You’ve heard of sequels that were almost made and sequels you didn’t know about. But what about movies that could have been sequels — as in, they started out that way but morphed into something else along the way? We did a little searching and found out that at least six of such flicks actually exist. They are:
A Sequel To: Cliffhanger
The Story Behind It: The original Cliffhanger 2 would have found Sylvester Stallone’s character from the first film helping to block up a dam. On the heels of the film, Stallone noted that plans for said sequel died with Daylight because the plots were too similar. (In Daylight, Stallone is in a collapsed tunnel, where he puts himself at risk to get others to safety. Yeah, that’s a little too similar.)
A Sequel To: Seven
The Story Behind It: In a remarkably rotten, only-in-Hollywood idea, the producers of the original serial killer thriller originally wanted to give Morgan Freeman’s character clairvoyant powers and have him chase after another serial killer following the devastating events of the first film. While the movie is still being made, it is no longer a sequel to Seven. Instead, it’s called Solace, and it stars Anthony Hopkins in the role that would have gone to Freeman. It’s in post-production now. Watch for it next year.
A Sequel To: Leon: The Professional
The Story Behind It: Colombiana was originally meant to follow the further adventures of Mathilda from Luc Besson’s The Professional (or Leon: The Professional). The 12-year-old Natalie Portman’s career took a different path, however, and the vehicle crashed into the backyard of Zoe Saldana. Not a bad consolation prize.
4. Die Hard
A Sequel To: The Detective
The Story Behind It: In 1968, singer-actor Frank Sinatra played the lead role in The Detective, a film based on a novel by Roderick Thorp. Thorp followed his novel with a sequel entitled Nothing Lasts Forever. It was this book on which the original Die Hard film was based. Since Sinatra had a right of first refusal to star in any sequels to The Detective, the then-73-year-old was the first to be offered the Die Hard role. Luckily, that didn’t work out. We love Ol’ Blue Eyes, but just can’t see him hanging off the side of an exploding building.
A Sequel To: Blade Runner
Sorry, it’s “side-quel.” David Webb Peoples, the writer of this 1998 sci-fi actioner, also penned the screenplay for Blade Runner in 1982. The two films are linked by a thread, taking place in the same cinematic universe and using the same vehicles — called “spinners” — from the previous film. While Peoples coined the new term quoted above in order to link the two films, some fans believe them to be actual sequels. Sketchy, yes, but worth mentioning.
A Sequel To: Rocky IV
Rocky IV is the only film in the entire series that is silly enough for this to make sense. Around the time Rocky IV was released to theaters, a joke was making the rounds that Balboa would have to start getting his opponents from another planet since he’d kicked nearly every butt there was to kick after offing Ivan Drago. Two writers — Jim and John Thomas — took this hair-brained idea and ran with it, writing a very serious sequel entitled Hunter. That script would become Predator. Hopefully, one day someone will shoot the original script with Rock-O in the lead role.