequel and asked Tim Burton to pull something out of his ass as fast as possible.
And pull out of his ass he did. Apparently, Burton did not particularly feel like doing a sequel, so he offered the studio the worst sequel idea he could think of: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. You can probably guess the entire plot from those three words, including the part with the surf contest won by Beetlejuice.
Also, he gets a Hawaiian shirt and a tan, at which point he becomes Nick Nolte's mugshot.
According to screenwriter Jonathan Gems, "Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German expressionism, because they're totally wrong together." However, the studio ate it up: A script was commissioned, and both Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder signed up to do the film in 1990.
The script was practically a remake of the first movie, only in warmer weather. The Deetz family moves to a Hawaiian island and opens a resort that happens to be built on top of some ancient burial grounds. Winona Ryder's character, Lydia, goes to the afterlife to ask Beetlejuice to scare her own family off of the island. Beetlejuice takes the job, but also uses the afterlife version of Rophynol to make Lydia fall in love with him. The two hook up, and Lydia even agrees to get married to Beetlejuice.
A recurrent theme in the franchise, apparently.
In the grand finale, Beetlejuice turns into a giant monster ("Juicifer") when his plans have gone to shit and starts leveling the island with some help from reanimated dinosaur skeletons and monster Easter Island heads. Then, a no-longer hot for Beetlejuice Lydia uses her psychic powers to summon a tidal wave and ... levels the island herself, apparently. Including her parents' hotel. The end.
As shitty as it sounds, the movie would have probably been made anyway if Tim Burton hadn't gotten distracted by the Batman franchise. By 1996, the studio was still trying to get it made and even asked Kevin Smith to do a rewrite ... to which he wisely replied, "Didn't we say all we needed to say in the first Beetlejuice?"
And not nearly enough about Shrunken Head Guy.
Casablanca 2: Brazzaville
Casablanca is one of those classic movies that everyone has heard of but that most of you probably haven't seen. It consistently makes critics' lists of the greatest films of all time, and has almost certainly become the most quotable ("Here's looking at you, kid" and so on).
And the infamous "Pass that blunt and let's knuckle-fuck a Nazi."
The movie takes place during World War II and stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick, an American nightclub owner in the Nazi-controlled city of Casablanca. He's the Han Solo character, the guy with the shady past and no particular allegiance to anyone but himself. But then his former lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) shows up with her husband and asks for his help getting them out of the country. So, he is to risk his own life so that the woman he loves can go off and live her life with some other dude.
But in the end, he does it, their plan only succeeding due to a change of heart by corrupt police captain Louis Renault. In the final scene, Rick watches the love off his life fly away, then he and Renault walk off and Bogart utters one of the many famous lines ("Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.") It's implied that they're going to join the French resistance and take on the Nazis.
"Have you ever fired a machine gun in each hand, Rick? It's pretty much the shit."
Casablanca's bittersweet finale isn't just a perfect movie ending -- it's the perfect movie ending. Pretty much every line of dialogue in that scene is now a classic movie quote. And yet as soon as the movie became a hit, Warner Bros. seriously considered doing a sequel that didn't just continue the story -- admittedly, the idea of Rick and Captain Renault kicking Nazi butt across Europe sounds kind of awesome -- but seemed specifically designed to undermine everything that was great about the original.
"Was that cannon fire or was it my hea- AAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!"
One of the things that made Rick interesting was that he was a cynical bastard who sacrifices his own happiness in the end for the greater good. Brazzaville would have started out by revealing that the gambling, the alcoholism and his shady past as an arms dealer were just a cover for the fact that he was a U.S. anti-Nazi spy all along. Same with Renault: He didn't have a change of heart in that final scene, he was secretly working for the good guys the whole time, too. A great deal of the first movie could have been avoided if they'd only told each other before.
Sam also was a spy, and so was his piano.
But at least they didn't mess with the classic Rick/Ilsa love story, right? Yup: Ilsa's husband Victor Laszlo dies pretty early in the movie, and so she spends the rest of the time chasing Rick as he attempts to infiltrate a German spy ring in Tangiers. This puts Rick in an awkward spot because part of his top secret mission involves sleeping with a sexy Spanish femme fatale working for the Nazis.
So, in a complete rehash of the love triangle from the first movie, Rick loves Ilsa but can't tell her because that would compromise the mission, and Ilsa loves Rick but decides to let him go for the greater good. However, Rick's sexy Spanish Nazi girlfriend ends up taking a bullet for him during the final confrontation with the German spies -- and with that, Rick and Ilsa are finally free to be together and are last seen on a boat heading for America, in a perfectly happy ending. It's the anti-Casablanca.
"Eh, we've probably done enough to help the cause by now, let's go home."
The most frightening part? Humphrey Bogart actually signed up to do the movie in 1943. Ingrid Bergman didn't, but was apparently deemed replaceable. Fortunately, the executives at Warner Bros. ended up deciding not to go ahead with the project, despite the fact that they probably could have made a shitload of money with it. Let's just hope they're not reading this article.
Gladiator 2 (by Nick Cave)
How do you do a sequel for a movie where the main character died at the end? The answer is: You don't. Or, if you're Russell Crowe, the other answer is: You hire a rock star to write the most deranged gladiator movie ever conceived. It's important to note that we didn't make up any part of the story we're about to tell you: This is a real script that exists, and it was personally commissioned by Ridley Scott and Crowe. It's also the only entry in this list we actually want to see, because of how awesomely insane it is.
After doing Gladiator, Scott and Crowe were eager to do a sequel but had one little problem: As mentioned, the main character (Maximus) is unmistakably dead and buried by the end of the movie. Crowe thought there had to be a way around that pesky little detail and hired the legendary Nick Cave from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to come up with a "creative solution." The fact that the Gladiator 2 script was written by a famous rock star is the most normal thing about it.
Above: Either Nick Cave or the antichrist's drug dealer.
The story written by Cave opens with Maximus gladiatoring the shit out of some Roman gods in the afterlife until they agree to let him go back to the land of the living. The newly reincarnated Maximus then spends some time in Rome defending early Christians from persecution -- and somehow becoming immortal. During the next two hours, we watch Maximus kick ass throughout history, being present at every important war ever fought from the Crusades to Vietnam, like a more muscular Forrest Gump.
The end of the script reveals that Maximus ended up working at the Pentagon, which makes sense because it does sort of look like a gladiator arena. We like to imagine that even at the Pentagon he was still wearing that same miniskirt from the first movie, if only to justify the word "gladiator" in Gladiator 2.
Alright, so maybe he puts on a tie when going to a meeting.
Russell Crowe read this script ... and loved it. Seriously. Ridley Scott says they "tried to go with it," but the studio thought it was too over the top, for some reason. Eventually the two moved on to make Robin Hood, which might be more enjoyable if you pretend that Robin is actually an immortal Maximus in the 1100s.
For more bullets that were dodged, check out 10 Deleted Scenes That Would've Ruined The Film. Or see ways that Hollywood has ruined classics in 5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover whether or not Russell Crowe punched Nick Cave in the face.
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