What exactly is a legacy sequel? According to the internet, it is “a work that follows the continuity of the original work(s), but takes place further along the timeline, often focusing on new characters with the original ones still present in the plot.” And boy have they gotten popular. From The Exorcist: Believer to Halloween 2018 to even Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they’ve been churning out steadily. Hell, we got a freaking Mutilator 2 out of it (and who would have ever expected that?). And it’s hard not to wonder why we’re getting so many.
Originality can be a hard thing for financiers to gamble on. This is why we find ourselves amid trend after trend that takes over movie theaters until the general public is sick of it. As soon as something hits, they go after it like rabid dogs till there’s nothing more to pick from the corpse. And the cycle repeats. Superhero movies were the latest casualty. In 2015, we saw Star Wars return with A Force Awakens, but I’m a horror guy, so I’ll use an example from the horror world: 2018’s Halloween. This saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the role that made her famous in Laurie Strode. They ignored all of the sequels outside of the original and set to tell a story across three films. Except, that’s not really what happened, and they betrayed the entire concept of a legacy sequel.
While Halloween 2018 was presented as the first of a new trilogy, there wasn’t much of a plan after this entry. David Gordon Green and Company really just did things on the fly. Which is why when Halloween Ends came long, the point of it being a legacy sequel seemed lost upon the filmmakers. The characters we know from prior movies don’t even act like themselves, character arcs are recycled or ignored and we end up spending more time with a completely new person. So what was even the point? It could have just been a regular sequel without any of the characters from 2018 or Kills and DGG could have done his dumb Corey Cunningham story.
Then there was The Exorcist: Believer. I’ve come to this movie’s defense multiple times and still don’t think it’s the bad movie that some claim it to be. But the stuff that IS bad is everything related to the original Exorcist AKA all of the Legacy Sequel aspects. Get rid of those elements, and it would be a unique possession story. After Believer one thing became clear: Legacy Sequels have got to go. Because the more they’ve stuck around the more filmmakers seem to completely lose the point of them. We want to see these characters return and honor what came before it, not completely flip the characters on their heads. There’s nothing more insulting than having a character we’ve known for decades, return in a Legacy Sequel, only to die to service newer characters we care less about.
And that’s not to say there aren’t some great Legacy Sequels. Heck, in many ways, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare could be considered a Legacy sequel, so the style of film has been around for quite some time. But the laziness that has become synonymous with them is getting too apparent. It seems many filmmakers just think that bringing back past characters is enough, while paying no mind of keeping them consistent or putting them into an interesting story. It’s simply “Hey, this person is returning so fans should be happy.”
I was fed up with Legacy Sequels once Halloween Ends came along and was completely irrelevant to the rest of the series. After setting up multiple movies of “Laurie is going to go after Michael” we instead got “Michael sleeps in a sewer and gives his mystical powers to an awkward car mechanic.” Just make sequels and get away from the Legacy aspect. We do not need to see these people return to roles 30+ years later when those new roles essentially tarnish the prior legacy. Which makes the point of these sequels completely moot. Here’s hoping they finally just focus on making good movies instead of who they can bring back. But the cynic in me is hard to convince.
What do YOU think about Legacy Sequels? Do you think we should move on from them? Or do you think we should give them another chance? Comment below and let us know!