The Biggest Sequels That Never Got Made

There are technically sequels still in development for I Am Legend, Star Trek 3, and Edge of Tomorrow. Will they ever happen though?

I Am Legend
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Sequels are a given in Hollywood. If a movie is a massive hit—and sometimes even when it’s not—studios are eager to pounce on any opportunity to extend the brand into another film and sometimes even a whole series of them. Franchises and IP (intellectual property) are for better or worse the name of the game in Tinseltown, no matter how often critics and audiences seem to cry out for more original material at the multiplex.

The other thing about sequels is that Hollywood is a strange place that can either move at lightning speed or slow down to a pace of a glacier. While some follow-up films get placed on the fast track and can rocket into theaters in as little as two years (hell, they used to make a Bond movie every year back in the ‘60s), others get bogged down in that infamous existential swamp known as development hell (it took 17 years to make Bad Boys 3, almost 30 for the upcoming Twisters, and 35 for Blade Runner 2049, just to cite some recent examples).

So despite some of the announced sequels listed below being intended to follow pretty sizable box office successes (and even some outright blockbusters), they’ve been inexplicably stalled for years if not decades. Some have virtually no chance of showing up at this point, while others, if you believe the filmmakers, are still grinding their way through the development process. Which then begs the question: is it even worth it anymore?

I Am Legend 2

Will Smith says that he considers the 2007 film I Am Legend, the third film version of Richard Matheson’s classic horror novel (and the first to actually use its title), as one of the four best films he’s ever made. Critics and audiences at the time seemed to agree, with the former giving the film generally positive reviews and the latter rewarding it with a worldwide gross of $585 million. But the battle of Smith’s Robert Neville against an apocalyptic plague of mutated humans ended with Neville’s death, so it seemed as if I Am Legend would be a one-and-done for the Oscar-winning actor.

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It turns out that director Francis Lawrence and Smith were thinking about a prequel in 2008, and four years later, Warner Bros. announced that a sequel was in development. But it was nearly a decade until a further update in 2022 indicated that Smith would star alongside Michael B. Jordan in the film. And how would it get around Neville’s death at the end? By following an alternate deleted ending (available on home video) in which Neville survives. Jordan recently told People that the film is still “in the works.”

Worth another go? Basing a sequel off a deleted scene seems like a dicey proposition to us, especially since the film ended with Neville becoming the legend of the title (albeit not exactly as how Matheson intended it). It’s probably okay if I Am Legend 2 stays just… a legend.

Constantine 2

The same team behind I Am Legend—director Francis Lawrence and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman—are reportedly going to make the long-mooted follow-up to Lawrence’s 2005 occult superhero movie, which starred Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, the embittered, cynical exorcist who is able to communicate with angels and demons and often ends up battling both. Constantine did okay at the box office, earning $230 million globally against a budget of somewhere between $70 million and $100 million, but critics were less kind, giving it only 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Yet Constantine has built a cult following over the years, perhaps because other projects supposedly exploring the dark, horror-themed side of DC Comics have remained in development hell (we’re looking at you, Justice League Dark). Reeves expressed his interest in returning in recent years, and in late 2022 Warner Bros. announced that development on the sequel was underway, with the film likely to be branded as an “Elseworlds” release in the James Gunn version of the DC universe.

Worth another go? Time has made the hearts of many grow fonder for Constantine, and we admit we have some interest in seeing this character back on the screen, this time in the R-rated version that Lawrence originally wanted to do in the first place.

Edge of Tomorrow 2

2014’s Edge of Tomorrow is considered a bubble film. The Doug Liman-directed production was troubled from the start (is any Liman project not “troubled?”), star Tom Cruise’s box office pull outside the Mission: Impossible movies was then in doubt, and the film’s budget soared to $175 million. Yet it managed to cough up $370 million worldwide, which is just barely enough, combined with critical appreciation and audience good will, to give this bracing time-loop alien invasion story a shot at a follow-up.

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Sure enough a sequel, ostensibly titled Live. Die. Repeat. Repeat. (the “secret” second title of Edge of Tomorrow was Live. Die. Repeat.) was seemingly underway by late 2015, with writer Christopher McQuarrie claiming that they had an idea for a second film. Liman came aboard in 2016, but since then, we’ve heard variations on “the script was being rewritten” or “Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt were looking for space in their schedule.” As of February 2024, the sequel was still being “discussed.”

With another go? It’s not like Edge of Tomorrow blew the doors off at the box office, plus it’s been a decade already since the first one came out. Warner Bros. should take a lesson from the failure of Furiosa and let this one settle quietly into the past.

Sherlock Holmes 3

In 2011, Robert Downey Jr. was on top of the world; after all, he was leading not just one, but two hugely successful franchises. While rapidly dwarfed by the game-changing phenomenon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Downey’s two Sherlock Holmes films—including 2011’s sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows—had combined to earn more than $1 billion worldwide.

Talk of a third film started almost as soon as A Game of Shadows finished its $543 million theatrical run, with Drew Pearce and others taking a crack at the script over the next few years. Downey, his wife and producing partner, Susan, and co-star Jude Law all made the usual noises about the movie being in development, although it was noted in 2019 that Guy Ritchie, director of both previous entries, was being replaced by Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman). Downey’s obligations to the MCU, and later the pandemic, were cited as reasons for the ongoing delays, with Sherlock Holmes III still nowhere in sight.

Worth another go? It’s been a long time since the Sherlock Holmes movies came out, and audiences have moved past their rather traditional style of anachronistic action. There might be more excitement, we imagine, for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s excellent BBC series coming back than these films. This is a pass. Plus, Downey’s going to come back as Iron Man, anyway.

National Treasure 3

It’s been 17 years since Nicolas Cage went searching for a diary containing the secret history of the U.S. in 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and in the meantime, Cage’s career has had more ups and downs than a runaway mine car. Additionally, the franchise has attempted to move on without him by way of a Disney+ spinoff series that was canceled after one season.

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A script has allegedly been in the works for a third film since 2008, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer saying in 2020 that Cage and the original cast would return. The TV series may have dampened any momentum for that, however, although as late as 2024, director Jon Turteltaub was saying on a podcast that the third movie was still happening despite Cage countering that he had no plans to return.

Worth another go? Based on the muted response to the TV series, as well as Cage’s more eccentric career path in the last 10 or 15 years, we’d say leave National Treasure 3 buried.

Jumanji 4

Nobody was more surprised than, well, just about everybody when the Jumanji franchise returned from the dead in 2017 with the smash hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The first film had been a modest hit back in 1995, but more than 20 years later, residual goodwill for the brand and the star power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart rocketed the long-developing sequel to nearly a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

2019’s Jumanji: The Next Level earned a still staggering $800 million, and plans were quickly announced for a fourth film in the series. But the pandemic and Johnson’s busy schedule (including the reportedly troubled Red One with Jumanji director Jake Kasdan) have seemingly thrown a major wrench into the mix. While Hart said he and the Rock were discussing a new Jumanji film back in March 2023, we’ve heard next to nothing since.

Worth another go? This franchise has already shown, if anything, that a long-dormant property can still take up space in the public consciousness decades later and reinvent itself with a fresh approach, so we wouldn’t count it out. Plus, the last one did end on the promise of going back to the setup of the original film with Jumanji game elements entering the real world, and it’s been 30 years since anyone’s tried that.

Star Trek 4

The long, sad history of Star Trek 4—aka the fourth film in the “Kelvin Timeline,” starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock—is so convoluted and messy that it requires a feature of its own (and in fact has gotten one). A parade of directors and writers, including S.J. Clarkson (Madame Web), Noah Hawley (Fargo), J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (The Rings of Power), Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3), Matt Shakman (Fantastic Four) and even Quentin frickin’ Tarantino have all beamed up to the project and then warped out at one point or another.

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If current reports are correct, the project has recently been reimagined as some sort of “origin story” shepherded by Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg. Will Pine, Quinto, and their crew be involved? Unknown. But here’s the truth: while the first two did well at the box office, and the first one is fun, time won’t be kind to the three Kelvin films, and the box office was not amenable to the last one (2016’s Star Trek Beyond). No one seems to know how to bring this franchise back to the big screen.

Worth another go? We wouldn’t mind seeing the Kelvin crew get one last voyage into theaters, but all the rumored ideas to bring it back are bad ones. Unless there’s a great story to tell, let the franchise thrive on the small screen.

The Goonies 2

Ah, The Goonies. The very definition of a cult hit, The Goonies was not a blockbuster per se when it came out in 1985. Even so, Richard Donner’s tale about a group of kids on a hunt for treasure (played by then-young actors like Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, and Ke Huy Quan) has endured in the imaginations of those who saw it ever since, and in many ways it’s almost the quintessential Amblin film from that time period.

Strangely, though, the idea of a sequel has apparently never caught on with the studio that distributed the first film, Warner Bros. Pictures. The original cast has indicated over the years that they’re game, and at different points in the last four decades—yes, it’s been that long—folks like Astin and even Richard Donner seemed certain that Goonies 2 was going to happen. Donner’s death in 2021 seemed to end all talk of that, but let’s face it, nothing ever really dies in Hollywood.

Worth another go? While the thought of revisiting the Goonies as middle-aged adults might be fun on paper, the original movie’s nostalgic aura might only be disrupted by a sequel.

Kill Bill Vol. 3

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 aren’t talked about as much these days as early Quentin Tarantino masterpieces like Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, or more recent hits like Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. But QT’s epic love letter to martial arts movies is still esteemed by fans and critics, and both parts were solid box office hits at the time. Tarantino himself spoke as early as 2004 about continuing the Bride’s saga, telling EW, “I was going to do a new one every 10 years… I’ve already got the whole mythology.”

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QT has even spoken about doing four films, and the subject has come up repeatedly in the ensuing two decades. As late as 2021, he floated the idea of casting Uma Thurman’s real-life daughter, Maya Hawke, as the Bride’s offspring, but later that same year, he said that the first two movies exhausted him so much that he didn’t want to think about a third one anymore.

Worth another go? We’re always intrigued by anything Tarantino does, and a third Kill Bill does seem like one of the great unrealized projects of his career. It’s a shame that it doesn’t look like it will ever happen now.

True Lies 2

James Cameron’s 1994 comedic action thriller, True Lies, is a divisive film in many ways. Cameron’s usual skill with massive action and the great work by stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis are still worthy of praise, but the sheer concussive nature of the film as well as some of its now cringeworthy tropes about women and people of Middle Eastern descent have not aged well.

Nevertheless, True Lies was another hit for Cameron and Schwarzenegger, so discussions began in 1997 about a sequel (while Cameron was making Titanic). A script was indeed completed in early 2001, but then three things happened after that: the 9/11 attacks changed Cameron’s views on using terrorism in an escapist adventure, Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in 2003, and the director began his long journey down the Avatar rabbit hole where he’s lived ever since.

Worth another go? The time for a True Lies sequel, as fun as it might have been, is long past. It’s the kind of movie that should have come out two or three years after the original. And that’s the truth.

World War Z 2

World War Z, a very mediocre film based on an excellent novel by Max Brooks, was a classic example of the troubled high-profile Hollywood production. Starring Brad Pitt as a UN investigator trying to stop a zombie apocalypse (and discarding the book’s oral history format), the Marc Forster-directed film underwent massive rewrites while filming and then extensive reshoots, busting its budget and delaying its release. When it finally came out in June 2013, it got mixed reviews from critics but ended up earning $540 million worldwide—apparently enough, even with the bloated price tag, for Paramount to consider a sequel.

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Director J.A. Bayona was initially tapped to helm the sequel, but eventually left, only to be replaced by none other than David Fincher. The famously iconoclastic filmmaker signed onto the project in 2017, along with Pitt, and indeed pre-production began for a 2019 shoot. Then the project was abruptly canceled in February 2019, the alleged reason being that China, then still a major source of box office revenue for Hollywood, would not allow a movie featuring zombies to be released.

Worth another go? Sometimes dead is better. The first film is largely forgotten a decade after its release, and was trouble enough to get made. Keep this one in the grave.


This one’s a little different: the movie in question actually got made… sort of. Following the success of 1995’s gripping serial killer procedural Seven ($327 million worldwide), New Line Cinema was of course interested in a sequel despite the bleak ending of the original film. And the studio apparently already had a script—except it was not a Seven sequel per se. It was instead a thriller called Solace, and it followed a psychic who pursued a killer with their own mental abilities.

New Line execs wanted to repurpose the Solace script as Eight, an official sequel to Seven, with the psychic character turned into Morgan Freeman’s Somerset from the first film. But when Freeman, along with Seven director David Fincher and co-star Brad Pitt, expressed no interest in the project, the idea was dropped, and Eight became Solace again. It was eventually filmed and released in 2016 with Anthony Hopkins as the psychic and Colin Farrell as the killer.

Worth a watch? We’ve never seen Solace, but its 25 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes tells us that we were lucky that New Line stopped counting after Seven.

Gump and Co.

Yes, there was a Forrest Gump 2 in the works. In fact, the author of the original novel, Winston Groom, wrote his own sequel, Gump and Co., which the first movie’s screenwriter, Eric Roth, dutifully adapted in 2001. There was one catch, however: Roth turned in his draft of the script on September 10, 2001. The next day, as Roth told Slashfilm in 2008, the world changed. “We sat down, Tom [Hanks] and Bob [Zemeckis] and I, looked at each other and said, we don’t think this is relevant anymore… Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”

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Hanks himself has said in interviews that he was happy that a sequel—which would have found Forrest meeting Saddam Hussein, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jim Bakker, among others—never seriously got underway.

Worth another go? While the original film remains one of the more divisive blockbusters of its time, it was very much its own unique animal. Better to leave Forrest sitting on that park bench.

District 10

District 9 was a surprise hit with both critics and audiences in 2009, and a far better and more original sci-fi film than that year’s other genre behemoth, Avatar. The world that Neill Blomkamp created, where the survivors of a crashed alien generation ship are crowded into a fenced-off camp-turned-slum in Johannesburg, South Africa, was ripe for a follow-up. So Blomkamp began talking about a potential sequel not long after the original film came out.

But talk is all we’ve heard since. While both Blomkamp and star Sharlto Copley have said in recent years that they had been working on a script, Blomkamp told the Hollywood Reporter in 2023, “I don’t know if it’s getting made or not. I don’t know if I even want to make that right now, but at some point down the line, it’ll probably get made.”

Worth another go? Blomkamp’s four films since District 9 have all been major disappointments with none of them capturing that film’s energy, immediacy, or relevance. Should he ever get around to District 10, we’re not even sure we’d like to see the results at this point.