Successful prequels in movies (or not)

Lunchroom discussion today centered on the official declaration by that Star Wars Ep.1, 2, and 3 all suck.

Without getting into that debate too much (although please let’s get into it a bit if it hasn’t already been done to death), one question popped up that I wanted to run by Café Society: What movie prequels are there and how well do they work. During our discussion we came up with comic book prequels and novel prequels - but few prequels (IMDB not yet installed in our cafeteria :smiley: )

should read: “…but few movie prequels…”

Batman Returns springs to mind…

You could maybe argue that some of the Star Trek movies were prequels, in that they were using TOS cast but were made about the same time STNG was being made, so they were “prequels” to the STNG series (references were made to the Khitomer Accords, which were shown in Final Frontier).

It’s funny you mentioned Star Trek. We were considering some of the time travelling to be, in effect, prequels: esp. First Contact where we travel back and witness Cochrane’s first warp launch, etc.

Batman Begins: good call - a sequel arguably better than any of its … okay, terminology jam. What do you call a movie that has a prequel - a postquel? Anyways Batman Begins is IMHO better than Tim Burton’s Batman and Adam West’s Batman Movie.

Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I’ll let you decide if it was successful.

I agree that Batman Begins was a great prequel (and FAR superior to the Burton et. al Batmans).

But the one that immediately popped into my mind was the combined prequel and sequel of “The Godfather Part II”. Both storylines were awesome.

Just a nitpick, but the makers of Batman Begins made it very clear that it’s not a prequel to the Burton movies, but the start of a completely separate franchise that happens to be based on the same source material.
The best example I can think of is Alien vs Predator as a prequel to the rest of the Alien series, but fans of the films would probably prefer to forget it.

Here’s a thought experiment. Is Back to the Future III a prequel to the other films in the series? It takes place in the past on a chronological timeline, but from Marty’s perspective it’s the last of the events to happen.

And from the Doc’s perspective. I’d say it’s pretty clearly not a prequel.

How do we know that Temple of Doom is a prequel?

Because the opening titles give it an earlier date than Raiders. 1936 vs. 1938, I believe.

If we’re speaking strictly of movies, I’d nominate “Red Dragon.”

I am not sure in the novel world if this preceeded “Silence of the Lambs” or not, but it looks like the movie arc made “Red Dragon” a prequell.

Now that I think of it, wasn’t there another one predating even this?

I’m thinking of a comic book, “Martian Manhunter,” but I know this is not it, obviously. Probably “Manhunter” or something. I am going by memory, not Google here, so please be gentle.

Manhunter it is. Same plot, different cast. Red Dragon was made to cash in on Anthony Hopkins’ Lector.

Red Dragon was a prequel, Manhunter was just the first movie.

To echo wayward, Batman Begins is an adaptation of the comic book series, not a sequel to Burton and Schumaker’s movies and the Trek movie you are referencing is The Undiscovered Country, not The Final Frontier.

Twin Peaks: Firewalk With Me was a prequel to a TV series, not a prior movie. Stylistically interesting; I’m not sure how well it stands as a move.

Oh! How about Young Sherlock Holmes and Greystoke?

There were some regrettable prequels, like Butch and Sundance: The Early Years and Dumb & Dumberer, but we should probably just not look and keep driving.

Disney’s straight-to-video *Tarzan II[i/] was a prequel. Haven’t seen it, though.

Although produced by a different creative team, I still think “Batman Begins” qualifies as a prequel. We threw out “Young Sherlock Holmes” but I guess by the same logic it does apply.

“Manhunter”, IIRC, came out as a movie long before “Silence of the Lambs.” So it’s not a prequel. I remember the film vaguely - who was the guy who played Lector?

Was “Magician’s Nephew” ever made into a movie - the BBC series perhaps? The novel, of course, is a prequel to “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

cormac262 good call on Godfather II!

Superdude and Scupper - It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Indy movies. Did Temple of Doom have any integral plot points or character developments that gave backfilled “Raiders”? I know the third one with Sean Connery explained through flashback why Indy hates snakes.

Damn, I can’t believe how bad my memory is on this topic! I usually pride myself on encyclopedic movie trivia… I suck today!

Not that I can recall at 3:37am. But it’s been a long time since I’ve watched it, also.

Also in Last Crusade, which is the last in the series (and the one you mentioned, though not by name), you also find out how Indy got the scar, and the fedora, and the name “Indiana.”

Red Dragon and Manhunter are the exact same story. The Michael Mann version had its title changed to Manhunter for unknown reasons.

This one’s an interesting case, because Anthony Hopkins is so deeply identified with Dr. Lecter, it’s natural to think of Red Dragon as a sequel. Manhunter is also so totally different in style, as well as actors, that it might as well exist in another universe.