The 4 Most Unsatisfying Teasers and Cliffhangers
In this age of blockbuster franchises, when most movies and TV shows are basically just commercials for other movies and TV shows (not to mention books, comics and superhero-branded fragrance lines), it’s not uncommon for stories to conspicuously tee up future installments. But occasionally, these teasers and cliffhangers — not unlike most aspects of life — are never satisfactorily resolved, leaving some movies and shows wildly unsatisfying as a result, like how…
‘The Mummy’ Introduced Us to the Stars of The ‘Dark Universe,’ Which Never Became a Thing
The Mummy — and by that we mean the Tom Cruise movie, not the sexy, but horrifically racist Brendan Fraser vehicle — was famously supposed to set up Universal’s monster-filled “Dark Universe” franchise (following a previously failed attempt by some dumb Dracula flick nobody remembers). Unfortunately for everybody involved, the movie bombed, and the Dark Universe only ever consisted of those two movies plus one Photoshopped publicity image.
The Mummy is a colossal mess, literally ending with Cruise becoming a Mummy-powered superhero. But even worse, in retrospect, are all the awkward attempts to lay the groundwork for sequels that never even came close to being made. There’s a whole sequence where Cruise’s character visits Dr. Jekyll, played by Russell Crowe, who briefly turns into Mr. Hyde but somehow resists the urge to look directly into the camera and plug his upcoming movie.
Jekyll’s lab even features a direct reference to The Creature From the Black Lagoon, another project that never got off the ground. R.I.P. Monster Avengers played by problematic actors in their late-50s.
Will Harry Styles Ever Return to the MCU? Nobody Knows
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has obviously become famous for its post-credit teasers, which routinely reward those audiences who endure the tedium of sitting through the names of the “Best Boy” and “Mr. Renner’s Foot Masseuse” with a brief snippet of a scene, usually foreshadowing future storylines.
Sometimes, these teasers pave the way for exciting new movies — other times, they seemingly lead absolutely nowhere. Take The Eternals, which introduced megastar Harry Styles as Thanos’ brother Eros (along with some kind of Warcraft character by Patton Oswalt). It’s been two years; will these two ever show up again?
Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige was recently asked about whether or not we’ll ever see Styles return to the MCU and gave the oddly vague answer: “We will see. You introduce a lot of new characters in a lot of movies and a lot of tags. Where do the tag folk reappear? That’s a good question.”
This kind of implies that the “tag folk” are basically just glorified, Police Squad-esque cameos that may or may not reappear. Will we ever see Charlize Theron’s briefly-glimpsed Clea in Doctor Strange come back in another movie? Or Brett Goldstein’s Hercules?
At least give us a short film in which Hercules goes into hiding as a washed-up U.K. football star to give us some sense of resolution.
Nothing About the End of ‘Morbius’ Makes Any Sense
Sony’s Spider-Man-less Spider-Man franchise also picked up the MCU’s post-credit teaser trend, including the recent, much-maligned Morbius. In the film’s final moments, Michael Keaton’s The Vulture shows up despite the fact he lives in a parallel dimension legally co-owned by Marvel Studios. Keaton offers a hilariously half-assed explanation for his appearance (“It has to do with Spider-Man, I think”) and suggests that he and Jared Leto’s Morbius should “team up.”
Either this means that Michael Keaton is going to play keytar for 30 Seconds to Mars, or, more likely, it’s hinting at a Sinister Six movie that will unite all of Sony’s Spider-Man villains who contractually can’t battle Spider-Man — and based on Morbius’ notorious crappiness, presumably this will never happen.
This wasn’t even the first time that Michael Keaton showed up in a post-credit sequence to chat with another villain, lest we forget that he palled around with Scorpion at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This, too, has had absolutely no payoff. (Other than illustrating that Vulture is keeping Spider-Man’s secret identity a secret for… reasons?) But, hey, as long as Michael Keaton keeps collecting paychecks for showing up and being Michael Keaton-y for 30 seconds at a time, we’re happy.
So Many ‘Lost’ Clones Ended with Unresolved Mysteries
A lot of people have complained about the Lost finale over the years, but that ending looks like a masterpiece compared to its many imitators, which similarly posed huge mystery box-sized questions to viewers but never got around to answering them (even in a cringey pseudo-religious fashion).
Take the J.J. Abrams-produced Alcatraz, in which a group of inmates in the 1960s mysteriously time travel to the present day. How? Why? We never actually found out because Alcatraz was canceled and never got a second season. Even more frustrating, the show ended with the protagonist being stabbed to death.
A similar thing happened with FlashForward, the show that borrowed its titular narrative device from Lost and, perhaps not coincidentally, starred two former Lost cast members. It wrapped up with another global “flashforward,” a major tease for a Season Two that never came because the show also got the ax.
The same goes for NBC’s alien conspiracy drama The Event (aka THE EVƎNT), which also ended on a cliffhanger. We never even got to find out what the “event” was.
And we haven’t even mentioned John Doe, Awake, Drive, Reunion, Threshold, Point Pleasant, Traveler, Journeyman, The Cape, Invasion, Terra Nova, Night Sky, Debris, Dark Skies or Forever. At this point, society as a whole has been conditioned to associate network TV mysteries with the feeling of crushing disappointment just 22 episodes later.
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