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After Top Gun: Maverick, These '80s Movies Need Sequels Now

The 1980s were quite a decade for movies. 

Standalone hits from the 1970s gave way to the blockbuster sequel, resulting in "Star Wars" becoming a trilogy, the "Back to the Future" movies, and the very start of franchises like "Indiana Jones" and "Die Hard." In recent years, many of the standalone movies of the decade have received sequels long in the making, the most recent of which being "Top Gun: Maverick," a sequel to 1986's "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise. 

The sequel — which had one of the longest release delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it originally intended to drop in June 2020 (via Deadline) — returns Cruise's Peter "Maverick" Mitchell to the skies. And the early reviews for "Top Gun: Maverick" are almost universally positive, boasting approval from 97% of the 100 Rotten Tomatoes critics who have reviewed it at the time of this writing, topping the reviews of its predecessor. 

What if the success of this "Top Gun" sequel, though, is no fluke? Perhaps the fact that "Top Gun" directly follows the story of its predecessor, instead of remaking or rebooting it, is key to its success. And with that in mind, it's worth pondering what other movies from the 1980s could stand to finally have a high quality sequel. 

Clue (1985)

Recent Hollywood whodunnits like Rian Johnson's 2019 hit "Knives Out" have been very successful with both audiences and critics, and there could be no better way to capitalize on the recent mystery trend than for a studio to make a sequel to 1985's "Clue," a comedy-mystery movie inspired by Hasbro's classic board game. 

Tim Curry starred in the original as Wadsworth, a butler who arranges for seven guests to meet at a luxurious country mansion — ostensibly because one guest, Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) has been blackmailing the rest of the group. Mr. Boddy's plot-twist death halfway through the movie gives way to a hilarious mystery that uniquely resolves with three potential outcomes, a wink toward the variety of ways a game of "Clue" can end.

Between the cult popularity of the original movie, the massive adoration of the board game that inspired it, and audience's enthusiastic response to "Knives Out," it seems very likely that moviegoers would clamor into theaters for a "Clue" sequel that capitalizes on modern film making techniques and gathers a group of modern stars for a deeply funny comedy. Finding a writer-director combination capable of subverting even the original film's three potential endings with a different twist may be the difficult part ... but hey, the idea is someone's for the taking.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Robert Zemeckis' "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is one of the most beloved comedies of the 1980s, following a fictionalized version of 1940s Los Angeles in which old-school hand-drawn cartoon characters exist in real life. Roger and Jessica Rabbit stand out as incredibly memorable comedy-action heroes who work with Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to figure out ... well, who framed Roger Rabbit. 

Today, this groundbreaking movie holds a 97% Rotten Tomatoes critical rating — and it continues to inspire imitations, with Disney's upcoming "Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers" film being something of a spiritual successor. With that in mind, there's no reason Disney shouldn't try green lighting a 21st century sequel to the original film, particularly with the slew of additional animated characters who could now be interpreted into a new narrative. Plus, as we've established, mysteries are all the rage again — why not add an absurd cartoon rabbit or two to the mix again?

A potential sequel to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" has been kicking around in the background of Hollywood for decades, albeit never getting very far. Zemeckis has admitted that there already is a script, and he told The Telegraph in 2016 that the story involves Roger and Jessica moving into 1950s-era movies. However, in both that interview and another with Yahoo! News in 2018, Zemeckis said it doesn't seem like Disney is actually interested in producing the movie.

Heathers (1989)

1989's "Heathers" stands out as one of the most iconic high school movies ever. In sharp contrast to John Hughes' high school movies, though, quite a few people die in this one. 

The dark humor and cynicism at play in "Heathers," which stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, feels perfectly suited for the 2020s landscape, where shows like "Euphoria" and "13 Reasons Why" become increasingly popular. The subject matter certainly seems ripe for a modern, Gen-Z take on modern high schools that explores how teenage peer pressure has changed over the years. So why not make a direct sequel to the original film?

"Heathers" has been adapted into a musical and a 2018 television series, though the Paramount Network found difficulty releasing episodes as intended in the midst of disturbing mass shootings across the United States at the same time (via The Hollywood Reporter). When it comes to an actual sequel, though, there has been little to no movement on one over the decades since the film's release. After Winona Ryder tried to speak a sequel into existence in 2009, the film's director, Michael Lehmann, confirmed there never have been plans to make a sequel to the movie (via Movie Line).

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Speaking of John Hughes, it's shocking that nobody has attempted to revisit one of the late filmmaker's 1980s masterpieces: "The Breakfast Club." Few high school movies have ever defined teenage social dynamics as well as this 1985 classic, in which five students from very different social classes and backgrounds gradually unite — even if just for a moment — during a Saturday all-day detention. The entire spectrum of cliché high school characters is represented in the movie: in fact, it's probably just as easy to argue that "The Breakfast Club" helped cement these clichés in modern pop culture as much as it deconstructs them, showing that no person can be defined by one characteristic.

A sequel to "The Breakfast Club" seems hard to pull off, but a remake would be unlikely to attract the attention of nostalgic viewers of the original. If a creative team were to dare making a direct follow-up, an interesting approach could see the characters bumping into one another at a Shermer High School class reunion — showing how adults evolve past their high school stereotypes as they age and start their own families. Don't audiences want to know how John Bender's (Judd Nelson) life turned out, for instance? And what impact did the events of the movie have on their teenage lives? In the film, the characters stress out about whether they will remain friends after their detention.

The youngest Baby Boomers and much of Generation X came of age alongside movies like "The Breakfast Club" — a years-later sequel might take an insightful look into how members of those generations perceive the world as adults some 40 years later.