When it comes to building a successful movie franchise, the importance of timing really can’t be understated. That’s why we rarely have to wait more than a few years to see a sequel arrive, especially in the blockbuster space. Thanks to big franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences have grown accustomed to not having to wait much longer than two years between new installments, but this certainly isn’t always the case. Making movies isn’t easy and a number of issues can halt progress, whether it’s script rewrites, production delays, trying to convince actors to return for another go-round … the list goes on.
As such, there have been many cases where fans have had to wait years, even decades to finally get a proper sequel and not all of them are worth the wait. Fortunately, there have been cases where long-awaited follow-ups have actually delivered on their promise, with the following sequels being some of the best that took what felt like an eternity to finally be released. Here are 13 sequels that took forever to be made and were worth the wait. Enjoy!
13. Aliens (1986)
Predecessor: Alien (1979)
Years between films: 7
Ridley Scott’s sci fi-horror classic Alien was a critical and box office smash when it released in 1979, so it’s a bit surprising that it took 20th Century Fox seven years to get a sequel out. As it turns out, Alien co-producer David Giler had the full support of Fox to immediately make a sequel, but a change in studio management, combined with a behind-the-scenes lawsuit over the distribution of the film’s profits led to those plans getting shelved for years. By 1983, things were back on track and James Cameron was brought on board to write and direct the following year, with Fox’s producers having been impressed by his work on The Terminator.
Released in 1986, Aliens represented a bold new direction for the Alien franchise, as Cameron largely eschewed the horror elements of Scott’s original film in favor of an increased emphasis on action. However, the gamble paid off, as Aliens not only earned significantly more money than its predecessor but received widespread critical acclaim and went on to win two of the seven Academy Award nominations it received. Aliens is now regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels in movie history.