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Why Cabin In The Woods 2 May Never Happen

It isn't often that horror movies get praised for their originality and breaking free from the chains of their tropes. However, director Drew Goddard's "The Cabin in the Woods" got tongues wagging in 2012, as it subverted expectations by playing with the genre's biggest stereotypes, acknowledging why they exist in this universe, then turning everything on its head with one of the most unpredictable and bonkers third acts of all time.

Written by Goddard and Joss Whedon, the film follows a group of archetypal horror movie teenagers who head off to a remote cabin for a fun-filled getaway. There, they are attacked by monsters and taken apart one by one. Yet here's one of the biggest twists of the story: These beings are all coming from an underground facility beneath the cabin, where technicians watch and control what's happening as the teens become sacrificial lambs for the Ancient Ones lurking beneath the earth.

"The Cabin in the Woods" holds an eye-popping 92% critical approval rating and 74% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating huge popularity and acclaim. Despite the film's ending suggesting it's a one-and-done deal, there have been calls for a sequel. While Goddard has been quick to list the ending as a reason as to why a follow-up might be difficult, he hasn't written off the possibility of it ever happening — in fact, he has one specific condition. So let's take a look at the chances of "The Cabin in the Woods 2" coming to fruition in the future.

Why isn't The Cabin in the Woods 2 happening yet?

In life, timing is everything. "The Cabin in the Woods" had a bumpy road to its release. While principal photography had concluded in 2009, the film was only released in 2012 because the original studio MGM experienced financial woes. Eventually, it was distributed through Lionsgate.

The film cost $30 million to produce. In the end, it grossed just about the same amount domestically, while its international haul pushed it to $70 million worldwide. Those aren't the worst numbers by any means. However, comparing it to another 2012 horror, "Sinister," which cost $3 million to produce and made around $88 million worldwide, no one can deem "The Cabin in the Woods" a resounding financial success. Therefore, it was always unlikely that a studio would greenlight the sequel as fast as possible here.

At the same time, the film was released just a few weeks before Joss Whedon hit the big time with "The Avengers." The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first phase was a billion-dollar blockbuster success and turned Whedon into the hottest writer-director on the planet at the time. The MCU would keep him busy for some time, while his collaborator Drew Goddard also occupied himself with writing "World War Z" and being the showrunner for "Daredevil" a few years later. Even if "The Cabin in the Woods 2" had been a priority for the studio, the two would have been unavailable due to other commitments.

What Drew Goddard has said about a sequel

Rather ironically, "The Cabin in the Woods" found its greatest success in the same way as the horror movies it parodied. Despite not exactly making snow angels in the cash it made at the box office, "The Cabin in the Woods" reached its intended audience afterward, thanks to the home video and rental markets. It also helped that fans and critics showered praise on its sheer originality and daring nature to be different, with the film picking up several nominations and accolades, such as the Best Screenplay prize at the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards.

Expectedly, talk shifted toward the possibility of a sequel and further stories in this genre-redefining universe. In 2015, Drew Goddard admitted to CinemaBlend that there had been talks about a continuation, with the studio pushing for the next installment. "They want to make one," he said. "I think Joss [Whedon] ... We talked about it. I think we just don't want to, we don't want to f*** it up. I mean, I think, I've always felt this way. Not everything needs to be a franchise. You know, like we only want to make it if we're excited about it."

Goddard added that they recognize there are opportunities to tell further stories in "The Cabin in the Woods 2," but it would ultimately depend on if they find the necessary spark to revisit it. So far, they haven't.

What could be explored in The Cabin in the Woods 2?

"The Cabin in the Woods" doesn't give the audience a traditional Hollywood ending, nor does it leave matters open to interpretation or deliberately hide characters to revisit them in sequels. In fact, the ending is pretty definitive — everyone croaks, and the Ancient Ones are awoken to wreak havoc on the Earth. So how exactly would a sequel even be possible here?

The answer could lie in a prequel. While "The Cabin in the Woods" introduces the basic premise of the story and the rules of the universe, it doesn't dig too deep into the trenches of how the underground facility came to be or why the Director (Sigourney Weaver) is a pivotal character in the grand scheme of the plot. There's still a story begging to be told about the origin of the facilities around the world and who decided to build them in the first place. Also, there's the big question mark surrounding how these ordinary humans managed to cage all these dangerous monsters. That surely must have been an event.

Alternatively, there's the opportunity to subvert genres again and make a buddy comedy that focuses on the technicians Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford) in the early days of their employment. The two characters share a lot of back-and-forth banter in the original movie, and it appears as if they are the tightest of work besties, so why not lean into this friendship and give them the spotlight this time round?

Who would star in the sequel?

In terms of the five lead characters, "The Cabin in the Woods" features a solid cast, consisting of Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan, Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk, Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden, Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea, and Fran Krantz as Marty Mikalski. More importantly, all of these characters meet their maker in the movie. With such definitive fates, it's unlikely they would be brought back for any further stories, nor should they be since their arcs are neatly wrapped up.

If "The Cabin in the Woods 2" decides to go the prequel route, it could easily bring back the core of facility's staff members, such as the Director, Gary Sitterson, and Steve Hadley. There's also the opportunity to include Amy Acker's Wendy Lin since she had terrific chemistry with the likes of Gary and Steve and could be another familiar face for audiences.

Another possible inclusion is the mysterious gas station owner known as Mordecai (Tim DeZarn). "The Cabin in the Woods" portrays him as someone the others don't take too seriously, as they laugh at his over-the-top prophet of doom shtick, but there could be more to explore in terms of his backstory as well as how he found himself working for the facility.

What happened with the Left 4 Dead 2 crossover?

While "The Cabin in the Woods 2" was never formally announced to be in active development, there was an interesting tie-in lurking in the shadows that not many people knew about. In a Reddit AMA, Drew Goddard revealed there were plans to cross over his film with the popular first-person shooter game "Left 4 Dead 2" — which also explains why some of the monsters in the film look familiar.

"We actually were going to do a downloadable L4D2 expansion pack, where you'd fight in the Cabin world, but then MGM went bankrupt so the delay squashed it," he wrote on Reddit. "But the people at Valve were still cool enough to let us use some of their monsters to fill the cubes in the background (I had a lot of cubes to fill.)"

Goddard expressed his disappointment about this collaboration not happening, adding how it would have been a great experience for both gamers and the film's audience. He explained how the original plan was to feature both the remote cabin's spot and the underground facility as playable locations within the game. Honestly, why has no one made a mod of this yet?

What do fans think of a potential sequel?

Hollywood executives hold the purse strings, but fans have the ability to will things to life if they want them badly enough. Heck, look at the whole "Release the Snyder Cut" movement, which twisted Warner Bros.' arm into releasing Zack Snyder's "director's cut" of "Justice League" after years of petitions and hashtags. "The Cabin in the Woods" built up a strong and loyal following since its release that believes the film deserves more appreciation than it gets. Make no mistake about it — it's nowhere near the same rabid levels of discipleship like "Scream," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," or "Evil Dead," but the movie and its supporters continue to watch, enjoy, and praise the film.

While most fans respect that the film could operate as a standalone feature, that hasn't stopped them from providing their own ideas for how the story could continue or evolve. One fan suggested the possibility of looking at the events that took place before the film, writing: "Maybe a movie about the backstory of one of the specific monsters. Or one of the other sites that failed, that we didn't see (so not Tokyo)." Another user remarked how "The Cabin in the Woods" could make for great episodic television, explaining how with all the monsters, there would be the ability to focus on a different creature every week.

Was there a secret sequel?

The internet loves a good conspiracy theory and making links where there are none. Give someone a Reddit or Twitter account and enough time, and they will perform the necessary mental gymnastics to link Barbie to the rise of the Ice Age. Yet sometimes, there are well-reasoned points laid out that make readers pause and consider the argument for a brief moment — such as how M. Night Shyamalan's "Knock at the Cabin" could be connected to "The Cabin in the Woods." Of course, the word "cabin" in both titles makes it a no-brainer to consider; however, there have been several rational and thought-out pieces that identify parallels in themes rather than the differing execution.

A Polygon feature explained how both films are essentially about sacrifice and questioning if the world is worth saving in the end. Unquestionably, the tones of the films are polar opposites, but it is interesting to note how they do share similar messages even if their responses to the big question are drastically different.

Despite these interesting theories, there is no actual link between the creators or works. "Knock at the Cabin" is based on the horror-themed novel "The Cabin at the End of the World" by author Paul Tremblay, while "The Cabin in the Woods" is an original idea conceived by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. That being said, there's no disputing that these films make for good double-feature viewing, especially if the audience is looking for apocalypse-driven stories taking place in a cabin.

Why it is dependent on the right idea

The status of "The Cabin in the Woods 2" is something that Drew Goddard gets asked about on a regular basis. In 2018, he reaffirmed to Fandango how he and Joss Whedon had bounced around ideas for a potential sequel but felt they wouldn't do justice to the original ending of the film. For Goddard, he had no desire to do it simply because it was expected — nor did he need to — but he also refused to outright close the cabin door forever.

"Look, I never say never, either," he added. "I've learned, tomorrow, that a bolt of lightning could strike and you could think of an idea that does the first one justice, but I haven't quite had that idea yet, I haven't had the idea yet that makes me go, 'Oh, we have to drop everything and do that now.'"

Many fans have wondered what kind of ideas were thrown around by Whedon and Goddard while they considered sequel plans. The two have never divulged the details or outcomes of their brainstorms; however, Goddard did reveal in a Reddit AMA thread in 2012 that he would consider exploring how the monsters found their way into their respective cubes. Who wouldn't want to see more of the Merman or the Pinhead-inspired Fornicus in action?!

Would the sequel include Joss Whedon?

In the early 2010s, filmmaker Joss Whedon was a popular figure, both in Hollywood and across multiple fandoms. Not only had he been responsible for fan-favorite franchises such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly," but he was also on the cusp of changing the superhero movie landscape with the release of "The Avengers." Coupled with this, there was an overwhelmingly positive reception toward "The Cabin in the Woods," and Whedon was in the fortunate situation of never being short of work.

However, 2017's much-publicized behind-the-scenes drama around "Justice League" came at a tipping point for his career and reputation. After being brought in for extensive reshoots months before the movie's release, the film disappointed and led to a wider investigation into what happened behind the scenes. In 2020, it all came to a head when actor Ray Fisher accused Whedon of misconduct on Twitter. On the heels of Fisher's allegations, former co-workers also spoke out against him — both from "Justice League" and the other productions Whedon had been a part of.

While Whedon defended himself from certain allegations, it was clear that he was persona non grata in showbiz after these negative headlines. As a result, it's difficult to see any studio wanting to associate themselves with him after the drama. Considering how integral he was to "The Cabin in the Woods" and his longtime working relationship with Drew Goddard, it's also unlikely a sequel takes place without him. The question is, will executives think he's worth the controversy here?

Why The Cabin in the Woods 2 may never happen

When "The Cabin in the Woods" arrived in theaters, it instantly caught audiences' and critics' attention for its wild third act. By the end of the film, it's clear this is a tongue-in-cheek commentary about the horror movie genre from the 1980s through the 2000s and how tropes had overtaken whatever messages these features were trying to say. It's a reactionary approach that pokes fun at the genre by embracing all the criticisms while delivering something unique for audiences to mull over.

At the same time, the ending is as conclusive as it comes. Apocalypse strikes as the Ancient Ones rise up and a giant hand emerges from the ground to wipe out the Earth. For all intents and purposes, everyone is a goner here and humanity has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Let's not forget, though, that money talks — and Hollywood has never been averse to undoing endings to squeeze more Benjamins out of a franchise's cold corpse. That said, "The Cabin in the Woods 2" might be reaching too far, as it would dilute the point of the first film. Sequels have become part and parcel of the horror genre to a ridiculous degree, but by committing to another entry here, it essentially turns this clever story into everything it shouldn't be. A follow-up transforms it from a meta social commentary into another slasher franchise — and that was never the point to begin with.