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16 Long-Anticipated Sequels That Were Totally Worth The Wait

April 15, 2021 711 votes 101 voters 1.8k views16 items

List RulesVote up the sequels that were worth the long delay.

Revisiting a franchise after many years - even decades - have passed can be a scary thing. Sequels are hard enough already, let alone situations in which years separate the first film's original magic from the next installments. It's hard for studio executives, as well, as they have to decide whether or not there's still interest in a property that hasn't been touched in years. Yet, even with all the obstacles, sometimes it works out. 

There are examples throughout cinematic history of filmmakers revisiting a franchise decades later and the resulting film being just as good as the original. Sometimes the original writer, director, or actors return and bring with them the original chemistry. Other times a fan of the original gets a chance to breathe new life into the franchise with their own installment. Now, it's time to decide which franchise revisits did it best.

  • How Long Was The Wait? The Mad Max franchise began with Mad Max in 1980. The next five years brought two more Mad Max movies, but the series was dormant for 30 years after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Then, Mad Max: Fury Road arrived in 2015, directed by the original mastermind, George Miller, ending the three-decade wait.

    Why Were We Waiting? Fans wanted the franchise to continue ever since the third film's release, but a series of difficulties prevented the fourth installment from being shot for decades.

    Why Was It Worth It? The film received 10 Oscar nominations and the respect of Miller's peers. Notable director Edgar Wright called the film his favorite action movie of all time. The film was an incredible feat of craftsmanship built basically entirely on action, while still having depth and meaning.

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  • How Long Was The Wait? Blade Runner 2049 was released in 2017, 35 years after the original Blade Runner in 1982. 

    Why Were We Waiting? Blade Runner is a classic Harrison Ford sci-fi film. Like so many of Ford's most beloved films, there was a rabid cult following for it that wanted more material - and more from the dystopian world Ridley Scott created.

    Why Was It Worth It? Variety argued that not only would Blade Runner 2049 delight fans of the franchise, but new viewers might actually enjoy it more than the original. This installment of the franchise tapped the acclaimed director of Arrival, Denis Villeneuve, to take over behind the camera. Villeneuve brought his unique talents to the film and created a blockbuster unlike anything else likely to be found on modern screens, while staying true to the franchise and bringing back the singular talent that is Harrison Ford.

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  • How Long Was The Wait? Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, 11 years after Toy Story 2 in 1999.

    Why Were We Waiting? Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-generated animated film created by the now-legendary Pixar. The film was a masterpiece and was followed up by Toy Story 2 a few years later. The characters were beloved, and fans obviously wanted more. However, Pixar doesn't put out films it isn't proud of, and thus fans had to wait over a decade for the release of the third installment. 

    Why Was It Worth It? Toy Story 3 not only gave fans what they loved about the original films, but also added the emotional weight of Andy, the toys' owner, growing up and heading off the college. The movie managed to simultaneously play to current children, as well as children who had grown up since the original film's release.

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  • How Long Was The Wait? The Rescuers was released in 1977; 13 years later, it was followed up by The Rescuers Down Under in 1990. 

    Why Were We Waiting? The 1980s weren't exactly the strongest years for Disney - especially the early years of the decade - and by 1990, The Rescuers had been one of the company's more successful films in recent memory. So, Disney returned to the franchise and made The Rescuers Down Under.

    Why Was It Worth It? The film was fun and heartwarming and, as Roger Ebert put it, featured action sequences that "create an exhilaration and freedom that are liberating."

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