Not all sequels are treated equally. While hits such as Cars (2006) and Despicable Me (2010) have multiple sequels, it took 13 years before Pixar announced that the widely requested sequel to the critical and box office success, The Incredibles (2004), is finally on its way.
Of course, not every animated hit needs a sequel if the narrative is complete by itself, like Disney’s mega-hit Frozen (2013). However, when the film goes on to become the most successful animated feature of all-time, raking in a staggering $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office, Frozen 2 is a no-brainer. Other recently announced animated sequels include: Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Toy Story 4, while the adventures of Baymax and Hiro continues on TV via Big Hero 6: The Series.
It’s understandable that besides the complexity of re-creating the animation — whether it’s 2D hand-drawn, 3D computer-generated or stop-motion — a good story is a necessity (and a highly marketable toy line). Still, there are a number of #animation gems that deserves a sequel but, due to one reason or another, will probably never get one. Here are a few examples:
1. The Iron Giant (1999)
Despite bombing at the box office (no thanks to underwhelming marketing), this critically acclaimed 2D-animated feature about a small-town boy Hogarth befriending a giant alien robot that paranoid government agents want to destroy, rightfully became a cult classic. Based on British poet Ted Hughes’s Cold War novel, The Iron Man, the vividly colored film is filled with humor, action and heartfelt emotions. For years, ardent fans have send petitions to Warner Brothers requesting a sequel but to no avail.
Last year, director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) released the documentary, The Giant’s Dream: The Making of the Iron Giant, which outlines the challenges he faced while making the 1999 film. When Diesel, who voiced the giant in the film, hinted that a sequel could be possible after posting a trailer of The Iron Giant remastered release on his Facebook page in 2015, Bird strongly denied the notion, telling bleedingcool.com:
“[Vin Diesel] tried to stir that up, but no. You don’t always want a sequel. The story is told and there isn’t always a story afterward.”
#TheIronGiant recently caused a stir among animation fans when it made an appearance in Steven Spielberg’s anticipated science-fiction thriller, Ready Player One. It appears it won’t be just a blink-and-you-will-miss-it cameo either, as the legendary director said:
“The Iron Giant is a real major player in this story.”
If the alien robot makes a significant impression in Ready Player One, perhaps fans of The Iron Giant shouldn’t give up hope on a sequel just yet.
2. WALL-E (2008)
Released in 2008, WALL-E is one of the most novel Pixar animated features of all time. The captivating futuristic film focuses on the titular robot, who happens to be the last robot on Earth. He eventually meets and falls for a sleek droid named EVE who arrives on the planet to scan for life. Directed by Andrew Stanton (A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo), the film was both a critical and box office hit, grossing over $500 million worldwide and earning six Academy Award nominations — the most for a Pixar film — eventually winning Best Animated Feature.
The film’s ending practically screams for a sequel when plants are shown to grow in a seemingly destitute Earth. It will be great to have a follow-up story to see if the well-fed humans from EVE’s space station can rekindle a whole new living environment on Earth with WALL-E.
It took Stanton 13 years before he delivered Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, last year. Perhaps WALL-E 2 could be just around the corner.
3. Up (2009)
Up is a film that has its heart in all the right places. The second animated feature in Oscar history to receive a Best Picture nomination (after 1991’s Beauty & The Beast) it went on to win two Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score out of its five nominations.
Though the story of old man Carl and earnest Boy Scout Russell ends on a high note, it would still be fun to see the lovable pair embarking on more fun adventures together with Dug the dog and thousands of colored balloons. Maybe the sequel can expand on the the memorable 10-minute opening sequence featuring Carl and his beloved Ellie in their younger days; from how they meet as kids to their marriage and life together at the local zoo.
There many possibilities for the key characters in Up. We just have to see if the producers are “up” for it as much as we are.
4. Ratatouille (2007)
Ratatouille is an original and charming feature that deserves its place in every “Top Food Films of all-time” list. The Disney/Pixar film, which earned $620 million worldwide and won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature 2007, turns 10 this year, and the long-awaited sequel will be very timely now.
In 2014, a 4-D attraction, Ratatouille: The Adventure, was added to Disneyland Paris and soon became the park’s most popular ride. In it, visitors are shrunk to the size of “Little Chef” Remy and they have to dash to safety in a exhilarating chase across a kitchen inspired by Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant. Additionally, in the recent #Disney D23 Expo, it was announced that a similar attraction will be added to the World Showcase at EPCOT Center by 2021. What better way to drive up interest for a new attraction based on a 10-year-old film than producing a sequel?
The most foreseeable problem is that the original director/writer Brad Bird is now currently focused on The Incredibles 2. Moreover, we know how he feels about sequels (see The Iron Giant above). Sigh.
5. Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)
One of the most impressive animated films in recent times is Laika Entertainment’s Kubo and the Two Strings. The Japan-set stop-motion/computer animation “hybrid” won Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects, only the second animated film to be nominated in the latter category since 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The story of young Kubo who, with the help of Monkey and Beetle, embarks on a quest to defeat his vengeful grandfather as well as his evil twin aunts. Not only does the film have characters that you root for, the effects are truly groundbreaking — from the amazing origami samurai to the skeleton monster that is brought to life by the creation of a giant 16-foot, 400-pound puppet.
It will be great to see such state-of-the-art effects being used again in a sequel but it is a very time-consuming process, especially considering that Kubo and the Two Strings took five years to plan and complete. Add to that Laika CEO Travis Knight is adamantly against franchises of any kind. In an interview with Cartoon Brew, he attests:
“I take a firm stand against sequels. My industry brethren are a little shocked at how firmly I’m committed to not doing sequels… If you look at where our industry is going, it’s dominated by franchises and brands, re-dos, re-makes, sequels and prequels, where all these old presents are re-wrapped and offered up as new gifts… And I have no interest in doing that.”
Despite winning multiple animation awards, #KuboandtheTwoStrings only grossed $74 million worldwide against a budget of $60 million, which is probably a major deterrent. Well, here’s hoping Mr. Knight will change his mind.
Which animated film do you want to have a sequel? Let us know in the comments!