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Movie prequels we actually want to see

Movie prequels have been around for awhile. There was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1965, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days in 1979, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984. But it wasn't really until Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace in 1999 that prequels truly became a commonplace way to "continue" a story. 

There's one glaring problem — we don't want to see most movie prequels. Prequels can kill the mystery. If we were meant to see a character's backstory, wouldn't filmmakers have included it in the first movie? There's also an inherent lack of drama. We know the character has to live long enough to make it to the "first" film. Worst of all, there's the risk of "pre-retconning," as learning new details about a character's origin can change or even ruin their future adventures. 

That said, prequels offer an opportunity to get a richer view of our favorite characters and give them "new" adventures. For characters who arrive on screen fully formed, these films give us the chance to see how they became the way they are. They can also give popular supporting characters the chance to shine in their own movies. There's a lot of potential with prequels but only with the right characters and stories. Who are these characters? What are the stories? Here are the movie prequels we actually want to see!

We want a prequel with Leia as a warrior princess

What if they made a Star Wars movie, and nobody cared? The thought was unthinkable until Solo: A Star Wars Story became the first Star Wars movie in 40+ years to bomb. Nobody wanted to see Solo, but there's lots of love for Star Wars prequels. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story earned $1 billion worldwide, while Episodes I—III nabbed about $2.5 billion worldwide, despite being basically unwatchable. (Seriously, have you tried to watch them again? Yikes!) Also, The Mandalorian was a huge hit on Disney+ (Baby Yoda may have had something to do with that), while the numerous animated series have been awesome. So yeah, we're down for origin stories ... just not Solo

The one we really want to see? Princess Leia: A Star Wars Story! Make it a movie or TV show, we don't care. We're definitely not the only ones either. According to a poll by Morning Consult, Leia is actually the fans' favorite character. There's so much narrative potential, too. We'd love to see a story of how an orphaned young princess learns the ropes of being a royal and navigates the court politics on Alderaan, only to transform into a leader of the rebellion and take on the Empire. But who could possibly replace the late Carrie Fisher? Nobody. That said, her daughter Billie Lourd would do great (despite being older than Fisher was at the time of A New Hope).

Godzilla's blast from the past!

Before the MonsterVerse was even announced, all we knew was there would be a new Godzilla movie, and the trailer looked awesome. Alas, most of the MonsterVerse's ideas have just been retreads from the original Toho series but done with multimillion-dollar, Hollywood special effects. Hey, we're not complaining, but some of the new ideas the franchise has flirted with make us want so much more. Case in point? The revelation in Godzilla that the atomic bomb tests in the Pacific in the 1950s weren't tests at all but an attempt to kill a giant aquatic monster. Uh okay, you have our attention. 

So why not make a movie about it? Follow a World War II vet called back into service for a "secret mission" he knows nothing about, only to discover it's to kill a 320-foot radioactive monster. Or maybe it's about a group of scientists who secretly come together to devise a way to destroy this mysterious threat? Kinda like the TV show Manhattan ... but with Godzilla! Why not go back even further? We learned in Godzilla: King of the Monsters that ancient civilizations (a la Atlantis) worshiped the Titans. Rome meets Godzilla? We're so there! When your main character is nearly 300 million years old, there are lots of stories out there.

A Jurassic Park prequel could show the man behind the mayhem

We first meet John Hammond at the start of Jurassic Park as an avuncular, playful old fellow who seems more like a jolly elf than the mastermind of a multimillion-dollar enterprise to revive extinct species using genetic engineering. And there was a reason the late Sir Richard Attenborough played both Hammond and then Santa Claus one year later in Miracle On 34th Street — the dude just feels like a grandpa. But John Hammond wasn't always a jovial old man. You don't get to be a billionaire who owns a Costa Rican island and funds complicated (and ethically dubious) genetic experiments by giving out candy to kids. 

So the question is ... how did Hammond become Hammond? We got some idea of Hammond's origins in Jurassic Park when he told Dr. Ellie Sattler that he had a flea circus. We also know from the start of the movie that he was funding Dr. Alan Grant's research. We doubt that in the years between he made his billions by tricking credulous children into believing they're seeing fleas. We did learn in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that Hammond partnered with Sir Benjamin Lockwood in founding InGen before they had a falling out due to Lockwood's desire to clone humans. Now that would be an awesome movie! Only question is, could a Jurassic Park movie work without dinosaurs? We bet this one could.

How did Henry Jones Jr. become Indiana Jones?

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas famously saw Indiana Jones as their answer to James Bond. However, while there have been 26 James Bond movies since 1962, there have been only four Indiana Jones movies since 1981. While we're glad there are some Indiana Jones movies that never happened (Indiana Jones and the Monkey King ... you read that right), it's still disappointing there haven't been more films featuring our favorite globe-trotting, Nazi-fighting, adventurous archaeologist. There's certainly a lot of material to draw from, with plenty of Indiana Jones novels and comics, as well as The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series, but still, we've only got four canonical films. 

In other words, we'd be down for any Indy prequels. Like, give us a young Indiana Jones in a period set before Temple of Doom. Or how about some stories covering his adventures in between The Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Heck, it doesn't even have to be an adventure. We'd be down for watching an academic drama about a young Henry Jones Jr. in grad school. Sorta like The Paper Chase but with an aviator jacket and fedora. Call us nerds, but we'd be interested in knowing what Indiana Jones doctoral thesis was about too.

We want to see Wakanda's history with a Black Panther prequel

Black Panther is the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time after The Avengers series, so there's definitely love for the Panther King. But while T'Challa is the most well-known Black Panther, he was far from the first. We learn from the Academy Award-nominated film that the title of "Black Panther" is passed down like royal lineage. Basically when you become king of Wakanda, you get a crown, a throne, and a shiny new cat suit made of the make-believe metal vibranium. 

So how far back does this lineage go? The movie doesn't say specifically, only that it was centuries ago. According to the comics it was actually 1,000,000 B.C. that vibranium was discovered and the Black Panther was born. The first Black Panther joined the Stone Age Avengers to battle a Celestial known as "the Fallen." So yeah, that sounds pretty awesome. There's also the story of T'Challa's ancestor, Bashenga, the founder of Wakanda. So Wakandan history is rich with storyline potential (approximately one million years' worth). Though honestly, we'd be down seeing a story about T'Challa's childhood and teen years. Given the prestige of the franchise, whatever the movie is, it'll be good and definitely make a ton of money.

Tony Stark: Boy Genius

Iron Man is the centerpiece of his own $2.4 billion series and the $7.5 billion Avengers franchise, and he's been in ten MCU movies. So you're probably thinking, do we really need another Iron Man movie? Yes, yes we do. Granted, that might be hard since he (spoiler alert for the most popular movie ever) died in Avengers: Endgame. But we're not suggesting another Iron Man movie. We'd like to see a Tony Stark movie. 

Based on what we know from the MCU, Tony Stark was even more interesting before he was Iron Man. Tony designed a circuit board when he was four and a V8 motorbike engine at seven. At 14, he hacked into the Pentagon, and he was admitted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at an age when most teens are learning to drive. In college, he met the future War Machine, James Rhodes, and graduated summa cum laude at 17. When his parents were murdered when he was 21 by the Winter Soldier (which he didn't discover for decades), he took over Stark Industries and became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history. 

So yeah it's a lot. We'd love to see a young Tony Stark movie in the style of The Social Network or about his years of cold-blooded corporate leadership before he became Iron Man, a la Billions. Maybe this is the movie that lures Robert Downey Jr. (with age-erasing CGI in the style of The Irishman) back into the MCU.

Where did Jumanji come from?

The Jumanji franchise has had a pretty epic run at the box office, earning $849 million domestic and just over $2 billion worldwide with just four films (Zathura is technically part of the franchise). Jumanji is based on the 1981 children's book by Chris Van Allsburg and was adapted into the beloved 1995 film starring Robin Williams, but it took a totally unexpected turn in 2017, becoming the kind of action-comedy hybrid in which new franchise-lead Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson excels. 

The Jumanji series has always been looking forward, but we'd love to take a trip back in time. The mysterious, mystical board game first appears in a prologue set in 1869 in New England in which two boys bury the board game in the ground. Flash forward a century later, and Alan Parrish's story begins ... but what about those 19th-century boys? What happened that terrified them so much they had to bury the cursed contraption so that nobody could ever find it? We can probably imagine, but it would still be cool to see on the screen. For that matter, those kids probably weren't the first people to play the game. Just how old is it? Admittedly, the mysterious nature of Jumanji's origins is part of the fun, but we're still a little curious to know how a cursed, magical board game that transports you into a fantasy African jungle came to be.

An Escape from New York prequel would be crazy

During his peak, John Carpenter was on another level, but Escape From New York may be his most creative contribution to cinema. Set in the not-too-distant future (and now distant past) of 1997, Air Force One crash-lands in the penal colony that used to be the island of Manhattan. The president is taken hostage by the Duke of New York and can only be saved by one man with one eye — former Special Forces soldier Snake Plissken.

As you can tell, there's a lot of backstory before we even get to the main plot of the film. Such is the case with science fiction movies set in an imaginary future in our world. So for starters, we're told that Manhattan became a maximum security prison following a 400% increase in crime in 1988. So that sounds like a pretty sweet movie. Maybe an urban crime war a la the final battle in The Dark Knight Rises, where law enforcement essentially abandons the island and turns it into a prison. We'd watch that. Also, we're told that Snake Plissken used to be a Special Forces soldier, until he went rogue and robbed the Federal Reserve. That's another movie right there. For that matter, we'd love to see how Snake lost his left eye, though hopefully it's more impressive than how Nick Fury lost his in Captain Marvel.

Captain Quint: A Fisherman's Tale

The shark in Jaws is a pretty great analogy for the movie's impact on our culture. It came out of nowhere, made huge waves, and nothing has ever been the same since. A series of precipitously declining sequels followed (Jaws 3D has a 10% Tomatometer ranking, while Jaws: The Revenge has 0%), leaving most moviegoers wishing the big fish would just stay underwater. So no, we don't want to see another Jaws movie ... but Quint on the other hand? 

We know from one of the most famous scenes in the movie (and one of the most famous monologues ever) that Quint served aboard the USS Indianapolis in the Pacific during World War II. A Japanese submarine sank the Indianapolis, sending 1,200 crewmen into the sea as prey for hungry sharks. Quint was one of only 300 men to survive, and he moved to Amity Island to make shark hunting his sole pursuit. That'd be a pretty fin-tastic movie (sorry, not sorry). While the part of Captain Sam Quint was originally intended for Lee Marvin, we can't imagine any other actor doing justice to the salty, sea-farin', shark-huntin', captain of the Orca like Robert Shaw. That said, hire Christian Bale or Tom Hardy as a young Quint, and we'll be there opening night.

How did Kurtz go crazy?

Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest war movies of all time ... and was the most difficult shoot in the history of cinema. One big reason for that (literally) was its rotund star, Marlon Brando, who was cast as a buff-and-cut Colonel Kurtz who'd been living for years in the jungle. Of course, Brando showed up grossly overweight. But hey, when you're Marlon Brando, you can do what you want, right? 

Still, we'd like to see a prequel more consistent with the original vision. Based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now is about an Army unit sent from Vietnam deep into the jungles of Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Special Forces officer accused of murder and who's believed to be insane, the aforementioned Colonel Kurtz. Despite Brando's top billing, Kurtz doesn't show up until the final act. We'd love to see a film that charts Kurtz rise. Maybe go all the way back to his early days in the army, his entry into the Special Forces, his eventual disillusionment with the Vietnam War, and his final descent into murder, madness, and the bowels of the jungle. What caused Kurtz to go insane? Was it just a single event or a series of misfortunes? How did he go from an Army officer to a virtual demigod over a native tribe? While it may not be the best war movie ever like Apocalypse Now, it has the potential to be great.

Inception Begins

Inception was one of Christopher Nolan's most thematically ambitious blockbusters, and it paid off big time with $292 million domestic and $829 million worldwide box office. However, while the movie does have some pretty crazy ideas, when you get down to it, Inception is basically a standard heist movie. You have your team of experts, your treasure they want to steal, and some obstacles along the way. You also have the traditional "old pro on his last job" setup with Leonardo DiCaprio's Dominick Cobb. 

But a character being on his last job implies that he was on other jobs. What were they? You could make a whole series of prequel movies based on Cobb's previous adventures. How did he get involved in extraction in the first place? How did he meet his late wife, Mal? What did Cobb do to upset that team of terrorists that was chasing after him? There are lots of stories there. Even better? Who came up with the experimental military technology in the first place? Was it Michael Caine's character, Professor Stephen Miles? Inception purposefully left us with lots of unanswered questions, and while Nolan left them out for a reason, we'd still love to have answers. Maybe call it Inception Begins? Actually, don't. We don't know who planted that idea in our heads.

A First Blood prequel could show us the origins of Rambo

In David Morrell's 1972 novel First Blood, John Rambo dies. That obviously didn't happen in the 1982 movie adaptation, given there have been five Rambo movies and counting. (There could've been even more, including one where John Rambo battles a mutant monster in the Pacific Northwest.) However, Rambo wasn't always the cinematic standard bearer for "over-the-top, shoot-em-up, one-man-army action movie." It's easy to forget based on the sequels it spawned, but First Blood has an 85% Tomatometer ranking, and it's actually a good movie. It's a dark, thoughtful, and poignant thriller that reminded the world that Sylvester Stallone can act. 

We'd like the series to go back to that place. We know from First Blood that John Rambo was a Green Beret who fought in the Vietnam War, and he was captured and tortured by the VietCong. So basically The Deer Hunter but with longer hair. And like The Deer Hunter, that could be a really compelling, heartbreaking movie. How did a kid named John become a killer named Rambo? What was his training under Colonel Trautman like? All of these are questions we'd love to see answered. Until then, we're happy to keep watching Stallone blow stuff up real good.