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Will There Be A Hereditary 2?

Hereditary is the kind of horror film that truly gets under people's skin. While director Ari Aster previously said his aim in making it was "to upset the audience in a very deep way," people can't seem to get enough of the Toni Collette-led flick – still obsessively processing its themes and deeply disturbing ending years after its release. Beyond dissecting the true meaning of Hereditary and combing through each scene to find hidden clues that foreshadow events that take place later on in the film, fans have pondered what might become of the characters at the center of Hereditary's story. 

On some Reddit forums, fans have openly wondered if there will be a Hereditary sequel that might further clarify the events of the film's final scene. So, will we ever get to see an official Hereditary 2? Let's dive in and discuss.

Hereditary's troubling ending is intentionally open-ended

Hereditary drops you into the middle of a story about a family in mourning — without much description about what happened in the past, or what's going to happen in the future. The film follows Annie Graham (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), and their children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) as they process the death of Annie's mother and the underlying, unaddressed trauma at the heart of their household. 

Before it veers into horror territory, Hereditary is predominantly a family drama, with off-putting supernatural elements slowly finding their way into the narrative. Annie is reminded of her mother everywhere, even starting to see apparitions of her around the house. The family soon finds itself in the throes of another tragedy that brings out Annie's dark side and raises the question of the way our parents continue to affect our lives long after they're gone.

With an ending that spirals into ritualistic chaos surrounding the cult-like worship of the demonic god Paimon, Hereditary leaves viewers wondering what the hell just happened as the credits roll. It's a question that's still on people's minds to this day, as many seek to resolve the issues that the film left unanswered.

Hereditary's ending is one of the major reasons why people are hoping for a legitimate sequel that clears things up, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen, as the film's director wanted to leave things open-ended. "The big pitch was, 'I'm making a film about a possession ritual from the perspective of the sacrificial lambs.' That's what the film is meant to be doing. So we only learn what they piece together," Aster told Film Comment's Michael Koresky in May 2018. "And then there's a little extra at the very end being delivered to this empty vessel that we were invested in before he was emptied out."

The chances of Aster making a Hereditary sequel — or a prequel, for that matter — that packages everything up neatly is unlikely, since the director may not entirely know how to do that himself, or even want to. As they say, some things are better left unsaid.

Midsommar is probably the closest we'll get to a Hereditary sequel

When it was announced in 2018 that Aster would be releasing a second horror film with studio A24 in 2019, the possibility that the project could be a companion film to Hereditary crossed many people's minds. The film in question wound up being Midsommar, the set-in-broad-daylight horror feature that took the world by storm. While Midsommar isn't a direct sequel to Hereditary, it is a companion movie, according to Aster himself. 

"The film is something of a companion to Hereditary, although the similarities didn't really occur to me until we were on set. And thematic ties became apparent to me. But nothing so overt as Paimon worshipping," Aster told Fandango

You can certainly see the similarities: Both films follow women who are experiencing an increased sense of alienation following the death of loved ones, and both seek refuge in death cults. Aster affirmed the resemblance between the two, saying that "both films are very much about family." He also noted that Hereditary and Midsommar each deal with co-dependency, although Midsommar goes deeper into this idea.

Midsommar tells the story of Dani (played by Florence Pugh), a young woman who joins her less-than-enthusiastic boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) on a trip to Sweden for their summer solstice festival. Christian doesn't want to bring Dani, and doesn't even want to be in a relationship with her anymore, but feels he should stick it out a bit longer considering Dani just experienced a massive personal tragedy. Midsommar couldn't be more different from Hereditary aesthetically; the contrast between Midsommar's bright, sunlit hues and all-white costumes and Hereditary's somber, shadowy palette distinguishes them on the surface. But once you dig a little deeper, the overlapping themes of death, ritual, and rebirth start to emerge. In this way, Midsommar is the unlikely sort-of spiritual successor to Hereditary — one that was right under fans' noses all along.

Ari Aster is working on a new horror film with Joaquin Phoenix

Though he's made a huge name for himself in the genre, Aster has been quick to say that he isn't a horror director, mostly because he holds the genre in such high esteem. "There are so few horror films that for me live up to what the genre can do," he told Film Comment. Aster is considered a modern horror master, but he has described his films more as family dramas. 

His next project will take up the themes of family once again, this time pairing the director with esteemed actor Joaquin Phoenix. According to Discussing Film, Phoenix is reportedly in talks to play the titular role in Aster's new film Beau Is Afraid. The film is about an anxious man named Beau and chronicles his tense relationship with his mother, impacted by the lifelong absence of his father. Per the film's synopsis, Beau "makes an alarming discovery about his past" after his mother dies and he ventures to return home. Along the way, he's faced with "various crazy supernatural threats."

It's exciting news for fans of Aster and Phoenix, who have both been drawn to innovative and boundary-pushing projects for a long time. While Beau Is Afraid is unlikely to be related to either of Aster's previous works, those who loved Hereditary and Midsommar can look forward to another horror-filled family drama that will leave them with plenty of new theories and unanswered questions.