9 Movies That Were Supposed to Be Sequels to Other Movies

YouTube
YouTube

Why let a good screenplay go to waste? Sometimes sequel movies get repurposed and recycled into something else that’s new and exciting. Here are nine movies that were supposed to be sequels to other movies. 

1. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

Quentin Tarantino originally conceived of The Hateful Eight as a sequel to his Django Unchained (2012). But as he began writing, the filmmaker realized that something didn’t feel right about having Django in the middle of the new story. Tarantino felt that Django was too much of a good guy to be part of the deadly situation at the center of The Hateful Eight. "There should be no moral center. I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can't trust a word anybody says," Tarantino said during a Q&A at the Alamo Drafthouse in 2015.

“At the time it was called ‘Django in White Hell,’” Tarantino told David Poland. “And it was basically just, you know—so I started writing—and it was basically just the stagecoach stuff, you know, all the stuff that we have in the story of the stagecoach, instead of Major Warren it was Django. And I was working on that and I hadn’t got to Minnie’s Haberdashery yet, hadn’t figured out who the other people would be there, just kind of, just setting this mystery into place.”

2. DIE HARD (1988)

Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel, Nothing Lasts Forever. Which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective, which was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra in 1968. When Die Hard was being developed, 20th Century Fox offered the lead role to Sinatra, who wasn’t interested in reprising the part.

“A good bar bet if you want to make some cash is to ask someone: ‘Who was the first actor to play John McClane and in what movie?’ They will say: ‘Bruce Willis in Die Hard' and you say: ‘No! Frank Sinatra in The Detective!’ and then run out before you get beat up,” Die Hard screenwriter Steven E. de Souza told the Bristol Bad Film Club in 2015. “Interestingly, 20th Century Fox had to contractually offer Bruce Willis’s part in Die Hard to Frank Sinatra because it was a sequel to the original book! Fortunately for Bruce, he said: ‘I’m too old and too rich to act any more.’” 

3. PREDATOR (1987)

After Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago and brought together the United States and Russia at the end of Rocky IV, there was a joke in Hollywood that Rocky was running out of people to box and would have to fight a space alien if there was ever a Rocky V. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took the joke seriously and started to write the script for Predator, which was originally titled Hunter. Producer Joel Silver really liked the story and picked it up for 20th Century Fox in 1985. Instead of casting Sylvester Stallone in the leading role, Silver cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer after working with him on Commando a few years earlier.

4. COLOMBIANA (2011)

With the success of 1994’s Léon: The Professional, director Luc Besson and his protégé Olivier Megaton tried to make a sequel called Mathilda. After years of running into roadblocks—including Natalie Portman’s rise to stardom and Besson’s rocky relationship with Gaumont Film Company, which owns the rights to The Professional—Besson and Megaton turned their script for Mathilda into Colombiana instead. 

"Ten years ago we decided to make Mathilda, which was the Professional sequel, but we couldn’t do it because of the evolution of a lot of things," said Megaton. “Luc tried to do this movie again and again—he proposed it to me 12 years ago. But when we decided to change the script and to make another movie with a revenge story like Mathilda, he had to give up everything about Mathilda."

5. NIGHTHAWKS (1981)

During the late 1970s, screenwriter David Shaber wrote The French Connection III after the success of the first two feature films for 20th Century Fox. However, Gene Hackman refused to reprise the role of Popeye Doyle, so the project moved to Universal Pictures and Shaber rewrote the script into Nighthawks, with Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the main roles.

Fun Fact: The character Popeye Doyle would eventually reappear in a movie, but this time on the small screen. Ed O’Neill played the character in Popeye Doyle, a made-for-TV movie that aired on NBC in 1986.

6. SOLACE (2015)

After the success of Se7en in 1995, New Line Cinema wanted to make a sequel and acquired a script called Solace from Ocean’s Eleven writer Ted Griffin in 2002. With the hope of making a sequel called Ei8ht, the story featured a psychic who helps the FBI find a known serial killer. New Line wanted to change the psychic character to Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman’s character from Se7en), but Se7en director David Fincher was less than enthusiastic about the idea of a sequel.

“I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes,” the director said during an advanced screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2008. “I keep trying to get out from under my own shadow.” He later added, “I don’t want to do the same sh*t over and over.”

In 2013, New Line Cinema continued with the project without Fincher, but made Solace under its original title and characters instead. 

7. SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Before Die Hard with a Vengeance hit theaters during the summer of 1995, 20th Century Fox was interested in turning a spec script called Troubleshooter from writer James Haggin into Die Hard 3. If made, the film would’ve followed John McClane aboard a Caribbean cruise ship with terrorists taking over the luxury ocean liner. Fox scrapped the idea when they learned that Steven Seagal’s Under Siege, which had a very similar story, was in production at Warner Bros. for release in 1992. However, in 1997, Fox reworked Troubleshooter into Speed 2: Cruise Control with Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) and new love interest Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) on board the cruise ship instead. Keanu Reeves was offered $12 million to reprise his role, but said no.

8. MINORITY REPORT (2002)

Originally, Minority Report was developed as a sequel to Total Recall, both of which were based on short stories by Philip K. Dick. When Total Recall became a box office hit in 1990, TriStar Pictures wanted a sequel, so they looked to combine Total Recall with Minority Report and tasked novelist Jon Cohen with adapting the screenplay in 1997. The would-be sequel would’ve seen the precogs from Minority Report changed into the mutants from Total Recall, as they helped Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid stop crime before it happened on the Red Planet.

However, production company Carolco Pictures, which owned the rights to Total Recall and Minority Report, went out of business, so the sequel project fell to 20th Century Fox where Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise later picked it up for release in 2002.  

9. CYBORG (1989)

During the late 1980s, Cannon Films planned to make a sequel for Masters of the Universe and a live-action Spider-Man movie at the same time. However, the movie studio ran into financial problems because Masters of the Universe was a box office bomb and had to cancel its deals with Mattel and Marvel, who owned He-Man and Spider-Man, respectively. Unfortunately, Cannon had already spent $2 million in pre-production, so the movie studio decided to rework the projects into a new film called Cyborg to make up for the loss. A script was written in one weekend and Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast in the lead role of Gibson Rickenbacker.

“That's part of the Cannon experience—we couldn't shoot these because the check bounced for the rights,” Cyborg director Albert Pyun told io9. “First it was Spider-Man, and then they couldn't bring themselves to tell us they'd also bounced the same check for Mattel [for He-Man]. It was kind of good, though. I was relieved—both Marvel and Mattel were very difficult to deal with, and they just did not want to cooperate.”

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Maestro: 10 Facts About Ennio Morricone

Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Famed composer Ennio Morricone died on July 6, 2020 at the age of 91, leaving behind a body of work that eclipses the idea of “productivity” itself. It’s not just that Morricone composed thousands of hours of music for hundreds of movies. It’s that he managed to create so many original, indelible moments over and over again, in such a broad variety of genres for so long, without acquiescing to repetition or compromising his creativity. The last, best comfort to take in his absence is the thrilling—and rather intimidating—volume of music he left for us to revisit and, more likely, discover while celebrating his legacy in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

In spite of his seemingly constant presence in the film industry for more than 70 years, there are many details about Morricone's life and career that even longtime fans may not know. In honoring the man and the artist, we’ve collected a handful of facts and figures about the Oscar-winning composer and his vast, incredible, and unforgettable body of work.

1. Ennio Morricone made music for 85 of his 91 years.

Ennio Morricone was encouraged to develop his natural musical abilities at a young age—he created his first compositions at age 6. He was taught music by his father and learned several instruments, but gravitated toward the trumpet. When he was just 12 years old, Morricone enrolled in a four-year program at the prestigious National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome, where he was born, and completed his studies within six months.

2. Ennio Morricone's career primarily focused on film, television, and radio compositions, but he also worked in popular music.

Morricone’s professional career began in 1950 as an arranger for jazz and pop artists. He helped compose hits for a diverse slate of stars including Nora Orlandi, Mina, Françoise Hardy, Mireille Mathieu, and Paul Anka, whose song “Ogni Volta” (“Every Time”) sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Morricone later worked with Pet Shop Boys, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, and Sting. From 1964 to 1980, he was also part of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Consonanza (or “The Group”), an ensemble focused on avant-garde improvisations. Although it was reissued a few years ago, original copies of their 1970 album The Feed-back once fetched as much as $1000 on the collector’s market.

3. Ennio Morricone hit the ground running as a composer—and never slowed down.

Many of Morricone’s first efforts in the movies were as an orchestrator for more established composers, but he quickly joined their ranks. Between 1955 and 1964, when he created his breakthrough score for A Fistful of Dollars, he either orchestrated or composed (or both in some cases) some 28 film scores. During this time, he was already working with Michelangelo Antonioni (L’Avventura), Vittorio De Sica (The Last Judgment), Lucio Fulci (twice!), Lina Wertmüller (I basilischi), and Bernardo Bertolucci (Before the Revolution).

4. Ennio Morricone helped turn A Fistful of Dollars into a worldwide classic.

When Sergio Leone hired Morricone for his first Western, he’d already embarked on an iconoclastic journey, referencing Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Leone’s initial “concession” was to evoke Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo in its music. Morricone combined ideas from Tiomkin’s music with an arrangement of folk singer Peter Tevis’s cover of the Woody Guthrie song “Pastures of Plenty” to create what became the opening title theme. The music won the Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and forged a longtime partnership between Morricone and Leone.

5. During their heyday, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone worked in a way that was virtually unprecedented outside of musicals.

The music in Leone’s films is at once one of their most distinctive features, and also one of their most inextricable. Later in his career, Morricone explained that he would often compose portions of the music for Leone’s films before shooting began, and then scenes were staged and shot to match the timing and rhythm of the composer’s music. “That’s why the films are so slow,” Morricone joked in 2007. His use of so many then-unconventional instruments, including electric guitars, the mouth harp, and sound effects like gunshots redefined the musical landscape of the genre, while Leone razed its traditional morality tales to explore darker, more complex stories.

6. A Fistful Of Dollars spawned a lifetime of awards.

Morricone won his only competitive Oscar just four years ago, and had previously received an honorary Oscar in 2007. But after that recognition from the Italian National Syndicate of Journalists, he racked up hundreds of nominations and awards from the Motion Picture Academy (five other nominations), the American Film Institute (four), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (six nominations, three wins), the Grammys (five nominations and four awards including their Grammy Hall of Fame and Trustees Award), and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (a Career Achievement award and a win for his score for Once Upon a Time in America). Somewhat predictably, much of the work he did in “genre” films, even the acclaimed “Spaghetti Westerns,” was marginalized at the time, but went on to be appropriately recognized and reevaluated for its impact and artistry.

7. Ennio Morricone was both a critical and a commercial success.

Morricone's work with Leone raised his profile as a formidable collaborator for filmmakers and gave him worldwide chart success. His score for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sold more than 2 million copies, and the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time In The West, his fourth collaboration with Leone, sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It remains one of the top five best-selling instrumental scores in the world today. To date, Morricone has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

8. Ennio Morricone’s partnership with Sergio Leone was exemplary, but he wasn’t the composer’s only frequent collaborator.

From A Fistful of Dollars to Once Upon a Time in America, Leone’s final film, he and Morricone always worked together. While working primarily in Italy, he often teamed up with Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento, among others. After being courted by Hollywood, Morricone began developing long-term partnerships with American and international filmmakers like Brian De Palma, Warren Beatty, Samuel Fuller, and Roland Joffe. By the late 1970s, he was working with John Boorman and Terrence Malick, and by the 1980s and ‘90s, he was regularly collaborating with John Carpenter, Barry Levinson, George Miller, and Pedro Almodóvar.

Beginning in 1988, Morricone began working with Giuseppe Tornatore on the Oscar-winning Italian film Cinema Paradiso, and subsequently worked on all of Tornatore's other films, including 2016’s The Correspondence and the director's commercials for Dolce & Gabbana.

9. Quentin Tarantino championed Ennio Morricone’s work even before the two of them ever worked together.

Quentin Tarantino’s films are always an exciting pastiche of past and present influences, and he has used cues from Morricone scores in many of his films, beginning with Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2. Tarantino first hoped to work with the composer on Inglorious Basterds, but when the timing couldn’t be worked out, the filmmaker utilized eight older tracks by Morricone on the soundtrack.

Morricone composed the song “Ancora Qui” for Django Unchained, but it wasn’t until The Hateful Eight that he composed a full score for Tarantino, who still used archival tracks—namely, some unreleased cues from his score for John Carpenter’s The Thing—to expand the film’s musical backdrop. In 2016, Morricone won his first competitive Oscar for his work on Tarantino's film after being nominated six times over the course of nearly 40 years. Morricone also earned an Honorary Oscar in 2007 "For his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."

10. Morricone’s discography remains an embarrassment of riches—at least, whatever’s left of it.

Though the extent of the loss hasn’t been reported, Morricone’s was among the work reportedly destroyed in the 2008 fire on the Universal backlot where the company’s Music Group stored original recording and master tapes from some of the world’s best-selling artists. But Morricone recorded more than 400 film scores throughout his career and more than 100 classical pieces, not counting the thousands of pieces licensed for use. More and more of them have been restored and re-released digitally, on CD and vinyl. Meanwhile, his work continues to elicit as strong reactions from moviegoers as the images they were originally written to accompany.

Yo-Yo Ma released an album of performances of Morricone pieces in 2004 that sold more than 130,000 copies. His work tested and redefined the boundaries of film composition, what instruments could be used, and how music and imagery could work together to tell stories and generate powerful feelings. And each listen of those recordings, whether of transgressive experimentation, pointed drama, or lush sentimentality, honors Morricone's enormous talent and evokes his irreplaceable spirit.