Laika CEO & Kubo director Travis Knight says why he will never do a sequel
Who would’ve thought the key to being original was—wait for it—not making an obscene amount of sequels and reboots (*feign gasps and over-dramatic wilting*). Shocking as that may be, originality truly is the key to success for studios such as Laika, who are putting out consistently entertaining, unique works of art.
Laika is on a hot-streak, releasing a constant flow of critically-acclaimed animated films. This is a hot-streak the studio naturally wants to continue, and the way to do that is, in the opinion of Laika CEO and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS director Travis Kinght, to not make any sort of sequel, re-boot, re-tool, re-vamp or re-prequel. Knight spoke out against sequels during an interview with Cartoon Brew:
I take a firm stand against sequels. My industry brethren are a little shocked at how firmly I’m committed to not doing sequels. Of course there are great sequels. Godfather II, The Empire Strikes Back. But I think if you look at where our industry is going, it’s dominated by franchises and brands, re-dos, re-makes, sequels and prequels, where all these old presents are re-wrapped and offered up as new gifts. The pendulum has gone so far in that one direction. We used to go to movies to see stories about ourselves. It would transport us to new worlds and we’d see aspects of ourselves reflected back. As TV has become more like movies, movies have become more like TV. It’s gone the other way. There are these serials, these continuing stories that are a regurgitation of the same things we’ve seen over and over again. And I have no interest in doing that.
Knight then breaks it down not only as a matter of principle, but as a matter of storytelling:
The way we approach our stories is we imagine each film as if it’s the most meaningful experience of our protagonist’s life. If that’s your point of view, your sequel is automatically either going to be (A) a diminishment of that – is it the second most important experience of your protagonist’s life? Or, (B) you’ve got to crank up the volume so much, everything’s sensory overload, and becomes comical how much you have to ratchet it up to justify its existence. I’m not interested in that. I don’t want to do that. I want to tell new and original stories.
Sequels and reboots are an easy punching bag. They look like the studios have run out of ideas, and that they’re only interested in money. Though that may be true in more cases than one, many audiences do want to revisit certain worlds and characters (MARVEL, DC and STAR WARS movies to name a few), and some sequels can actually be better than their predecessors, as long as the people making them have passion and intellect. However, as long as we have dedicated men like Knight working at Laika, aspiring to do something unique, there's no reason we can't live in a world with both original movies and sequels. We can be transported to beloved, familiar worlds via sequels and reboots, and then venture off with Laika flicks that introduce us to something new. No rule exists that says we can’t have both. Don’t bring that up in a certain hip crowds, though.
Laika's new movie, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, is out now and has received rave reviews, including a 10/10 score from our own JimmyO