14 movie sequels stuck in development hell

As Twins sequel Triplets gets delayed, here are other big name sequels struggling to get going - from Top Gun 2 to Die Hard 6...

We started this website back in 2007, and since then, the names of some sequels seem to come up with reasonable regularity, albeit with no sign of the film itself. And in the time we’ve been going, yet more names have added themselves to the list of follow-ups that are seemingly stuck in development hell.

With the new Ghostbusters film set to escape and become a real thing in the next year or two, here’s just a sample of the other projects struggling to get off the ground (with one or two edging closer to a greenlight than others…)

TRIPLETS

What is it?

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The long-belated sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger-Danny DeVito comedy Twins, with the wheeze this time being Eddie Murphy reportedly joining the cast as their long lost brother – a character never seen or implied in the original film.

Who’s involved?

Everyone. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make it. Danny DeVito seemingly wants to make it. And it’s a comedy sequel that director Ivan Reitman is likely to return for too.

So where is it?

Good question. In a recent Reddit session, Josh Gad confirmed that the screenplay he was working on “is actually done” and that “everyone agrees that it’s great”. But he also revealed that “Universal… hit the pause button temporarily for whatever reason”.

The slightly disappointing box office of Universal’s recent belated sequel, Dumb And Dumber To, is unlikely to have helped, along with the dwindling box office returns for Arnold Schwarzenegger films. It may take Terminator: Genisys hitting box office gold before Triplets gets a green light. The fate of the new Conan film may yet hinge on that one, too.

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BAD BOYS 3

What is it?

A third union of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, with it currently sitting at 11 and a half years and counting since Bad Boys 2.

Who’s involved?

Well Martin Lawrence definitely is, and it really needs Will Smith to jump aboard to happen too (although he hasn’t said yes). Jerry Bruckheimer is back as producer, and Michael Bay is the incumbent director, although he’s been distracted by Transformers films for the past decade.

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So where is it?

Last summer, Martin Lawrence confirmed that a script was being worked on, and Jerry Bruckheimer has been keen to make the film for some time too. We will be revisiting his name a lot as this rundown continues.

The stumbling blocks are likely to be Bay and Smith. Michael Bay hasn’t, as far as we know, committed to Bad Boys 3 (having directed the first two), and Bruckheimer admitted to us that he’s been waiting for a gap in the explosive director’s schedule. “We’re trying to get on his docket”, he said.

Then there’s the newly sequel-averse Will Smith. He’s of late passed on Independence Day 2, and apparently Men In Black 4 as well. Are his sequel days behind him, following Men In Black 3? Only he knows, but without him, Bad Boys 3 will be stuck in development hell for a long time.

BEVERLY HILLS COP 4

What is it?

Another attempt to revive the career of Eddie Murphy, returning him to arguably his most successful role: Axel Foley. The first two Beverly Hills Cop movies were huge hits. The third one, er, wasn’t, and in 1994, it seemed that the series was done. Even Eddie Murphy doesn’t like the third one. And he made Norbit.

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Who’s involved?

The fourth film has been rumoured for a few years now (and Murphy himself was developing it in the 1990s at one stage).

Murphy is obviously set to be included, with Judge Reinhold likely back in support as well. This time, Brett Ratner – who worked with Murphy on Tower Heist – is set to direct, and Jerry Bruckheimer (told you) will produce.

So where is it?

Closer than you think. This is one of the few long-in-gestation sequels here that actually has a release date. Paramount is planning to release the movie in March 2016. Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum have been working on a screenplay, and we’d imagine production will be starting soon. Blimey.

DIE HARD 6

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What is it?

The closing chapter of the once mighty, more recently smelly Die Hard franchise. Bruce Willis will retire John McClane after this chapter, which given the escalation in stakes over the past films would presumably see him fighting a reincarnated Darth Vader in space.

Who’s involved?

Bruce Willis. And whoever Bruce Willis wants involved. No sign of director John McTiernan though, someone Die Hard could arguably use back. Samuel L Jackson’s Zeus, from Die Hard With A Vengeance, has at least been rumoured though.

So where is it?

Still being written, it seems. Even though A Good Day To Die Hard wasn’t well liked, it still did decent business (although not so much in the US). Fox infamously cut the film for a 12A in the UK, and it’s apparently one of the few territories where the film really performed. Thought that’d cheer you up.

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Rumours of various drafts have sprung up over the past year, including talk of also bringing back Al and Holly for the final film. Bruce Willis confirmed that Die Hard 6 was in active development last summer, and as things stand, it’s still in the early stages. It’s pretty certain it’ll happen though. Maybe they’ll find another Gruber somewhere? Or what about Gruber: Origins? We’ll get our own coat…

BAD SANTA 2

What is it?

A sequel we seem to have written more individual stories about than most since this site first began, Bad Santa 2 is the long promised follow-up to the delightfully rude 2003 Billy Bob Thornton Yuletide vehicle.

Who’s involved?

Billy Bob Thornton is a cert to return to the leading role, although it’s not clear if original helmer Terry Zwigoff will be back. Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) has instead been linked, as has Entourage writer/director Doug Ellin.

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So where is it?

Still developing. At one stage, it looked as if Bad Santa 2 would be with us for Christmas 2013, but that came and went. Then it was set to go into production last year. That came and went. Last autumn, though, Thornton revealed that “we’re just waiting for a script”. Several writers have had a crack at penning Bad Santa 2 so far, but it looks as if none have cracked it yet.

Latest planned release date? “2016”. Don’t bet your Christmas presents on it, though.

BILL & TED 3

What is it?

Like you don’t know. The third and probably final time travel adventure for Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, as now fortysomethings Bill and Ted.

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Who’s involved?

Most of the original team. Reeves and Winter have both been strongly involved in developing the film, whilst writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson are also back on board. The two Bill & Ted films to date have had different directors, and that’ll be the case again here: the current choice still appears to be Galaxy Quest‘s Dean Parisot.

So where is it?

Frustratingly still out of reach. Reeves and Winter are regularly questioned as to the state of the film, and between them they’ve painted a frustrating picture of development hell at work. Reeves, last autumn, said that “it’s closer to happening, but not happening. We’re fighting the good fight”, when chatting to MTV. And it seems as though the project moves tiny footsteps forward each year at best.

There’s still not even a sniff of a release date, sadly, although a clear intent to get the film made remains.

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CLERKS III

What is it?

Writer/director Kevin Smith’s closing chapter of the trilogy that gave him his breakthrough back in 1994. The sequel followed 12 years later, in 2006, and nine years on, the promised third chapter is still bubbling along.

Who’s involved?

Kevin Smith, for a start. He’s then got to persuade Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson to come back as Dante and Randal.

So where is it?

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It’s in the queue. Smith had earmarked Clerks III as his tenth and final feature, but he’s since dived back into movies in earnest, with last year’s Tusk and the now in post production Yoga Hosers.

Clerks III? Smith has written the script, and thanks to Tusk, he’s now attracted the financing he needed to get the Clerks threequel made. He just has to finalise his running order: Krampus, Moose Jaws and Hit Somebody are still on his to-do list as well. Clerks III is currently scheduled to film over the summer, though.

TRON 3

What is it?

After the expensive, belated sequel to TRON, TRON: Legacy, Disney had grand plans to press ahead with a third movie.

Who’s involved?

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Director Joseph Kosinski made his feature directorial debut with TRON: Legacy, and has since gone on to make Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Oblivion. He remains attached to TRON 3.

So where is it?

Stuck. A teaser trailer of sorts appeared last year, but it didn’t seem to be anything new. That said, Joseph Kosinski gave an update where he revealed that the story of TRON 3 would pick up on the characters played by Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde in TRON: Legacy. The aim will be to pick things up from straight after the second film.

It’s an expensive movie for Disney to make though, at a time when Disney is making fewer and fewer costly films (at least ones that don’t have a Marvel/Pixar/Walt Disney Animation Studios/Lucasfilm logo on them). As much as this one keeps getting talked up, it’s likely to take a long time to happen – if at all.

INDIANA JONES 5

What is it?

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A film to build on the thrilling ending to Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. And – who knows! – pass the mantle onto Shia La Beouf.

Who’s involved?

Now that’s a good question. Harrison Ford is. Steven Spielberg probably is, even though he’s said he’s not really interested in making action movies any more. George Lucas’ involvement is less certain, given that the other man of beard is now effectively retired.

Shia La Beouf, incidentally, is now unlikely to return. Not least because his criticisms of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull seemed to win him few friends in the land of Spielberg and Ford (he’s said he regrets his comments). A real loss, there.

So where is it?

In a similar state to where Indiana Jones 4 used to be.

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Basically, whenever Harrison Ford has a new film out, he’s asked about Indiana Jones 5, and he makes the usual noises that it’ll happen, but it’s not ready yet. That said, when Disney bought up Lucasfilm, it didn’t get all the distribution rights to Indiana Jones. It’s since done a deal with Paramount Pictures to ensure that it does, and you can’t imagine it would have done that if there was no sign at all of a future film.

RUSH HOUR 4

What is it?

A fourth chapter in a series of films that wish they were as good as the Lethal Weapon movies. But utterly aren’t. 

Who’s involved?

Stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, as well as director Brett Ratner.

So where is it?

It’s been in gestation for six or seven years now, and Warner Bros/New Line is keen to get a new chapter in the series moving. Jackie Chan did a Q&A in London last year where he said he’d been approached about a new Rush Hour film, but was waiting for a script. He argued that the studio needed Rush Hour 4 more than he did, and that “I don’t want to do a rubbish script just because they want to make the movie”.

Help yourself with that particular quote.

So it’s still at the screenplay stage, basically, but both Chan and Tucker have effectively admitted that it’s likely to happen in the future.

SALT 2

What is it?

The follow-up to the 2010 Angelina Jolie-headlined action thriller.

Who’s involved?

Angelina Jolie. Writer Kurt Wimmer. But not director Phillip Noyce, who reportedly didn’t have the best of times on Salt 1.

So where is it?

The hold up here appears to be a mix of Kurt Wimmer’s script, and Angelina Jolie’s thoughts on it. Columbia Pictures would like to get Salt 2 moving, but last year it was revealed that Jolie was dissatisfied with the screenplay. Columbia doesn’t want a reboot, so has been holding out for Jolie. But it may yet press ahead without her, as was rumoured towards the end of 2014.

Maybe it needs Jolie to give a definitive yay or nay before we see more Salt on screen. If she says no, it doesn’t mean the end of the series here.

SHERLOCK HOLMES 3

What is it?

A third and perhaps closing adventure for Robert Downey Jr’s take on Sherlock Holmes. The one with Jude Law as Watson.

Who’s involved?

Well, Downey Jr and Law again, with director Guy Ritchie presumably having first refusal on the director’s chair.

So where is it?

The first sequel to Sherlock Holmes turned up just two years after the original. Since then, though, there’s been plenty of talk of another film. Just no other film to show for it.

But then everyone’s schedules have been rather full. Downey Jr has been in Marvel-land and developing projects – such as The Judge – for his Team Downey production company. Guy Ritchie has been making The Man From UNCLE, starring Henry Cavill. Jude Law just popped up in Black Sea.

That said, all concerned have indicated that Sherlock Holmes 3 will happen. Guy Ritchie is likely to direct and it needs the key talent to find the requisite gap in their schedules, and then Warner Bros to give the film a green light. Which, given the profits the last two have made, should be a relative formality.

TOP GUN 2

What is it?

Another belated sequel to an 80s movie, Top Gun 2 surprisingly never happened in the 1980s (although box office disappointment Days Of Thunder reunited all the key players, to lesser effect. Bonus points for Tom Cruise’s character in that one being called Cole Trickle, though). Of late? Things have got more serious. Tom Cruise would return, and Jerry Bruckheimer – him again! – is producing.

Who’s involved?

Cruise and Bruckheimer so far. Director Tony Scott had been, before his death in 2012.

So where is it?

Things started to get serious with this one back in 2010, when it was revealed that Paramount Pictures had contacted Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott about moving ahead with a belated Top Gun sequel. The idea would be to get Tom Cruise to return as Maverick, although he wouldn’t be the lead character this time around.

Subsequently, Cruise confirmed the sequel was being talked about, and had met up with Tony Scott, reportedly even to scout potential locations. The tragic suicide of Tony Scott in August 2012 then changed things again, understandably. For a while, it looked as if Top Gun 2 would be abandoned altogether. However, Cruise, Bruckheimer and Paramount have since pursued their interest in making the film once again.

Last autumn, it was revealed that Justin Marks had been hired to pen the latest draft of the screenplay. That’s the last we heard to date, however, although with Bruckheimer inking a new production deal with Paramount, and with Skydance Productions coming on board as well, Top Gun 2 will presumably be pressing ahead soon.

ZOOLANDER 2

What is it?

Aw, you know Zoolander, right? Released in 2001, and with the film’s reputation growing year by year, Zoolander has Ben Stiller directing, and taking on the title role of male model Derek Zoolander. It’s the kind of film that the IMDB’s ‘Memorable quotes’ section was invented for.

Who’s involved?

Back for the sequel? That’d be Ben Stiller, with Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell also set to return. Justin Theroux had been earmarked as a potential director, but he’s now co-written the script with Stiller, who will again take on directorial duties. Penelope Cruz is set to join the cast.

So where is it?

Happening! We figured we’d end on one that’s still in development, but with a less cloudy future. Will Ferrell confirmed last autumn that a script readthrough was taking place – some six or seven years since Ben Stiller first confirmed that Zoolander 2 was an active project. And whilst we don’t have firm shooting dates, there’s a sporting chance that Zoolander 2 might actually shoot this year. Then we can start off with some Zoolander 3 speculation after that…