Hollywood’s had its finger on the reboot button for years now, to the point where it seems as if no stone is left unturned when it comes to dormant franchises getting another lease on life. Heck, movie studios are apparently so desperate for ideas that they’ve started turning old TV shows into movies now (to be fair, if they keep turning out to be 21 Jump Street style However, there are still a fair number of franchises out there that, for whatever reason, haven’t been revived yet. While we’re fairly confident that a few of these franchise revivals would turn out poorly, we’d still like to see them get another kick at the can. Here are the 10 movie franchises we’d most like to see make a comeback.
10. The Scorpion King
Believe it or not, there are actually four Scorpion King movies but all, but the first have been direct-to-DVD drivel. Also, only the 2002 original features Dwayne The Rock Johnson in the title role, so there’s really no reason to even acknowledge the rest of the franchise’s existence. Of course, the very fact that there are still Scorpion King movies being produced means that it’s not technically a dormant franchise, but without The Rock, it kind of is. The Scorpion King is by no means a great movie, but it’s an entertaining adventure powered by the pure charisma of a young Dwayne Johnson and a surprisingly good supporting cast featuring Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan.
Sure, The Rock may view the film now as a rather hilarious early point in his Hollywood career, but this is an actor who can elevate even the lowest material and to be honest, I kind of miss the sword and sandals epics that seemed to be everywhere in the early 2000s. If The Rock could make a franchise like Fast & Furious watchable, he definitely could do the same for The Scorpion King.
9. Percy Jackson & The Olympians
The young adult fiction bubble has had quite a few cinematic casualties in recent years, but one of the most unfortunate has to be the Percy Jackson & The Olympians franchise, which so far has only managed to adapt two of author Rick Riordan’s five book series. Sure, it’s hard not to view both 2010’s The Lightning Thief and 2013’s Sea of Monsters as being more than a bit derivative of Harry Potter, but their Greek mythology-themed plots gave the series its own particular style and the cast, led by Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario, was likable enough.
The weird thing is that both films performed pretty well commercially and critically, so it’s strange that that adaptation based on the third novel, The Titan’s Curse, has completely stalled. With the franchise still being relatively recent, there’s still time to give it another shot, although even Lerman has admitted that he feels that he and his co-stars are getting too old to play their teenage characters. Hopefully 20th Century Fox can find a way to proceed with a third installment that makes sense financially and creatively, as it would be a shame for this franchise to end only two movies into its run.
8. National Treasure
National Treasure and its sequel, The Book of Shadows, are not great films; at least, not in the traditional sense. Essentially Disney’s version of Dan Brown novel, but with Nicolas Cage playing the Robert Langdon character, it’s nearly impossible to take the National Treasure franchise seriously and you’d be foolish to even try. When you have Cage uttering lines like “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence,” you know exactly like what kind of cheap adventure thrills you’re in for and in that regard, National Treasure doesn’t disappoint. Despite both films performing well at the box office — in fact, Book of Shadows made nearly $50 million more than the original — Disney hasn’t touched the franchise for a decade.
As of 2013, director Jon Turtletaub was on board with the idea of making a third movie and according to him, so was producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the cast. We’re sure that Cage would be game if approached to make National Treasure 3 (he could use the work) and it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to bring back co-stars Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, and Jon Voight for one more historical heist job, so hopefully Disney comes around to the idea of greenlighting another sequel.
It’s now been two decades since the live-action film based on Todd McFarlane’s comic book series Spawn was released and a potential sequel has been trapped in development hell ever since. Eventually, McFarlane changed course and revealed that the sequel had now transitioned into a reboot, with a more modest budget and an increased focus on supernatural elements. However, despite stating that he had completed the film’s script and hoped to begin production in 2016, things have remained relatively quiet on the Spawn front.
I hope that things can really get rolling soon, as it absolutely feels like the right time for a new Spawn movie. Comic book movies are more popular than ever and with the recent success of R-rated films like Deadpool and Logan, there is definitely demand for hard-edged, violent franchise like Spawn. The best part is that original star Michael Jai White is reportedly still interested in making a new Spawn and since he did a great job playing the character in the original film, it would be fitting to bring him back, even if the new film is a reboot.
The original Speed is one of the great action movies of the 90s, but its 1997 sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, is atrocious and is often cited as one of the worst movie sequels of all time. As such, it’s not hard to see why Fox hasn’t been chomping at the bit to resurrect the franchise, but after two decades, we feel like enough time has passed to give Speed another chance. Speed isn’t exactly a franchise with a well-defined continuity or mythology, so a new film could easily just be another story about a vehicle that will blow up if it reduces its speed below a certain point.
Sure, maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from Cruise Control — that lesson being that the concept for Speed is so ridiculous that it only really works once — but if Fox could convince Keanu Reeves — who is currently going through an action role renaissance with the John Wick movies — to return and get a decent story and script together, I would definitely watch a new movie about, in the words of Homer Simpson, “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.”
Yes, Disney has already confirmed that they are looking into rebooting Tron, with Jared Leto of all people attached to star, but looking into and actually developing a film are two very different things and for all we know, we could still be years away from a new Tron movie being released. The most recent entry in the franchise, 2010’s Tron Legacy, was a modest box office success but had many faults. While it was visually impressive (scary CGI Jeff Bridges notwithstanding), it didn’t deliver a narrative worth investing in and was dragged down by lead star Garrett Hedlund’s lack of charisma.
To be fair, it’s no small task delivering a sequel almost 30 years after the original film’s release, but with Legacy now serving as a blueprint for what does and does not work about Tron, the path is clear for Disney to deliver a rousing third feature film that makes things like the Grid and Light Cycles worth being excited about. Our only stipulation is that Jeff Bridges needs to be involved because, well, it’s Jeff Bridges.
4. Back to the Future
Is reviving the Back to the Future franchise a bad idea? Possibly. Bob Gale, who co-wrote and produced the original films certainly seems to think so, telling Yahoo Movies in 2014 “Let’s face it, we’ve seen a lot of sequels that are made years and years later and I don’t think I can name one that’s any good.” The thing is, I don’t really subscribe to the idea that a disappointing sequel somehow tarnishes the earlier films — it’s not like the fourth Indiana Jones movie’s existence automatically makes the original trilogy unwatchable — so if Universal Pictures thinks there’s a way to tell a new Back to the Future story that’s worth telling, I say they should do it.
Obviously, the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 would need to be involved and if original stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyed could be roped in too, all the better (perhaps the story could revolve around Marty McFly’s kids this time but you know, not in the same way that BttF Part II sort of did). If Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg still think it’s worth doing a fifth Indiana Jones after putting out a film as bad as 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I don’t see why a franchise as beloved as Back to the Future can’t be brought back for at least one more go.
3. Bill & Ted
We’ve been hearing that a new Bill & Ted movie is going to see the light of day for years now and it’s about time that it actually happened. The good news is that original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are not only game for making a third movie, they’ve actually been working on it, with Reeves mentioning as recently as February 2017 that the story is written, even divulging some plot details (something about writing a song to save the world/universe). Still, there’s always a chance that things will fall through, what with Reeves’ aforementioned career revival, and that would be a real shame. The first two Bill & Ted movies are cult favorites and there’s little doubt that a new film would be warmly received by the franchise’s devoted fan base.
The only real problem is that both Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequel Bogus Journey are very much of a particular time and place, and it’s going to take a lot of work to make sure that a new movie honors the franchise’s legacy while not feeling like it’s treading over too much familiar ground (plus the fact that its two slacker leads are now in their 50s). Then again, there’s plenty of material to mine just from the simple fact that that Bill and Ted will have to come to terms with being middle-aged doofuses and I’d be lying if I said I’m not dying to hear a 53-year-old Keanu Reeves utter the word “dude” at least a dozen more times. Make this happen, guys!
X-Men is often cited as the film that helped popularize modern superhero movies, but it was really Blade that kicked things off a few years earlier. Released in 1998, the first Blade is an excellent action movie anchored by a no-nonsense performance from Wesley Snipes, who was born to play the title vampire hunter. The franchise sputtered out with the wildly uneven Blade Trinity in 2004, but with comic book movies now more popular than ever and Blade’s status as a Marvel character, now would be a great time to get the franchise rolling again.
Snipes is reportedly still game to do another Blade, but rebooting the franchise with a new actor also wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially if the film is connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a younger actor would be easier to rope into a multi-picture deal). Either way, we’re due for another movie featuring the badass vampire hunter and hopefully Marvel can get something going.
1. Kill Bill
Quentin Tarantino’s two volume assassin romp concluded with the promise of its title delivered: The Bride (Uma Thurman) had accomplished what she set out to do by finding a way to kill Bill. However, shortly after Vol. 2’s release in 2004, Tarantino teased the idea of making a third volume down the road that would involve the young daughter of Vivica A Fox’s character (all grown up) seeking revenge against The Bride for her mother’s death. The only problem was that the director claimed he would need to wait at least 15 years before making it.
Well, it’s now been 13 years and it’s unclear if Tarantino will ultimately deliver on his promise, although it sounds like he’s still weighing the possibility of making a sequel. In 2015, Tarantino claimed “We’ll see. Never say never. We’ll see when it comes to Kill Bill 3,” and that Uma Thurman still wants to do it. When it comes to Tarantino, you never really know what he’s going to do next, but the fact that he’s still open to making another Kill Bill so long after the release of the original two films gives us hope that one day he’ll decide to stop beating around the bush and surprise us all with Kill Bill 3 trailer. Hey, it could happen!