Most movie storylines have to begin somewhere. Usually when a major hit film turns into a franchise due box office success, some movies milk the sequel line and begin to run out of ideas. So where do you go from there? Back to the beginning, Prequel movies can be based on an origin story, or a side story which links up to the main first film in one form or another.
Sometimes though, the movie would be given a title name that appears as a sequel, which can be misleading. Here’s a few flicks which you may not have known that it was a prequel… or maybe you do.
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)
Prequel to: Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
When Directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had a huge hit on their hands with ROTLA, a sequel was a must-have on their hands. However, Lucas didn’t have another story on the cards and both wanted to steer away from the Nazis being the villians again. So they made a demonic hindu priest as the bad dude and set it in the past, away from the build-up of the World War II that was going to develop (see Last Crusade).
But being a prequel, it doesn’t explain why Indiana’s sidekick Shorty didn’t hang around… (also note: a quick origin story is in Last Crusade, but it was only a hint…)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Prequel to: Iron Man (2008)
Hints were dropped during the two Iron Man movies starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, the son of Howard Stark, who created Stark Industries. We only see Howard in flashbacks in Iron Man and Iron Man 2, but his appearance at the World’s Fair in Captain America, where our hero Steve Rogers first encounters him. With Captain America set in 1942, it is revealed that Stark Industries are the ones who have developed the Super Soilder Project which Rogers becomes apart of, and develops a friendship with Tony’s Dad.
Skip to the Iron Man films, and bits and pieces referencing Captain America (such as his shield) appear in the films. Trippy, hey?
The Scorpion King (2002)
Prequel to: The Mummy Returns (2001)
With no intensions of seeing a fourth Indiana Jones film at the time, Brendan Fraser was employed to see another film studio’s interpretation of Indy. The sequel to the 1999 hit The Mummy, The Mummy Returns was based on The Scorpion King (played by Dwayne Johnson) as the bad guy, being imprisoned for thousands of centuries until Rick O’Connell (Fraser) wakes up both The Mummy from the first film again and The Scorpion King.
We’re introduced to Scorpion at the start of the film, speaking in his 5.000 year old native tongue, then we don’t see him again until at the end of the film, being purely CGI and only coming out with grunts and gurgles. Due to the popularity of the character, a 2002 spin-off prequel was made, basing it on Scorpion back in the day when he was alive and oh-so-powerful. Also, talking in pure English.
While the film was a comfortable hit, two extra sequels to The Scorpion King went direct-to-DVD, turning the Mummy/Scorpion film series into a cashable franchise. Even though the third film of The Mummy is based on The Dragon Emperor, The Scorpion King II and III are not related to it.
Final Destination 5 (2011)
Prequel to: Final Destination (2001)
While the entire Final Destination films had the same concept end referenced flight 180 in one form or another to the original film, the series was growing dire when the fourth film was released as “The Final Destination“, saying it was completely the last one. Two years later, Final Destination 5 was out at the cinemas.
Oh great, another sequel! But here’s the clever part – this film was not marketed as a prequel, and made the viewer think it was a sequel by labelling it as the fifth film. It appears as a sequel, the storyline continues as a sequel, but it is not until the last few minutes of the film, it reveals that it is a prequel. This was done by latching onto the airport scene where Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has his vision while he’s on the plane, then breaks out a fight with Carter Horton (Kerr Smith). The characters from Final Destination 5 are on the same plane, but sitting opposite and slightly further down the aisle from the fight, so you’re seeing it in a passenger point of view. Then naturally, the plane goes through its sequence and blows up like it did in the first film, but we get an on board perspective, in which we never originally did in the first place. Very clever.
Just try not and get confused with film series that go First Film – Sequel – Prequel – Prequel to Prequel, OR First Film – Sequel – Sequel – Prequel to Sequel – Sequel to Prequel. Hannibal and The Fast & The Furious, I’m looking at you guys.