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Actors Who Wanted Sequels But Couldn't Make Them Happen

Normally, Hollywood can't get enough of sequels. Dating back to the earliest days of the American film industry, when Thomas Dixon Jr. helmed the "Birth of a Nation" sequel "The Fall of a Nation," Hollywood loves to make stories that resonate as familiar to the moviegoing public. But sometimes, would-be franchise starters or certain sequels don't make enough money at the box office to justify making further installments. Hollywood loves sequels, but it loves making a profit even more and that's left many features with unresolved cliffhangers due to unmade sequels.

Movie studios may not be interested in making sequels to certain motion pictures, but that sentiment doesn't always extend to the performers who headline those movies. Certain actors from titles ranging from "John Carter" or "Step Brothers" carry burning, publicly-expressed desires to reprise fan-beloved characters in sequels that will never get made. It's time to take a look at times where actors were gunning for a movie they were in to get a sequel, only for a multitude of circumstances to prevent such follow-ups to come to fruition.

Ron Perlman - Hellboy 3

By now, the reputation of "Hellboy 3" is almost as enormous as the "Hellboy" movies that got made. A proposed sequel to "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," the story for this feature was teased in "The Golden Army" as dealing with the titular superhero becoming an apocalyptic threat to Earth. Since that set-up was introduced in 2008, the project has been discussed actively by the creative participants of the "Hellboy" films. Unfortunately, it's never materialized, and that's despite especially constant encouragement from "Hellboy" leading man Ron Perlman.

In June 2013, Perlman reaffirmed his commitment to the prospective production by noting how enthusiastic he was about director Guillermo del Toro's vision for how Hellboy's story would wrap up. The expansive scope of a potential "Hellboy 3" excited Perlman and del Toro, but it didn't do much to move potential financiers. In 2017, del Toro officially confirmed that "Hellboy 3" was no longer happening, with the focus instead shifting onto a whole new "Hellboy" reboot that didn't involve any of the creative participants of the original "Hellboy" films. Though Perlman has continued to beat the drum for "Hellboy 3" as late as 2019, it doesn't appear to be enough to actually get this superhero movie sequel off the ground.

Mr. Brooks 2

Given that it wasn't a massive box office hit, there's a good chance you may not have seen the 2007 Kevin Costner thriller "Mr. Brooks." Even so, Costner was quite game to explore its macabre world across future adventures. Yes, adventures, plural. "Mr. Brooks" was designed to spawn not just one sequel, but two.

"This was written with the idea that we would do a couple others," Costner said to Entertainment Weekly (via SlashFilm) about the screenplay for "Mr. Brooks." "When the writers first presented the notion to me, I said, 'Oh, bulls—! I haven't done 'Tin Cup 2,' or 'Bull Durham 2,' or 'Open Range: The Early Years', so you don't have to try to hook me with that.' But when they told me their idea, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. We're hoping this little movie develops a following so we can play this story out the way it should." Costner was willing, but the box office for "Mr. Brooks" was weak. That shortcoming, plus the eventual financial problems faced by its distributor, MGM, ensured that "Mr. Brooks" would not be getting a sequel, let alone spawning a trilogy. Perhaps Kevin Costner would have better luck getting "Tin Cup 2" off the ground.

John C. Reilly - Step Brothers 2

After years and years of waiting and dead ends, Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay finally delivered a second "Anchorman" movie to the world with "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" in December 2013. Given that they managed to turn one seemingly impossible comedy sequel into a reality once, it isn't inconceivable to imagine they could do that again with the duo's 2008 movie "Step Brothers." Plus, that movie's other leading man, John C. Reilly, has been very open that he's down for more immature comedic antics.

In November 2018, Reilly told Good Morning America there was a concept for a second "Step Brothers" and that he was hoping that it would come together. To hear Reilly so publicly talk about this prospective sequel seemed initially like a promising sign for another Ferrell/Reilly reunion on the horizon. In the years since, though, there's been no word on another "Step Brothers" installment. In an even more discouraging sign, Reilly himself has downplayed the idea of it ever becoming a reality in more recent interviews. Part of the problem is simply the busy schedules of all involved, including McKay, who's shifted over from bro-comedies to doing Oscar-nominated dramas. It appears fans will have to settle for revisiting the original "Step Brothers."

Taylor Kitsch - John Carter 2

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote several novels chronicling the exploits of John Carter of Mars back in the day, so it wouldn't be any surprise to learn that a film adaptation of the character also spawned multiple adventures. The 2012 feature adaptation "John Carter" aimed to do just that, with director Andrew Stanton revealing, years after the film's release, the logos and titles for two sequels he had once planned to helm. It wasn't just the movie's director that harbored ambitions of doing further features starring this sci-fi hero. Among those who had been eager to do another "John Carter" was the movie's leading man, Taylor Kitsch.

A few weeks after "John Carter" launched in theaters, Kitsch made it clear that he was not only proud of "John Carter," but that he desperately wanted to return to the planet Barsoom and do another movie in this universe. Years later, Kitsch explained that his excitement for a sequel was exacerbated by his positive sentiment towards the screenplay for the proposed production. Unfortunately, larger forces than one's actor's will would make that an impossibility. "John Carter" became a legendary box office misfire, one that lost hundreds of millions of dollars for financier and distributor Walt Disney Pictures. Because of that, any notions of a second "John Carter" film were quickly scrapped despite the enthusiasm of Kitsch. Unlike the original literary character, the cinematic incarnation of John Carter would not have endless adventures.

Christina Ricci - Speed Racer 2

The world of "Speed Racer" is bursting with colors and details that just seem tailor-made to be explored across multiple movies. It appears that the actors that starred in "Speed Racer" were quite conscious of this, and lead actress Christina Ricci said the entire cast was yearning to go for another spin in this fictitious world before the production even hit theaters.

"[The Wachowski Sisters] created a world that they love and created characters that they loved and are attached to," Ricci told ComingSoon.net. "When we were all leaving, we were like 'write the sequel!' 'We want to come back'. And they were like, 'I know. I know. We're going to. Don't worry'. They were as sad for it to be over as we were." Ricci maintained that commitment towards a "Speed Racer" sequel well after the movie's release. The performer reaffirmed to CinemaBlend in 2018 not only her affection for "Speed Racer" directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski, but also her desire to appear in a "Speed Racer" follow-up. Though Ricci has always been excited about the possibilities of further exploring the domain of "Speed Racer," moviegoers, at least back when this film first zoomed into theaters in May 2008, didn't share that enthusiasm. "Speed Racer" ended up becoming a box office dud and lost enough money to ensure that no Warner Bros. studio executive would be shouting "Go Speed Racer go!" again anytime soon.

Will Smith - Hancock 2

Will Smith hasn't papered his entire career with endless sequels, but he's managed to turn "Bad Boys" and "Men in Black" into franchises by headlining successful follow-ups. In 2008, his star vehicle "Hancock" seemed poised to be the next Smith movie to get a lucrative sequel. After all, not only was the feature a box office hit but superhero movies get sequels all the time. Why should an original superhero tale starring Will Smith be any different?

By the end of 2008, Smith expressed excitement over what future "Hancock" movies could deliver, and there seemed to be oodles of potential in exploring future adventures of this tormented superhero. By the following year, it looked like the project was heading in the right direction as "Hancock" director Peter Berg revealed to MTV News concrete details about the film's plot, which apparently would be partially a prequel. However, despite Smith's enthusiasm and this promising development, a slew of factors began to prevent "Hancock 2" from ever coming to life. This included Smith's busy schedule, which saw him concentrating on projects like "After Earth" and "MIB3" instead of further "Hancock" movies. Smith was still pitching new ideas for a "Hancock" sequel as late as January 2012, but there have been no further developments on the project. Despite seeming like a foolproof franchise-starter when the original feature first came out, Smith's visions for the future of "Hancock" have remained unrealized.

Liam Neeson - The A-Team 2

There's no shortage of adventures that the four members of "The A-Team" could get into in their days as television superstars. Naturally, then, the 2010 film adaptation, tidily titled "The A-Team," was also made to spawn a franchise. The feature starred Liam Neeson and given how this man's returned for multiple "Taken" installments, it should come as no shock that he was open to the prospect of doing multiple follow-ups to "The A-Team."

"Myself, Bradley, Rampage and Sharlto are very, very keen to do it," Neeson said to Contact Music about he and the other "A-Team" leading men's attitude towards a sequel. "New York would [be] cool. And a couple of other countries too maybe." Neeson may have been ready to go for more "A-Team" adventures, but the property turned out to be less popular with moviegoers than it had been as a TV show. By the start of 2011, Neeson revealed to Digital Spy that he was eager to do another "A-Team" movie with the original film's cast and that 20th Century Fox hadn't explicitly said no to the prospect of a follow-up. However, he also noted that he had a hunch the box office results for "The A-Team" weren't enough to justify financing a sequel. Neeson turned out to be right on the money. A few years later, director Joe Carnahan officially confirmed that there would be no sequel to "The A-Team," no matter how jazzed Neeson was to do another one.

Karl Urban - Dredd 2

Judge Dredd got to dish out brutal R-rated justice in the 2012 film "Dredd," which managed to become a cult classic and even helped kickstart the directorial career of Alex Garland. Despite such notable accomplishments, "Dredd" was still a major box office underperformer and that put any notion of a sequel as an unlikely one. But the character of Judge Dredd has overcome significant odds before in the comics so it shouldn't be a shock that the character's actor, Karl Urban, was game to tackle the seemingly impossible task of willing a "Dredd" sequel into existence.

In May 2013, Urban made his passion for doing more "Dredd" movies apparent while also encouraging fans to make their voices heard about their desire for more "Dredd" installments. While there was a significant social media response to make a "Dredd" sequel a reality, another movie never materialized. The closest fans got was an announcement of a "Dredd" TV show that Urban was once in talks to headline, but that also never came to pass. With years of radio silence on the prospect of "Dredd 2," not to mention Urban now being busy leading "The Boys," "Dredd 2" is clearly no longer a priority despite Urban's desire to make it happen.

Sylvester Stallone - Tango & Cash 2

For decades, everyone was content to just leave "Tango & Cash" alone. A popular 1980s buddy-cop movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, that feature made a tidy profit and became reasonably well-liked by the general public. However, it isn't considered the best movie made by either of its leading men and the title doesn't have much brand name recognition in the modern film landscape. Despite those obstacles, in 2019, Stallone delivered a bombshell revelation that he was actively pursuing a sequel to this feature.

In an interview with Fandango, Stallone revealed that not only was he working on a second "Tango & Cash," but that he had even talked to Kurt Russell about the project. Apparently, Russell was less enthusiastic than Stallone about returning to this fictional universe, but at the time Stallone said he was committed to changing this guy's mind. Though Stallone's talks about "Tango & Cash" were bursting with gusto at the time, there have been no further developments on the project, with Stallone refocusing his attention on other movies like "Samaritan" and "The Expendables 4."

Tony Todd - Untitled Candyman sequel

The "Candyman" franchise has seen a trio of completed follow-ups, each involving Tony Todd in some way reprising his role as the eponymous Candyman. His enduring presence in this franchise is a testament to how much passion Todd has for this character. Also reflecting this dedication is how Todd was, at one point, thoroughly committed to executing a new kind of "Candyman" sequel that would've chronicled the titular character trying to make a go at life as a normal civilian.

In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Todd shared details for a "Candyman" sequel that he was hoping to get off the ground that would see Candyman trying to suppress his violent urges while working as a professor at a New England women's college. Living in an environment full of women would've provided a challenge for Candyman, but the broadly-outlined story would've seen some undefined tragedy occurring that triggered the revival of his old bee-covered form. Todd was expressing excitement for the project, particularly some of the striking visuals the story could generate, like Candyman standing in the middle of a heavy blizzard. However, he did say that issues revolving around which studio owned the rights to "Candyman" and who would get what amount of profits were halting the film from going forward. Eventually, those issues turned out to be too insurmountable to overcome as this particular sequel never became a reality despite Todd's passion for it.

Tiffany Haddish - Girls Trip 2

So many successful comedies have gotten sequels. Everything from "Caddyshack" to "The Hangover" and even smaller moneymakers like "Hot Tub Time Machine." Given this phenomenon, it's puzzling how "Girls Trip," a hit 2017 comedy that launched the career of Tiffany Haddish, has never managed to score a sequel. Making this extra puzzling is how Haddish has constantly talked about her excitement on the prospect of doing another "Girls Trip" movie.

In an interview with HuffPost, Haddish revealed that she and the other lead cast members of that film were dying to reunite for a sequel, but obstacles kept getting in the way. Initially, the problem that tripped up "Girls Trip 2" was the lack of a screenplay before the primary issue evolved into disputes over the salaries for the lead actors of "Girls Trip." At the time of the interview, Haddish said that she was still so excited to do "Girls Trip 2" that she was preparing to pen a draft of the film's screenplay herself. There's clearly a lot of effort going into turning this project into a reality. However, it remains to be seen if all that effort will be enough to overcome the problems that have kept "Girls Trip 2" from existing thus far.

Armie Hammer - The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2

Given that the original "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." TV show ran for four seasons back in the 1960s, it's not an outlandish concept to imagine that a film adaptation of the property could run for multiple movies. While the 2015 movie "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." didn't break box office records, there was a cult following that surrounded the movie years after its release. One of the biggest devotees of the project was its leading man, Armie Hammer, who revealed he was pursuing a sequel to the production.

Speaking to Collider in April 2017, Hammer said he was down for doing another "Man from U.N.C.L.E." movie and that a script was in development, but that everyone involved wanted to make sure there was a solid story in place before they put a sequel into motion. Hammer reaffirmed his commitment to any further "Man from U.N.C.L.E." installments in October 2020 and even joked that his dedication to the project was so extreme that he'd champion a quality piece of "Man from U.N.C.L.E." fan-fiction if it could serve as a solid basis for a sequel. 

However, the box office shortcomings of that original "Man from U.N.C.L.E." movie always made a sequel a risky bet and no major developments have ever been announced on this follow-up. It doesn't help that Hammer has been plagued by controversies in recent years, making a "Man from U.N.C.L.E." sequel an extra risky prospect.