I read an interesting article in USA Today this week with a title that went something like “Who is Fanboy?” Basically, the “journalists” were trying to affix certain overarching characteristics to SF fans; unfortunately, just as most women, they weren’t trying to truly understand the demographic in terms of true human characteristics, but instead trying to make generalities which would then be used to retool film projects in an attempt to make them more marketable. Instead of realizing that SF fans are just that, fans that cherish their narrative archetypes and myths, the journalists interviewed studio execs that were trying to figure out which specific parts of films made fans buy tickets. “Is it sex? Special effects? Clever, witty dialogue?” But they completely missed the point. What we want is to be respected as an audience, not at mindless ticket buyers. Though we share common traits, not all SF fans are the same and we all don’t have the same categorical likes and dislikes. Sure, many may like wizards, but some of us would prefer to see a space battle. But for most of us, it’s not the visual content that has made us fans; it is the narrative and thematic content that brings us back into the fantasy world again and again. The biggest misconception made by studio execs, I feel, is that fans always want to see sequels. And part of me understands their thought process. What could be easier? Take a hit SF property and just make a sequel. And sometimes it works and the properties get better. But sometimes they don’t. For every Empire Strikes Back there’s a Phantom Menace; for every Return of the King there’s a Matrix Revolutions; and for every Aliens there’s a Aliens vs. Predator. But what makes the difference? Respect. Respect for the property (characters, plot, theme). And maybe most importantly, respect for the audience. Just because s film makes money doesn’t automatically mean we want to see more. Sometimes a movie ends perfectly just the way it is. As much as I cherish the original, I don’t want to follow Rick Deckard as he fights more androids in a Blade Runner action/adventure rehash. But fans are in luck; we’ve been frothing at the mouths (and other places) for Indy IV and an X-Files sequel and they’re on their way. These are two perfect examples of modern film properties that deserve sequels because there are more stories to tell. So here is our list of the top ten sequels that we’re dying not just to see get made, but see get made right.
#10: Episodes VII-IX / I-III
I think every fan will argue the ranking on this one. Half would love to see the property just live in its current immortality while the other half would like to see films that take place after the events of Luke Skywalker. I can imagine the spittle-flying retorts at Comicon now: “Why is this even on the list? Episodes I-III were already made, idiot, and they sucked.” (I understand that. I don’t even own the prequels on DVD I despise them so much.) Or: “How could the Holy Trilogy be number ten? Everyone wants to see more Star Wars films, even football players and hot chicks! It’s the only science fiction film that is beloved by every American high school clique!” (I’d argue that point slightly, but it’s a close statement.) Just follow along with the Champ here. Imagine if the HD masters to the prequels were burned in a freak accident (i.e., E-Rokk and Champ Kennedy broke into the Lucasfilm vault and set them on fire using a Boba Fett lighter). Then a talented filmmaker could go ahead and remake them so that they were actually watchable and didn’t absolutely shit on and contradict the original trilogy (don’t even get me started; that’s a piece unto itself that I can’t bring myself the pain to actually write). This site has done a wonderful job of displaying our displeasure in George Lucas and has probably written enough about his penchant for flannel and his hairy asshole, but I want to be clear: I used to enjoy his films. Sure, he always had help in making these films better and shouldn’t take full credit for his success, but he did know how to make money. And that’s the current problem with SF’s biggest film property: everything that comes out for it was contrived in order to sell merchandise. It doesn’t matter if a character sucks and doesn’t move the plot along; if George thinks he’s going to make money off of it, he will put it in a film. Imagine if Zack Snyder or Peter Jackson would take a shot at the prequels. Hell, he may not be an obvious or even popular choice, but I’d give Jon Favreau a shot at it. Why? What do those three filmmakers all have in common? They unabashedly love Star Wars and they would do anything to make a great film and make fans giddy about them again. (He may be Star Wars’ most recognizable fanboy, but Kevin Smith should never be given a chance to make a Star Wars film. The idea alone makes me shudder and throw up in my mouth a little bit.) Then, after surely making an assload of money, they could make VII-IX. But it shouldn’t focus completely on Luke Skywalker and the rest of the others. The old cast should make an appearance, but it shouldn’t be all about them. Mark Hamill should cross the universe finding and training new Jedi as new evils threaten the galaxy. And I don’t think a hidden fleet of Star Destroyers is a threat. So, what’s Champ’s idea? People think that the hero of the Original Trilogy is Luke Skywalker. He is, but he’s not the hero of the entire Star Wars saga. That honor goes to Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars is really about Anakin Skywalker: his fall from grace and eventual redemption. So, he should be tempted again from the blue-outlined spirit world and should be tricked into taking human form once more (or something along those lines). But if he does, he will destroy the universe (the universe is almost categorically always destroyed when a dead spirit crosses back into the living, right?). And Luke Skywalker and his band of student Jedi must stop Jedi that Anakin found first and turned into Sith. And it should be non-stop action from start to finish but should still have the pathos and betrayals that the originals had. But don’t count on it. (As if Harrison Ford would “lower” himself, regardless of any amount of money, to be in any other Star Wars films. Have you ever seen him at awards show or industry self-congratulatory lifetime achievement galas? He’ll proudly reminisce over video clips of shitty films such as Frantic or Regarding Henry, but he rolls his eyes and looks as if he’s about to vomit at even the mention of Star Wars. And that’s what stopping me from having an unhealthy man-crush on Harrison Ford: his notions of somehow being “above” Star Wars. He made a shit load of money from his licensing and likeness rights, so he should respect the canon a little more. At least don’t be an asshole about it; if you’re so ashamed of playing one of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema, give all the money you made from it to charity. Yeah, right, now who loves Star Wars?) Unfortunately, I think that Star Wars is so maligned right now because of the prequels that new films will never get made. True fans are afraid that George’s hairy asshole will kidnap them and he will then kill all of our childhoods a little more, and I think most fans simply want to remember the films as we did when we loved them as children. That’s why it’s a fantasy.
#9: Boogie Nights 2
It may not be science fiction or fantasy, but this story deserves to be continued. I’d love to follow Dirk Diggler and Jack Horner as they deal with problems stemming from the late 80s/ early 90s: videotape, AIDS, and the rise and death of hair metal. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see what happens to Reed Rothchild and Buck Swope? And you know Paul Thomas Anderson will make it visually incredible. He has this incredible knack for stealing from an obscure dead filmmaker (maybe Spanish-era Bunuel or studio Michael Powell films; see, Champ kennedy can do it, too) yet totally making it his own. When you’re watching that opening shot of Boogie Nights, you’re thinking, “Wow, this is the most incredible shot I’ve ever seen,” not “He’s blatantly stealing from Scorsese.” It’s not until later that you realize he just stole arguably the most famous shot in all of cinema history. And that’s the beauty, and talent, of PTA: he’s a film dork, and he won’t apologize for it (neither will Champ Kennedy). (Goodness, I can’t wait to see his next film, There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day-Lewis is going to own everyone’s soul in that movie, I can fucking taste it.)
#8: The Teen Comedies We All Grew Up With
Who doesn’t want to see Emilio Estevez put kids in detention? Who can’t wait to see James Spader wear that pink sweater around his neck again? These are the classic teen comedies that we all grew up on, and I’d love to see how some of the characters are fairing today. Now I said some, not all; we’ve probably seen enough Mannequin films and I really don’t care what happens to Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science or Patrick Dempsey in Can’t Buy Me Love (though I never understood that title because, apparently, you can). I have a few I would definitely want to see. Ferris Bueller’s Workday Off (shitty title that should be changed, but you know what I’m getting at). Matthew Broderick convinces Cameron Frye to take a day off from his stifling corporate job so they can take their sons out. Ferris is married to Mia Sara and has a great relationship with his son. He lets him get away with the shit he used to pull. But Cameron has tuned into his father and hasn’t realized it yet, but if he doesn’t soon his son is going to hate him too. So Ferris gets them in all kinds of wacky and hilarious adventures and we all have fun again. Why not? What else is Alan Ruck up to? (You could probably lose Jennifer Grey, but I least hope Charlie Sheen makes a cameo and if at all possible I’d want at least an appearance from Jeffrey Jones.) The next one scares me, but I love the characters so much I want to see how well they fare: Say Anything Else (again, shitty title). This one is scary because the original ended so perfectly (and I could definitely do without the supporting Eric Stoltz character). Lloyd Dobbler holding Ione Skye’s hand, reassuring her everything will be okay: the plane ride, certainly, but also their unknown future. Their love, however improbable, will get them through. Then the safety of the seat belt sign dings and we cut to black, left to imagine their future for ourselves while wishing that all good dorks could find an amazing love just like Lloyd Dobbler (can you tell Champ Kennedy is a romantic trainwreck?). Plus, since at the end of the film they were going to England, Lloyd Dobbler could meet Rob Gordon. Wouldn’t that be cool? They could make Top 5 lists about The Clash and Champ Kennedy Mixtapes.
#7: Predator with Dutch on the home planet
I had this idea pretty much as soon as I saw the original and it seems that the idea has recently been batted around Hollywood. But who wouldn’t want to see this? The film starts with Dutch on a mission, but pretty much right after the credits Predators land and take him to their home planet. They keep him in captivity and make him fight in gladiator-style matches. The beauty of this concept is that this makes a perfect opportunity to coalesce every major SF property into one film. These fights could feature any of the following and more (pick you own favorites): Klingons or Romulans; a Wookie; a Ring Wraith; Godzilla’s baby son; and, of course, Snake Plissken (but I don’t need to go into any further detail on that one – yet). Of course, an Alien should also make an appearance. I know, I know, Alien vs. Predator sucked. But it wasn’t because those two properties don’t fit well together. It’s because Paul W.S. Anderson directed it. He’s the worst filmmaker to ever live, even less talented than the guy that directed Roadhouse. Look at his track record: he almost destroyed Event Horizon and he took an excellent original script called Soldier and used it to almost destroy Kurt Russell’s career (a tough feat among SF dorks). And let’s not even get into the first Resident Evil. Well, okay, one point: why would you put your fighting heroine in a red dress for the entire film other than to sell sex? My infant cousin, Princess Di’s dead corpse, and E-Rokk’s penis could have done a better job than P.W.S.A. (It may not be fair to include E-Rokk’s penis in that list, though; not many people know this, but E-Rokk’s penis is actually an extremely accomplished filmmaker.) Anyway, back to my fantasy film: I’d love it if on this prison planet Dutch ran into Billy. In my version we flash back to the fight between the first Predator and Billy on that tree trunk bridge. It’s a balance act battle and Billy does fairly well. He ultimately gets his ass kicked, certainly, but he fought so valiantly the Predator sent him back to his home planet as well to fight in these gladiator contests as well. (A fan wink: he should have a giant scar across his chest from cutting himself.) Anyway, Billy convinces Dutch that instead of giving up they should fight. Arnold would give a big speech in which he talks to the humanoid aliens in only arm gestures and grunts, which is about the only English he knows (not that it matters since all aliens somehow speak English anyway). They team up with all the humanoid aliens to fight the bug-looking aliens and earn the respect of the Predators. It would kind of be like Spartacus, just without all the homoerotic undertones (unless, of course, The Jage directed it and he also cast Ryan Reynolds, who would most assuredly fight the entire film without his shirt on). Anyway, after all this there would be an introduction to a new evil bad ass alien that invades the Predator home world and the gladiators would team up with the Predators for survival. Just look me in the eye and tell me that wouldn’t be an awesome movie.
What isn’t there to love? Swords, catapults, and a two-headed dragon? Check. Smokin’ hot Joanne Whalley in her only major role, most of it spent in armor? Check. Bad ass bad guy with a bad ass helmet? Check. More midgets than any circus you have ever seen? Double check. Think of it this way: in any other film, peripheral and (supposed) comic relief characters with goofy accents usually ruin otherwise classy films, especially when birthed from the hairy asshole of George Lucas (need I go through the list?). But here Rool and Franjean are not that grating and at times are actually funny. And how lame are chase scenes that seem successful solely by accident or because of the use of an otherwise innocuous object? Well, not this one. Fanboys in theaters everywhere groaned when Wicket, er, Warwick Davis jumped on that shield and started sledding down the hill. That’s right, sledding. But it was so ridiculous and fanciful it actually worked! And who can forget the first time we see Val Kilmer hanging in that cage? Who introduces their warrior and hero of the story in a cage? George Lucas and Val Kilmer, that’s who. He may have been gay in Top Gun, he may have deserved Oscars for portraying two real people (Jim Morrison and Doc Holiday), he may be demanding and difficult to work with, and he definitely is crazy. But for me (and E-Rokk) Val Kilmer will always be Madmartigan.
#5: The Godfather Part IV
The Godfather Part II is my favorite film of all-time, and that’s saying something; I’ve seen a lot of movies. But there never should have been a third part, at least not involving Michael Corleone. Part II ends exactly as it should: a broken Michael contemplating the mistakes he’s made. It should have ended there. Now I know everyone hates Part III, and though I will never forgive Coppola for casting his daughter, I can’t stay mad at him (and I can also forgive Sophia; it wasn’t her fault she had no business being in that film and she’s become one of the most important filmmakers of our time in her own right). And just take another look at Part III. It’s really isn’t all that bad. Thematically it hits home because Michael Corleone is trying to find redemption even after he’s done all these misguided, unforgivable sins. I know everyone cheers when Sophia gets shot at the end, but everyone shuts the fuck up once Pacino starts his banshee scream. The real problem with the film wasn’t necessarily casting or an overlong plot. The problems started when Coppola was pressured to make a sequel solely to make money. (Even Robert Duvall knew to stay away.) As always, at this time in his career Coppola was broke and would do anything to get his career back on track so he could make films he wanted to make. So, once again, he took money from the studio and forced it out. And finding out what happens to Michael Corleone and how he does get out of the family business is kind of interesting. But there are so many great supporting characters and so many parts of the original story still left untold that deserve to be filmed. Coppola should have just made those films (and they should stay in the extremely capable hands of Coppola). There’s been rumors that Part IV will be structured similar to Part II: one narrative will follow Andy Garcia as he tries to strengthen the modern Corleone family while the other would follow Leonardo Dicaprio as a young Sonny. Not a bad idea. I love the idea of following Andy Garcia because he’s such a great actor and was fucking unbelievable in Part III. Another rumor contends that DeNiro would play a middle-aged Vito and would have to deal with Sonny’s indiscretions and Michael’s refusal to join the family business. Yet another idea had Henry Hill and Tony Soprano have an all-out war with the Corleones. Alright, I made that last one up, but there have been so many ideas batted around that I think that’s the only one a desperate Paramount won’t make in an attempt to sell tickets and win Oscars. My idea: I’d go with the Andy Garcia and DeNiro angles, but I’d cast Scott Caan as Sonny. Scott has the fury of his father and is an amazing actor. Then Coppola could cast Giovanni Ribisi as Michael Corleone. Just slick back his hair and he’ll look just like Al Pacino. I know he can pull it off: along with Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, and Phil Hoffman, Ribisi is one of the most talented actors working today. (His only drawback is that he can’t transition into mature roles; he’ll be eighty-five years old and still play nineteen-year-old Italian hoods or slightly socially awkward computer hackers. It’s not his fault; the poor man doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since The Wonder Years.) I think this combination of story and casting would bring back one of the greatest franchises in film history and give us another great gangster film.
#4: Fury Road
It’s a solid fact: Mad Max rules. No matter your opinion of Mel Gibson, Mad Max is the greatest thing he’s ever done. I don’t know much about this plot nor do I want to speculate. I know it would be awesome. Just downright amazing. The first three films are unbelievable classics. The third one may be a little slow in the middle, but not even Tina Turner could ruin it. Think of all the great lines: “Who runs Barter Town?” “Master Blaster Runs Barter Town.” “Louder.” “Master Blaster Runs Barter Town.” “Well, Well, ai’t we a pair, Raggedy Man?” “Thunderdome. How do I get in there” “That’s easy. Pick a fight.” “Perhaps you’ve got something to trade after all.” “Keep talkin’.” “Twenty-four hours of your life, in return, you’ll get back what was stolen.” “Sounds like a bargain.” “It’s not.” “Break a deal, spin the wheel.” And of course, the immortal: “Two men enter; one man leave.” Obviously, I have a lot of hope for this. I can’t imagine George Miller ruining this franchise. He hasn’t disappointed us before. He’s never made a sequel just for money and he truly loves his characters. I can’t wait to see it. I just hope Mel quits directing shitty, elitist films and puts the black leather back on.
#3: The Goonies 2
I love the Goonies. There’s not much else to say. I know this film may be ranked kind of high (especially because E-Rokk hates the original), but I know a lot of people that want to see a sequel to this film. And not just dorks. A lot or regular people love this film too. The original was simply a part of my childhood. It had action, great characters, humor, a piano made of skeleton bones, and Corey Feldman. (Plus, how many other films was Shortround in?) I love the idea the filmmakers have for the next one: everyone gets together for Mikey’s wedding and he convinces them to go on one more Goonies adventure. Simple. They could take it anywhere from there. (I actually got my hands on a first draft of this one from an industry friend and it was pretty amazing.) Sean Astin and Josh Brolin are (finally) coming into their own as actors, so there’s a lot of emotion that could be carried over from the original. Plus, it should be a lot of fun. (I don’t care how they do it, but Robert Davi and Joey Pants must make an appearance.) And who doesn’t want to see Sloth and the Shuffle again?
#2: Pretty much every John Carpenter film ever made
I think we’ve seen enough Halloween movies; at this point, they’ve done everything that they can with that property and character. However, pick any other John Carpenter movie and Id’ love to see a sequel to it. Who wouldn’t want to see if Rowdy Roddy Piper could chew gum AND kick ass all at the same time? I definitely want to see what happens to MacReady and Childs after they were stranded in the middle of the Antarctic. (Dark Horse Comics once published a possible version and the initial concept is amazing: Mac and Childs are rescued by a sub. Imagine all the cool “Things” Carpenter could do to Kurt confined on a submarine!) Which any self-respecting film dork wouldn’t go see a film entitled The Porkchop Express? And need I remind our readers of this site’s unhealthy love of Snake Plissken (unhealthy because he’d kill any man that had love for him, even if it wasn’t in a homoerotic, gay way)? I know what you’re thinking: “But Champ, what about Escape from LA?” Doesn’t count. It was maybe not a remake, but just a rehash of the original and not a true substitute for a sequel. Sure, it continued Snake’s story, but it wasn’t that much different from the original. (I’ve also tried to forget about it because I can’t get down with any film that gives a speaking part, and therefore a SAG card and benefits to an MTV VJ; it automatically loses bad ass status.) I’ve heard rumors about a true sequel for quite some time and I hope it happens and is done with devotion to the original. That would be a much better idea than the new remake. No matter how many eye patches you put on him and no matter how many sit-ups he does, Gerard Butler will never have Kurt Russell’s hair. Therefore, he will never be Kurt Russell. Obviously, the staff of this site has much love for Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. We miss you guys!
#1: Crown of Conan
Remember that last shot of Conan the Barbarian? Imagine how great it would be to follow Arnold as king. What has he learned from the riddle of steel? How well has he worn that crown upon his troubled brow? Has he given up the sword and found Crom? The possibilities of this film make me absolutely giddy. There are so many great scenes that are possible with an older Arnold putting back on the furry loincloth. The original was so great: awesome costume design, great action and swordplay, and one of my favorite film scores of all time. Plus, Arnold barely speaks a word in the film, which is always a plus. I’d love to see him grunt his way through a sequel I know John Milius wrote a first draft and then asked the Wachoskis to take a look at it. The idea of Arnold picking up a sword again makes me wish for the future of the human race.
Well, there you have it. Give us your suggestions on ranking and argue with us over ones we left off. We’re looking forward to hearing back from fellow fans on this topic. Champ Kennedy only enjoys working on his own film projects, but he would break down and direct any of these films. Do you like some of his ideas? Do you think he’d do the originals proud. Let us know what you think and let’s start talking; maybe a filmmaker out there will listen to the true Fanboy.