How Many Sequels Can A Series Really Have?

Written by: Chase Bridges

We live in a constant state of “Have you heard of the new _____ movie coming out?” It seems like sequels are running rampant in Hollywood, even for movies which originally came out decades ago. Everyone has come to the general consensus that we’re tired of reboots and sequels, but yet keep going to see them. So as long as these giant movie franchises are continuing, lets ask the question on everyones minds. How many sequels can a series really have?

I want to make it clear before we dive anymore into it, that I am only including franchises with direct sequels or prequels. The MCU has over twenty movies in its Infinity Saga, however these are separate individual films that take place in the same universe, not continuous sequels. We also won’t include films that are based on book series, so Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are sitting this one out.

When you think of a franchise with a bunch of sequels, Fast and the Furious is ranking in with eight total films, with two more already green lit and ready for production. You would think that eight films spanning over twenty years would be tiresome by now. But considering the recent installment “The Fate of the Furious” brought in over a billion in the box office, fans prove that there is still a demand for more epic car chases and Vin Diesel.

What about a franchise with a ton of sequels that fans soured on after awhile? Star Wars. Star Wars has a total of nine films in their series. Three prequels, the original trilogy, and then the latest sequel trilogy. If you ask fans their opinions on this series, you will hear alot of arguing. Some think they should have stopped after the original three, other think they should have stopped after the prequels, and some think that the recent films are the only good ones.

That being said, every single film in the franchise has made a lot of money for Lucasfilm and then eventually Disney. So is it once again showing that the amount of films made doesnt really matter? As long as people love the original?

Indiana Jones is a good example of a series of films that should have stopped sooner. What’s strange about that is, there are only a total of four Indiana Jones films. Fans absolutely love the first three, but when a fourth installment came out in 2008, fans decided that was enough. Thus ending the iconic series… for now. Rumors have it that a fifth film is going to be on its way in the next few years. If it does well, should we expect another five films?

Pirates of the Caribbean had one of the strongest trilogy’s that Disney had ever produced, until they tried to follow suit of franchises like Fast and the Furious and Star Wars. After their first three, they tried their hand at a fourth film. While Pirates of the Caribbean On Strangers Tides was actually quite an enjoyable film, the box office showed a hefty decline. Everyone kind of assumed after the lackluster response to the film that it would be the last one, but a fifth one was released in 2017.

Fans did not like the latest installment of the franchise, and it looked to be like the real end of the series. Pirates found the magic number, stop at three, but possibly squeeze out a fourth. Never a fifth. But it seems like they haven’t given up on their Pirates Universe, with two separate Pirates films being developed. As of right now, it is seen to be that these films aren’t going to be sequels or even prequels, but separate films that take place in the same world. More of a MCU approach instead of a Fast and the Furious.

So what does all of this mean? How can Fast and the Furious keep churning out sequels while fantastic franchises like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean only get three or four before being too much? Is it consistent directors? Consistent writers? What’s the secret formula?

Indiana Jones had the same director for the first all the way to the fourth. Fast and the Furious has had a different director or writer for almost every film. It appears that these things don’t really have an effect on making the films continue on and on. At the end of the day, each franchise is different, while a series like Fast and the Furious can churn out car chases, heists, and action movie goodness forever, more story oriented films like Indiana Jones might not have enough tales left in the tank for more and more and more.

We just have to hold on tight, and hope that the people in charge of making these reboots and sequels have the best interest in their heart when making them. Instead of just looking for a cash grab. Who knows, maybe we will look back at all of these in a few decades and realize how awesome it all really was.

How many sequels do you think a film can have before its too much? Let us know!

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