Commentary: When Is A Sequel Not A Sequel?

The concept of sequels is a debate between storytelling and money making. If movie producers see an avenue for utilizing a sequel, they will often push for it without a real creative reason to do so. Likewise, sometimes there is very strong potential to continue a story with a sequel, but the financing to make it a reality just doesn’t make business sense. Unfortunately, the former often happens far more regularly than the latter. Because creatives don’t often have control over what gets greenlit, sequels are often a business decision rather than a storytelling one. But the question of what constitutes a sequel when a property continues should be discussed more. A great example of this is RIPD 2.

The first RIPD starred Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. It was a CGI heavy story about ghostly police officers tasked with hunting down souls that avoid the afterlife. The film was a big budget Hollywood production featuring other other recognizable actors beyond its stars. The sequel, meanwhile, was anything but. Although titled RIPD 2: Rise of the Damned, it was actually a prequel focusing on the origins of Bridges’s character. But he was not involved in the project. In fact, the sequel is really a direct-to-video, low budget production that seemed to have absolutely no connection to the first film at all. The actors even felt like they were playing two completely different characters.

Judging by promotion alone, it’s hard to tell how different these two movies actually are. From just a title card and marketing standpoint, it seemed as if the sequel was a continuation of the first film when it didn’t need to be. This movie was something all on its own without any connection to the original. It begs the question why it was billed as a sequel at all?

The answer is simple: money. It was produced swiftly and cheaply to capitalize on a market. It was not a necessary continuation of the story or a desired prequel. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. Movie producers are allowed to make the films they want. Nonetheless, it is disingenuous to hitch this film to the first when they feel like completely different properties. RIPD 2 should have been considered a reboot, and having the status of a sequel might have actually hurt its perception in the eyes of the audience.

The concept of sequels is a debate between storytelling and money making. If movie producers see an avenue for utilizingCOMICONRead More

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