Since we seemingly live in the age of prequels, reboots, adaptations, and spinoffs, it makes sense that Disney decided to reopen the universe of one of cinema’s most beloved films of all time and release Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel to the classic The Wizard of Oz that tells the story of how a bumbling magician ended up becoming the all powerful wizard. Though Oz’s reviews were nowhere near as close to that of the original, the film still killed it at the box office, grossing $80 million on opening weekend, easily the highest debut of 2013. Clearly, prequels are box office gold, though some (X-Men: First Class, The Hobbit) end up a lot better than others (cough, Star Wars: Episodes I-III). With Oz currently bringing magic to the box office, we got to thinking about which beloved films deserve a second look and a trip back in time to see where it all began. Without further ado, here are 10 prequels we’re dying to see:
Movie: Mean Girls
Desired Prequel: Mean Girls: The Rise of Regina George
Why It Needs a Prequel: Tina Fey’s bitingly clever story about high school cliques has impressively stood the test of time. Can you believe it’s almost ten years old? Although some might be hesitant about touching such a modern classic, I think we’re all in need of another “Four for you, Glenn Coco!” As an added bonus, a Mean Girls prequel would be a blessing for Lindsay Lohan, who’s been floundering pretty much since the movie first came out (I mean, did you see Liz & Dick?)
What Could Happen: We could see the origin story of Regina George, as she enters high school as a lowly freshman and gradually steps on friends and enemies on her way to Queen Bee status.
Movie: Gangs of New York
Desired Prequel: The Butcher
Why It Needs a Prequel: Although critics and audiences have had varied opinions on this Martin Scorsese film (which almost never happens for a Scorsese movie), everyone agreed that Daniel Day-Lewis created an original and dynamic villain in Bill the Butcher. The Butcher deserves his own prequel, if only to allow Day-Lewis the opportunity for a historical fourth Best Actor win.
What Could Happen: Similar to the violent ascension of Regina George, Bill would begin as a street urchin in the slums of nineteenth century New York City but rise to become one of the city’s most feared mobsters.
Movie: The Hunger Games
Desired Prequel: Panem Rising
Why It Needs a Prequel: I know, I know – they haven’t even finished making the trilogy yet. But aren’t you a little bit interested in how the apocalypse came about? Nuclear war, a deadly plague, or maybe aliens? I imagine a movie with the same dark tone as THG but that would be the only similarity. It shouldn’t include any already known characters except for President Snow.
What Could Happen: This one’s a little harder to predict. Author Suzanne Collins might have some insight into what disaster forced the creation of Panem and its many districts. It could center on President Snow as a child of the apocalypse. We’d see how someone who grew up in a chaotic world managed to twist it all to his advantage.
Desired Prequel: Extraction
Why It Needs a Prequel: The Dream Team in Christopher Nolan’s Inception consisted of Leo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hardy. In the movie, these guys seemed like they’d been invading people’s dreams together for a long time and I want to see where they came from. This was supposedly their last job, so what about all of the previous ones? Besides, Nolan’s mind-bending thriller was very DiCaprio-centric and Gordon-Levitt and Hardy need an outlet to develop their back-stories and hilarious, one-upping bromance.
What Could Happen: DiCaprio, Gordon-Levitt, and Hardy attend an underground “extractor” school, learning to steal secrets from the dreams of unsuspecting sleeping targets. At first, they bump heads (as the incredibly intelligent and slightly arrogant often do) but they soon become best buds. As they advance beyond the lessons of their mentors and begin experimenting with this new concept of “inception”, they put their lives and the lives of those they love in danger (romance is always required when these actors are involved).
Movie: Back to the Future
Desired Prequel: Doc
Why It Needs a Prequel: Although this classic eighties time traveling movie may be a little dated, I still think nostalgic fans would flock to another adventure with Marty McFly and Doc. The unlikely friendship between the young kid and the slightly kooky scientist was the heart of the trilogy, so perhaps a prequel could further explore that relationship, including the reason they became friends.
What Could Happen: An awkward teenage Emmett Brown (Doc) voyages on his first time travel adventure to the 1980s. His ship breaks down and he is forced to attend high school (coincidentally, where Marty McFly attends) while he fixes it. The two strike up a friendship after Marty saves Doc from a group of bullies and the rest is history.
Movie: The Incredibles
Desired Prequel: The Supers
Why It Needs a Prequel: Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone were some kick-ass characters that only the masterminds at Pixar could’ve created. How awesome would it be to experience some of the other superheroes featured in the mini prequel at the beginning of The Incredibles? They could introduce other heroes like Thunderhead, the dolt who got his cape caught on a missile. And of course, Edna Mode would have to make an appearance.
What Could Happen: A young and arrogant Mr. Incredible is at the top of his game, defeating villains and wooing beautiful women with one hand tied behind his back. That is until an elusive and mysterious new superhero emerges, known as Elastigirl, who threatens his top dog status. Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and their many superhero friends have to work together to defeat an insane Soviet scientist who wants to release a killer strain of smallpox.
Movie: The Avengers
Desired Prequel: Hawkeye / Black Widow
Why It Needs a Prequel: Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor were all treated to big blockbuster origin stories. But what about Hawkeye and Black Widow, arguably two of the most interesting members of the Avengers? I’ll admit, I know little to nothing about the comics, but the movie hinted at quite a lot of history between the two, and the vulnerable human emotions Johansson and Renner showed throughout The Avengers really made me want to see more of their characters and how they felt about being upped by more flashy heroes. Neither Hawkeye or Black Widow have superhuman powers, so this would be an element of heroism that hadn’t been explored in the other movies. Plus, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson have fabulous chemistry, as evidenced by their many adorable interviews together.
What Could Happen: Obviously, a prequel would have to stick close to the comics to appease the fans. But it shouldn’t be a purely romance movie. Their close bond and friendship also needs to be prevalent.
Movie: Django Unchained
Desired Prequel: Schultz
Why It Needs a Prequel: Quentin Tarantino’s brainchild has some fascinating characters, but Christoph Waltz’s bounty hunter was the most captivating (sorry Leo – you’ll get that Oscar someday). But how did Dr. King Schultz transition from dentist to ruthless bounty hunter? And if Michael Fassbender joined the cast as Waltz’s brother, I wouldn’t protest.
What Could Happen: Waltz and Fassbender grow up in rural Germany, spending their days eating schnitzel and running through the fields in their lederhosen. As the eldest brother, Waltz is trained to take over his father’s dentistry. As a young and successful dentist, Waltz meets the love of his life and the three travel to America for a holiday. Unexpectedly, Waltz’s wife is murdered by a ruthless bandit and Waltz vows revenge, becoming a bounty hunter and traversing the American Wild West.
Those are our picks, what are yours? Are you dying to see these prequels as much as we are? Sound off below
Article by Liz Isenberg