20 Movie Sequels Stuck in Development Hell

Meet the films sequels that might not be dead, but are certainly stuck in some kind of limbo...

Every now and then, a sequel that appears to have been in the cooker for a while – Zoolander 2, DeadpoolJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – finally escapes into the wild. But the journey to the screen can be a very lengthy one, and this little lot is comprised of films still trying to find their way to your local multiplex…

World War Z 2

Considering that the first film came out in 2013, it’s taken a surprising long time for Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B company to get a sequel together to World War Z. Not for the want of trying, though. Work has been underway on a script for some time, with Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) working on a draft, but that didn’t get the necessary nod. Instead, Dennis Kelly is continuing to put together a script and that is seeming to have greased necessary wheels a bit, at least in terms of keeping director David Fincher interested.

It’s little secret that the first film’s director, Marc Forster, and Brad Pitt didn’t see eye to eye on the original film, so it’s little surprise that Forster’s not returning for the sequel. But World War Z 2 hit a further delay when his replacement, Juan Antonio Bayona, quit the project to go and make Jurassic World 2 instead. World War Z 2, however, now has David Fincher tenuously attached, albeit he seems to give himself wiggle room. While recently speaking with the Empire podcast, Fincher said: “I’ve been working for about a year now with Dennis Kelly on World War Z… We’re hoping to get a piece of material that’s a reason to make a movie not an excuse to make a movie.”

Chances of still happening: If Fincher is this far involved, we suspect the movie will definitely get made. If Fincher changes his mind though? Well…

Ad – content continues below

Friday the 13th

It’s unclear whether the next chapter in the Friday the 13th movie series will be a reboot or a sequel, or both. But it is clear that this is a project that’s struggling to get made.

Paramount picked up the theatrical rights to further Friday the 13th films as part of the deal that saw Warner Bros. come in as a production partner on Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar movie (that the two studios would ultimately co-produce). It soon got to work on a 13th film in the series, with The Crazies director Breck Eisner hired to steer the ship. Said to be an origin story for the character of Jason, the film though has disappeared off schedules altogether, with some suggesting that Eisner has departed the project.

The film had been set to shoot this spring, ahead of a release in October 2017. But the box office take of Rings, a ballooning budget, and Paramount’s limited time window before the rights go back to New Line, all seemed to box the studio into a corner. The last word on the film is that it would happen in 2019 at the earliest. We’d outright doubt that too if not for the phenomenal success of It earlier this year, suggesting that ’80s nostalgia remains strong.

Chances of still happening: It will probably happen one day, and It makes it much more likely. However, it could still be some years off.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys: D’Movie 2

There’s not been a massive clamor of demand for a new Mrs. Brown’s Boys movie, but given the huge financial success of the original, early work was said to be underway on a follow-up. Brendon O’Carroll was planning to press ahead with the movie in 2016, and revealed that he had a plot and outline for the film already in place. However, following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, Brexit to its chums, the subsequent drop in the value of the pound suddenly made making the sequel more expensive. The production was duly put on hold.

Whichever side of the political divide you fall, it’s a baffling reason, given that the first film grossed nearly $30 million worldwide off a tiny budget back in 2014. Even appreciating the creative accounting of the modern movie studio, there’s little doubt it brought home notable amounts of cash. The film has stuck in limbo, though, with O’Carroll and his team/family instead focusing on arena tours and making special episodes of the show for the BBC. That said, if the obstacles lift, O’Carroll reportedly has plans for two more feature films…

Ad – content continues below

Chances of still happening: Quite good.

Dick Tracy 2

Disney gambled hard on bringing Dick Tracy to the screen in the summer of 1990, backing the vision of director and star Warren Beatty, and hoping to ape the success that Warner Bros. had enjoyed the summer before with Batman. Yet while Dick Tracy hit, it didn’t hit too hard. The studio adjusted its blockbuster strategy accordingly, and it wouldn’t really be until it got to the likes of Armageddon toward the end of the decade that Disney would be so willing to spend big again.

That said, plans were afoot for a Dick Tracy follow-up for some time. Warren Beatty notoriously takes an awful long time over his movies and his choices. Also, a dispute as to whether he had the actual rights to make another film threw a further proverbial spanner into the works. However, a brief snippet of a recent interview suggested that Dick Tracy 2 still exists as a possible project after all. Beatty still has the film in his thoughts even if, at 80, his chances of reprising the title role himself may have receded somewhat. The box office failure of Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply can’t have helped.

Chances of still happening: Slim and virtually non-existent.

National Treasure 3

It’s an ongoing sport that if movie hacks get interview time with Jerry Bruckheimer, they ask him about the status of Top Gun 2, Bad Boys 3, and National Treasure 3. We fell for that ourselves. The first two are definitely pressing ahead, but it’s National Treasure that’s surprisingly found itself in development limbo. The first two films hit screens during a Bruckheimer hot streak, with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies allowing Disney to print lots of money. Bruckheimer’s had a few stumbles since though and – much as we adore the man’s work – Nicolas Cage isn’t the box office draw he was a decade ago. But still, as recently as March 2016, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted that development resources were still going into the project, and that it was still active. This one might just have a glimmer of hope about it…

Chances of still happening: Dim and getting dimmer with each passing year.

Ad – content continues below

Salt 2

Phillip Noyce and Angelina Jolie came together in 2010 for the action thriller Salt, which did good business at the box office, and notably ended up with a couple of different endings come the disc release. Along with Wanted 2, a Salt sequel was a project that Jolie would be linked with for the years that followed, and back in January 2014, a script was said to have been agreed upon. Furthermore, Jolie was set to reprise the title role.

And yet, further progress never seemed to happen until the news earlier this year that work is being done on a Salt TV series. It’s not definite that that’ll rule out a full-on Salt 2 on the big screen, but you’d have to say it makes it very unlikely. Also, Jolie has shown great reluctance toward franchise movies as of late, and Salt 2 in particular. Maleficent 2 might have slightly better odds.

Chances of still happening: Very poor.

Men In Black 4

Sony spent a lot of money to reunite Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and director Barry Sonnenfeld for the throwaway Men In Black 3 a few years back. The idea was that this would give the franchise a fresh box office injection, and while it took in a lot of cash, the film also cost a hefty sum to make, and about the same again to market. Profit levels were not high. In theory, then, Men In Black 4 was the one where Sony would get the real reward on its investment now that the series was back in the public mind. Yet the film has stalled. Granted, Will Smith’s got a lot pickier about which sequels he backs, but Sony’s been through a battering too, which can’t have helped.

But still, there’s progres. At one point, Sony consider the future of the Men In Black series to be a crossover with the Jump Street movies, going by the title of MIB 23. Furthermore, there are plans for a new, rebooted trilogy of Men In Black films. Neither ended up happening, however, as Sony finally committed to a new take on the material which is being described in Deadline as a “spinoff” that happens to take place in the same universe established by the original 1997 movie. So it’s more Men in Black, minus Smith and Jones.

Chances of still happening: High. While there is no director set, Sony has dated the latest spinoff for May 17, 2019, and the studio at least has a script they like from writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (Iron Man and Transformers: The Last Knight).

Ad – content continues below

Conan 3

Limbo. Nothing but limbo here, which seems to be the perennial problem now with Arnold Schwarzenegger-centric projects. Higher profile sequels to Arnie’s work are looking less likely. While Terminator: Genisys made decent money in the end, it was hammered critically, and has brought a new trilogy of planned movies to a shuddering halt after one entry. In the case of The Legend Of Conan, Chris Morgan had been working on a screenplay, and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) had jumped aboard the project too. But there’s been no clear progress, and the inevitable fear is that doubts over Schwarzenegger’s box office reach have brought the axe swinging down. It’s not believed to be formally dead, but it does seem unlikely.

Chances of still happening: Not great.

Clerks III

There was a point when writer-director Kevin Smith had declared that he would be retiring from filmmaking with the completion of his 10th feature that at the time was meant to be hockey comedy Hit Somebody! However, Goon hit cinemas, and thus Smith envisaged Hit Somebody! as a television project. For his 10th and final movie? He earmarked Clerks III.

Since then, though, Smith has reassessed his plans. He’s been working on a trilogy of horror films, the True North trilogy, that thus far includes Tusk and Yoga HosersHe was also working on Mallrats 2. But last year, he revealed that his planned sequels were dead. The plan had been to take Mallrats to television, but Smith couldn’t get anyone to bite and pay for it. As for Clerks III, after a number of delays, one of the core cast – who Smith didn’t name – opted not to return, thus ending the chance of the film happening. It’ll take an about turn to change that, and there’s no sign of one coming.

Chances of still happening: Next to zero.

Tron 3

Disney spent a fortune bringing Tron: Legacy to the screen, and the box office was decent enough to not put it off developing Tron 3. Director Joseph Kosinski went off to make underrated Tom Cruise-headlined Oblivion, and the thinking was that after that, he’d return to the world of TRON. But it did not go to plan.

Ad – content continues below

The expensive price tag for Tron 3 was one thing, but also, Disney was moving its blockbuster chips in other directions, snapping up Lucasfilm and Marvel. That said, there was a point in the first half of 2015 where it looked like the film was finally pressing ahead. Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund were set to reprise their Tron: Legacy roles, while a pre-Joker Jared Leto was linked with a part in the film.

Preparation work on the movie was underway, and production had been earmarked for Vancouver toward the end of 2015, with the script for what would have been called Tron: Ascension 80 percent in place. And then Disney pulled the plug. Some put this down to the disappointing financial returns of Tomorrowland while there were also suggestions that the studio had enough, safer live-action blockbusters lined up, and didn’t need Tron 3.

Joseph Kosinski still has hopes of making a version of his abandoned Tron: Ascension to be the first feature length VR film. And for his part, Jeff Bridges is jazzed about the idea. He told us last year about why he thinks the idea is so cool for the franchise, as well as his hopes for the return of Olivia Wilde as Quorra.

Chances of still happening: Better than they have been for a while. Disney clearly thinks there’s a bit of life left in Tron yet. Still, best not to hold out eternal hope for this.

Sherlock Holmes 3

The two-year turnaround between Guy Ritchie’s pair of Sherlock Holmes films – starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law – inevitably meant that when Sherlock Holmes 3 hadn’t turned up by 2013, many wondered if the project was dead. Turns out it isn’t, but this Sherlock is certainly taking his time.

The blunt reality of this one is that director Guy Ritchie has been busy (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., King Arthur, the upcoming Aladdin), and Robert Downey Jr.’s schedule rarely veers toward empty. The fact that Downey Jr. is now developing material for his own production company, Team Downey, is unlikely to accelerate things.

Ad – content continues below

A script is still in the works though for Sherlock Holmes 3and whenever any of the creatives are interviewed about the film, they always seem insistent that it’ll happen. But there’s no word on when. Then again WB did got dealt a brutal failure when Ritchie’s King Arthur franchise went up in smoke in May 2017. They may be wary of more Ritchie action in the foreseeable future.

Chances of still happening: Not great after King Arthur. Plus, Ritchie is off right now to remake Aladdin at Disney. But if Aladdin is a hit (and it will be), it might make teaming him with the biggest movie star on the planet again appealing to WB…

The Adventures Of Tintin: Prisoners Of The Sun

When Steven Spielberg directed 2011’s The Adventures Of Tintin, the plan was for it to be the first part of a trilogy of movies. Peter Jackson was set to direct the second one – Prisoners of the Sun – and then there’d work out after that who’d get chapter three. The problem is that, nearly five years on, there’s no sign of The Adventures Of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun moving forward. The initial hold-up had been waiting for Peter Jackson who – after the Tintin project began – ended up taking on directing all three movies in The Hobbit trilogy.

There’s been no official word on Prisoners of the Sun for a while now, and Peter Jackson has instead moved his efforts over to the original film Mortal Engines. Furthermore, there had been talk about getting the film finished for December 2016… and yeah, that did not happpen. As it stands, no footage has been shot, and there’s no sign of things moving forward.

Chances of still happening: Don’t write it off, don’t hold your breath.

Hellboy 3

First of all it’s happening! Second of all though, it isn’t happenign the way you might want. Guillermo del Toro tweeted in 2016 that the project was stone dead, and he appears to have moved on. In spite of the fact that both he and Ron Perlman were keen to finish their trilogy off, fate has had its say. However, a Hellboy reboot is not only in development, but has been shot and has an imminent release date. The new film stars David Harbour as Hellboy and is directed by Neil Marshall.

Ad – content continues below

Chances of still happening: No chance at all of del Toro’s sequel now. But the reboot is coming Jan. 11, 2019.

Dredd 2

Well, it ain’t happening, is it? In spite of a hardened fanbase clamouring for a second adventure with Karl Urban as Mega City One’s legendary law enforcer, the brutal economics don’t lie. Dredd spluttered and fell at the box office. It’s made some of the ground up on DVD and Blu-ray, but not enough, and Alex Garland and the team behind the first movie have duly moved on. Dredd 2 will not happen.  But on the upside, a TV show is being developed, and that’s happening. It’s unclear as of yet if Karl Urban will be back as Dredd, but that seems to be the intention…

Chances of still happening: Zero chance of a film. A good chance of a TV show. We’ll take that, although it’d be surprising if it is at all related to this cult classic in terms of casting or continuity.

Beverly Hills Cop 4

Curious thing, this one. Beverly Hills Cop 4 was all set to rock and roll with Brett Ratner stepping in to direct and Eddie Murphy coming back to the role of Axel Foley for the first time in two decades. A release date was set for March 25, 2016 which, as you’ve probably realized, is in the past. Right now, Beverly Hills Cop 4 isn’t shooting either, which leads to questions as to just what’s happened.

Not much.

The project is still said to be alive, even as Paramount removed it from its schedule in 2016. Still, directors Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah recently claimed in their native Netherlands that they have “auditioned” for Murphy about making the picture, and even are said to eye Channing Tatum for a villainous role. Still, no official word leaves us still fairly skeptical.

Ad – content continues below

Chances of still happening: Not great, not terrible.

Avatar 2

It has finally started filming filming this past fall, with three more sequels to follow afterwards.

Chances of still happening: 100 percent.

Bill & Ted 3

For as long as we’ve been doing this site – nearly a decade now, scarily enough – Bill & Ted 3 is one of the projects we’ve been coming back to time and time again. We hear of false starts, scripts being close to completion, trying to get the money in place, and so on. It’s unclear if Galaxy Quest helmer Dean Parisot is still in place to direct the new sequel (it looks very unlikely), but Bill & Ted 3 still seems just about active. Whilst promoting John Wick: Chapter 2 earlier this year, Reeves talked about the script, saying that he still wants to make the film. It’s unclear what the stumbling block is, but we hope it gets sorted shortly…

Chances of still happening: We live in hope.

Galaxy Quest 2

The beloved Galaxy Quest is a film that’s surely always being watched somewhere on planet Earth. And back in 2014, Tim Allen revealed that a screenplay had been written for a sequel. But a sequel never came to pass.

Ad – content continues below

Guttingly, it turns out it got a lot closer than many of us realized. In April 2016, Sam Rockwell confirmed that Amazon was considering a sequel that would have filmed that year. The tragic, early death of the wonderful Alan Rickman though pretty much stopped the project in its tracks. Furthermore, Tim Allen’s lack of availability didn’t help. But as Rockwell told Nerdist, “How do you fill that void of Alan Rickman? That’s a hard void to fill.”

The answer: you don’t. We suspect that a second Galaxy Quest movie has been permanently parked – although plans remain afoot for a spin-off TV show.

Chances of still happening: Zero.

The X-Files 3

During the lead-up to the first season of The X-Files revival currently occurring on Fox, series creator and lead writer Chris Carter was doing the interview rounds when he admitted that he has a screenplay for The X-Files 3 in place. Furthermore, he noted that there had been interest from Fox in pursuing the project. Both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have been supportive of the idea in the past.

That said, Carter also conceded that it was a long way from actually happening. And this was before the second season of the revival… and the revelation by Anderson that she intends it to be her final season as Dana Scully. And an X-Files without Scully?

Chances of still happening: Anderson can always change her mind, but if she doesn’t, we’d say that the truth might be out there, but another X-Files movie isn’t.

Ad – content continues below


Finally, another Schwarzenegger project, and one with the same problem. This one’s a sequel to the 1988 comedy Twins, that would reunite Arnie with Danny DeVito, and this time potentially bring Eddie Murphy into the mix too. Ivan Reitman would return to direct, and Ryan Dixon and Josh Gad have been working on the screenplay.

It’s the same drill as Conan, here. Schwarzenegger maintains that Triplets is an active project, but there’s been precious little sign of it getting before a camera. Arnie’s television commitments (and their brutal ending), and his waning box office appeal are likely to have at the least made Universal think twice about a Twins 2. This one’s certainly not dead though, and Schwarzenegger has told Screen Daily that the script is about a month away from completion. We wait and see what happens next…

Chances of still happening: Reasonably low.