Creed 3 and Hollywood’s Love Affair With ‘Re-quels’

A Re-quel That Surpasses The Original

At first, I thought it was just about the 80s. Producers and writers in Hollywood who were my age were starting to get their content out there. And they couldn’t hide their passion for the nostalgia of our childhoods. So the things I grew up with were overtly and subtly being magnified on the big and small screens. Both in remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings (like The A-Team, The Smurfs, and Bill and Ted), as well as TV shows like Stranger Things and Psych, the 80s have been all the rage the last 15 years or so.

But even more recently, something beyond just remakes and reboots has been born in the American Entertainment Industry. It’s so new, the terminology is still being hashed out, but I think it’s safe to say this novel approach to film and TV can be called either “Re-quels” or “Legacy Sequels”.

Even though overall I found the movie to be average, there is no doubt that Jurrasic World Dominion had me and millions of others excited at the chance to see characters from the first trilogy and the new trilogy on screen together.

Reboot + Sequel =

In short (and this is my understanding of it, knowing that Americans seem to live to fight over terms and definitions), this would be any TV show or movie that brings back some beloved American work of art from a substantial time ago that focuses both on new characters and new stories, and the original stories and characters. It attempts to do two magical things simultaneously–hit my generation right in the feels with the power of nostalgia, but also bring in younger audiences with fresh, young talent and modern storytelling.

You can’t watch Creed II, or even the trailer for the newest Scream movie, without marveling at how mesmerizing this idea can be.

Scream explains it, because Scream does meta better than anyone…

I won’t link it because it is rife with profanity, but there is a scene in Scream (2022) where Mindy defines “re-quel” exceptionally and articulately, paying glorious homage to her late Uncle Randy. This is the crucial part of her speech, with the cursing taken out:

See, you can’t just reboot a franchise from scratch anymore, fans won’t stand for it. Black Christmas, Child’s Play, Flatliners–that [stuff] doesn’t work. But you can’t just do a straight sequel, either – you gotta build something new, but not too new, or the Internet goes [insane]. It’s gotta be part of an ongoing story, even if the story shouldn’t have been ongoing in the first place. New main characters, yes, but supported by and related to legacy characters. Not quite a reboot, not quite a sequel. Like the new Halloween, Saw, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, [heck], even Star Wars. It always goes back to the original.

Mindy, Scream (2022)

Two of the best examples of this would be my two favorite original works from the 80s (and even the late 70s)–Cobra Kai with The Karate Kid and Creed with Rocky. I have written literally tens of thousands of words on the two legacy sequel/series combined, so I will not rehash it. But for the sake of this article, I will say both of them, one a TV series and one a movie series, have mastered the art of balancing the past and the present. And have successfully introduced millions of new, younger fans to the movies I grew up literally standing and cheering for as a child in the theater.

A third one I loved almost as much, but didn’t quite stick the landing to me, was Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Another that I have not seen but millions loved was Top Gun: Maverick.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife had everything you could want in a re-quel: The old cast, new stars, *the* car…even the supremely loveable Paul Rudd. Only the over-the-top and ridiculous ending kept me from loving it as much as possible.

As Mindy references, however, others have attempted this with more mixed results. Star Wars is the most famous and volatile example. Others have absolutely bombed in my opinion, including the last two Jurassic World movies, and, ironically, Scream (2022).

But regardless of my opinion of the success or failures of each attempt at this the evolution of movies, and even streaming TV, from sequels to prequels to remakes/reboots to the era of the re-quel is supremely fascinating to me. Why people do what they do and why they like what they like will always be important to me as a Christian and even just a human.

And we have seen a passionate response to them. Both good and bad. I’ve discussed both above in the typical review-type sense, but there is even a mighty throng of internet keyboard warriors who hate the incessant appeal to nostalgia by Hollywood. I have heard this called “fan service”. Yet when I see those articles, and there are more of those than there are re-quels themselves, it causes me to take a step back and look at my own feelings when I am disappointed after watching one.

I confess it makes me wonder if we do not take entertainment too seriously at times. Like we do with sports. I mean I felt betrayed to an irrational level after watching Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Scream (2022). I spilled a lot of keyboard ink. I ended up sounding like the critics I make fun of above. I know I have deep feelings about re-quel attempts positive and negative because I love the originals so much. But I think I, and many others, take them too seriously.

No re-quel attempt, in my view, has been as universally acclaimed and beloved as the new Top Gun.
Hollywood Keeps Churning Them Out

So as Creed III hits theaters this weekend, and Scream IV follows next weekend, causing the concept of the re-quel to take center stage yet again, I advocate a sober view of them. Let us see them for what they are: an attempt to go beyond what movies like Dumb and Dumber To have done by trying to write for two very different audiences. We know recency bias and nostalgia bias exist. Yet when they are together, both are challenged.

And the result is often beautiful. And potent. And even when it’s not, the attempt is still worth it to me. I’m glad they made more Jurassic World and Scream movies. Because both the past and the present deserve our attention. Even at the same time.

Gowdy Cannon

Gowdy Cannon

I am currently the pastor of Bear Point FWB Church in Sesser, IL. I previously served for 17 years as the associate bilingual pastor at Northwest Community Church in Chicago. My wife, Kayla, and I have been married over 8 years and have a 4-year-old son, Liam Erasmus, and a baby, Bo Tyndale. I have been a student at Welch College in Nashville and at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago. I love The USC (the real one in SC, not the other one in CA), Seinfeld, John 3:30, Chick-fil-A, Dumb and Dumber, the book of Job, preaching and teaching, and arguing about sports.

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