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Sky High 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

When it comes to superhero movies, the best are those timeless gems that mix action, humor, and heart into a rousing tale. But sometimes, those that succeed never quite manage to become blockbuster franchises. In 2005, Disney's "Sky High" became one such film. It failed to ignite a long-running series, yet it has earned a loyal following just the same. Directed by Mike Mitchell, this high-flying adventure is set at a high school where ordinary teens with incredible powers get an education to become full-fledged superheroes.

The film centers around Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), a young man born into a famous superhero family led by his father, the Commander (Kurt Russell). Despite his impressive family, Will is relegated to being a sidekick. His struggle with ordinary high school problems is compounded by his emerging powers and fight to prove himself.

With oodles of retro charm and a family-friendly vibe, "Sky High" quickly became a beloved favorite among audiences of all ages. Over the years, whispers of a possible sequel have circulated throughout the fandom. Fans eagerly awaiting news of a follow-up have been disappointed with a lack of concrete news, however. Can the enduring appeal of the original film, coupled with the ever-growing demand for superhero movies, ensure a return to this vibrant universe? It's an enticing thought — but will it ever happen?

Why hasn't a Sky High sequel happened yet?

Debuting in theaters the same year as "Batman Begins," one year after "Spider-Man 2," and one year before "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Sky High" was poised to become as big a blockbuster as any of those other films. Disney — still years away from purchasing comic book juggernaut Marvel — may even have been banking on it becoming the next superhero franchise. But when it arrived, it wasn't the smash hit studio execs were crossing their fingers and hoping for. 

While the film did more than double its modest budget, it didn't crack $100 million worldwide, which left Hollywood cool on the idea of a sequel. Since then, the cast and crew have gone on to bigger and more prosperous careers. Kurt Russell has made a resurgence, largely thanks to his role in Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," while Mary Elizabeth Winstead became a star thanks to 2010's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." On television, Danielle Panabaker became a different superhero on The CW's "The Flash," while Nicholas Braun garnered a pair of Emmy nominations thanks to his role in the HBO drama "Succession."

Getting the gang back together may not be such an easy feat — but there have been plenty of rumors over the years that it could still happen.

What has the cast and crew said about a Sky High sequel?

Just because it wasn't a huge box office success doesn't mean that "Sky High" didn't have fans and supporters. In fact, it's managed to develop something of a diehard fan following among both comic book fans and Disney lovers, and those involved with the film continue to be asked about the possibility of more stories set in its universe to this very day. In 2020, writer Mark McCorkle — who is also the creator of "Kim Possible" and has since written "The Penguins of Madagascar" and "Big Hero 6" — spoke about a potential follow-up to the 2005 film.

"Over the years we always thought maybe a sequel could happen one of these days," he told Inverse. "There was always a belief that this was a rich enough world to keep going with new ideas." McCorkle also pointed out the new value the film may have within Disney+, and how it could open up the potential for renewed interest in the franchise. "I guess if the film still has that same affection of people watching it and streaming it on Disney+, who knows. Maybe if the people speak, their wishes will be answered."

McCorkle isn't the only one hoping for "Sky High 2," though. Star Danielle Panabaker told the International Business Times in 2018, "I would do anything to make another one." 

Who would star in a Sky High sequel?

With so many years having passed since "Sky High" was in theaters, it's fair to ask who would return if there were to be a sequel. While not everyone has directly addressed their possible return, there are a few who have. This includes Danielle Panabaker, who has openly discussed her interest in a potential "Sky High 2," and Michael Angarano, who played Will Stronghold. "I would be up for a sequel for sure, especially if everyone from this film was also involved," Angarano told Ultimate Disney, not long after the first movie debuted.

But would everyone else be involved? Danielle Panabaker seems to think so, based on comments she made in 2018. "I just saw Nick [Braun] and Michael [Angarano] at a party in L.A. ... and I love those boys so much. I would see Mary Elizabeth [Winstead] when we were both working in Vancouver. I think it would be great, and I think we would all jump at the opportunity."

They're not the only ones. As reported by ComicBook.com, actor Kevin Heffernan, who played bus driver Ron Wilson, addressed whether he'd return for a sequel while at a press junket for another film. "I'm in," Heffernan said. "If they're doing it, I'm in." As for the bigger names in the cast, it's anyone's guess. We can't imagine Kurt Russell saying no, though, as he has continued making family films, even appearing in a pair of "Christmas Chronicles" movies for Netflix.

What would be explored in a Sky High sequel?

Though there's been no concrete talk of a "Sky High" sequel since the first movie was released, that doesn't mean those involved haven't had ideas regarding where the story should go. In fact, in 2019, director Mike Mitchell opened up about his concept for "Sky High 2," including a proposed title. 

"I am hugely proud of it and they should make it a franchise," Mitchell told io9 during press for "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part." "In fact the same writers that didn't get credit on it, [Jonathan] Aibel and [Glenn] Berger, they did a lot of writing on that film, and we have a whole sequel that's called 'Save U' [or] 'Save University.'" From the sounds of it, the sequel would have sent the young heroes off to college, where they surely would have met other young men and women training to become the world's next group of superheroes.

But Mitchell isn't the only one with fun ideas of where the story could go. More recently, Danielle Panabaker shared her thoughts on a different story — and this one takes into account the long passage of time since the first movie. "I'd like to think that maybe they're teachers at Sky High because it's been long enough that they could go back and teach," she told International Business Times in 2018. "They could be the young, cool, hip teachers ... and then they're teaching the next class of superheroes."

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has thoughts on a Sky High sequel

Mary Elizabeth Winstead also has some humorous thoughts about her supervillain character, Gwen Grayson (aka Royal Pain), and what she might be up to these days. When speaking to Perri Nemiroff on Collider's "Ladies Night" podcast, Winstead was asked, "Do you think that [Gwen] learns her lesson at the end of the movie, or is she still operating as a supervillain?" The actress responded, "I think she's still operating as a supervillain, for sure. I don't think there was any moral reassessment for her actions."

Winstead was also asked about what kind of evil plans Gwen might be cooking up. If you'll remember, in the original film, the supervillain was armed with a gun called the Pacifier, which turned her fellow students into babies. When considering weaponry for a "Sky High 2," Winstead decided it might be a blast to go in the opposite direction, with Gwen transforming her victims into really old people. Nemiroff and Winstead also thought it might be fun if Gwen rounded up a gang of baddies from Winstead's other films, and the actor decided her theoretical posse could include Harley Quinn from "Birds of Prey," Zoë Bell from "Death Proof," and Amanda Crew's annoying character from "Final Destination 3."

While we definitely doubt any of those characters would show up in a "Sky High" sequel, it totally makes sense that Royal Pain would still be devising devious schemes. And honestly, the idea of turning the film's protagonists into elderly superheroes could be kind of hilarious. Sign us up for Winstead's sequel.

Fans have been dying for a sequel

It may not have had lines around the block, but "Sky High" has become a legitimate cult classic and a favorite of Disney fans for its bright, cheery tone and colorful, family-friendly action. Though many years have passed since the movie was released, enthusiasm for it and a possible sequel has never waned. In fact, it appears to be growing, based on social media chatter.

Over on Reddit, fans of the original film express their love and call for a sequel, nearly two decades later. "With Coming 2 America, Top Gun: Maverick, Bad Boys For Life all coming as long delayed sequel to their original movies, I'd absolutely be game to see a sequel to this. I love that movie," said one user in 2019. In 2020, a petition to get a sequel up and running cropped up, complete with an idea on what it could be about. "2020 marks the 15-year anniversary of the release of this smash hit," the fan announced, "and we propose that the original cast and creators of Sky High reunite for a sequel depicting a high school reunion, featuring the characters we have all adored for well over a decade." Though the petition didn't garner as much support as other fan-driven attempts to get comic book movies made have, its mere existence demonstrates just how passionate "Sky High" fans really are.

Could we see a TV spin-off of Sky High?

With efforts to get a cinematic sequel to "Sky High" stalled for years, it's worth asking if the creators should be looking at other ways to bring a follow-up to life. While they could continue the story in comics the way shows like "Smallville" and "Firefly" have, they could also opt for television. As it happens, that was once on the drawing board; director Mike Mitchell even talked about what almost was in an interview with Gizmodo in 2019. According to the filmmaker, the studio originally had bigger plans than just movies.

"Except for Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston, every actor signed a contract to make it into a TV show," he told the outlet. Presumably, Disney wanted "Sky High" to become a TV hit on their very own Disney channel, led by the young cast rather than pricier big screen stars. "But what happened was, when it came out, it was kind of an underdog that no one knew about," Mitchell acknowledged; it was subsequently swallowed up by a summer full of bigger family films like "March of the Penguins" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Could a TV sequel still materialize? Mitchell isn't sure, but he's totally on board and just waiting for Disney to give the word. "Dude, I'm ready to go," Mitchell said. "It's up to you [in the media]. Just write that it's happening."

Could we get a Sky High sequel on Disney+?

Mitchell may be ready for the green light, but there hasn't been a peep from Disney about any continuation of the "Sky High" franchise. But with television a possibility, and the addition of Disney+ to the studio's arsenal, is it possible we could see a "Sky High" sequel as a direct-to-streaming original production? If you ask writer Mark McConkle, that's exactly what it should be. 

"To me, it's a very natural fit for Disney+," he said in a 2020 interview with Inverse. That interview immediately sparked wild speculation that Disney was developing a "Sky High" sequel project for the streaming service, with Disney fan site Inside The Magic wondering aloud if it was a sign of a sequel to come. Though nothing got confirmed and the rumors seem to be just that, it's not hard to imagine "Sky High" becoming a Disney+ feature film series, or even an episodic adventure. It could all happen on a relatively modest budget, and would surely bring plenty of longtime fans to the service. 

Why the world needs a Sky High sequel

"Sky High" may have been a little too far ahead of its time, striking when colorful superheroes were on their way out and darker, grittier superheroes were on their way in. It missed the era of the cinematic universe by a few years too, and some may think that by now, audiences have no interest in a "Sky High" sequel. But there's more reason to believe that the world needs a "Sky High" sequel now more than ever.

In the last decade, superhero movies from Marvel and DC have gotten almost too popular for their own good, reaching a critical mass that has seen some audiences souring on their latest offerings. Marvel is engulfed in a complicated multiverse story, and their latest entries have been met with a lackluster reception. Meanwhile, things got so bad for DC that they decided to reboot their entire cinematic universe. Both have become so overwrought that, at times, it feels like all the fun has been sucked out of them. A "Sky High" sequel could be just the antidote.

"Mike [Mitchell] had a vision of bright colors and it being friendly and upbeat," McCorkle told Inverse. He went on to add, "'Sky High' proved that you can be bright and colorful and still resonate with real human emotions." A throwback to a simpler era, a "Sky High" sequel could be the hopeful, optimistic, family-friendly superhero adventure that the movies have been missing.