It occurs to me that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) is the earliest movie prequel I can think of, at least in the sense we commonly think of prequels today. Am I forgetting (or simply unaware of) a ton? For purposes of this exercise, I’m classifying a movie prequel as:
- A film that came out after another film;
- set in the same story “universe,” of sequential events if not actual location;
- featuring the same protagonist, or at least a protagonist who was a primary character in the first film;
- with that character being played by the same actor (i.e. no two-decade-later origin story reboots);
- that depicts, completely or at least primarily, events that took place before the events of the earlier film (i.e. not just one little flashback scene); and
- neither the first movie nor the prequel are adaptations of books or other media.
By those criteria, can you think of any earlier prequel than Temple of Doom? I know I could Google it, but I’d rather be made to feel dumb by y’all than by a cold, heartless search engine.