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The Real Reason Waterworld 2 Never Happened

After the polar ice caps melt, humanity is forced to adapt to a world that's primarily underwater. Set hundreds of years in the future, some people have adapted well to this new world, developing gills, and one of these individuals will fight hordes of enemies to protect the one person who can lead humanity to some of the only dry land left on the planet. 

With themes relevant to climate change and a commitment to practical effects, the Kevin Costner movie Waterworld has gained a fair amount of fans in the decades since it was released. Its campy fun even spawned an awesome attraction at Universal Studios. But when the film first came out, there was a very different perception of the blockbuster and a ton of drama behind the scenes, including the original director quitting before it was finished (via SFGate). And when Waterworld finally came out in 1995, it was the most expensive movie ever made

There's a myth that the movie was not profitable, but that's been debunked in recent years. It's true that the film grossed $264 million against a budget of $175 million (via Box Office Mojo), but taking into account VHS sales and other factors, it actually made some money in the long run (via Forbes). Still, Waterworld can't shake the label of being a flop, but that's not the reason a sequel movie will likely never happen.

Waterworld star Kevin Costner has no interest in sequels

Given the success of Mad Max: Fury Road (and the clear influence the early movies of that franchise had on Waterworld), it certainly wouldn't be out of the question for a sequel to come about nearly 30 years after the original. Waterworld explores a rich world with a lot of potential avenues to develop, but the driving force, Kevin Costner himself, just doesn't seem interested in treading those waters again.

Overall, the actor has been adamant about not doing sequels. In fact, over the course of his 40-year career, the only sequels he's ever done have been glorified cameos as Pa Kent in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zack Snyder's Justice League. When it comes to his most famous films, including Dances With Wolves and Bill Durham, he believes those are best as one-and-done projects. 

In an interview with Spin1038, he discusses this career decision. "What happens is that I really respect the movies I did and if the sequel is not as good I won't do it... I need to see the script, because if someone [likes] The Bodyguard and I make The Bodyguard 2 or Tin Cup 2 or Bull Durham 2 or Dances With Wolves 2 and 3, and they're not as good, then it's going to bother me," he said. Back in 2015, when he did an interview with MTV, he was asked specifically about reviving Waterworld. "I don't think they have to redo it," he said. "I think they could just release it the way it is if that was interesting." 

With something of a bad rap and zero interest from the original star, a sequel to Waterworld seems dead in the water. Fortunately, there are plenty of other films like it in case you want to watch something on the same wavelength.