Rambo: First Blood Part II

Weekend Roundtable: Erased from Canon

If the new Halloween can ignore and contradict all of the other Halloween sequels that came after the original movie, what will be the next franchise sequel to erase prior entries from canon?

Jason Gorber

For a film that could somehow provide an exceptional follow-up, ignoring what came after the first and plowing forward with something new and valid, I’d make a direct sequel to First Blood. Sure, the Rambo movies are fun, and Sly himself tried to reboot the franchise, but none of the subsequent films got what was right about the first. It’s a movie about a character that, despite being sympathetic, was nonetheless sociopathic. Make the new sequel about a contemporary veteran, add in a dash of domestic terrorism, and shift the supposed heroism of such a barbaric figure on its head. It’d never get funded and would likely be excoriated, but it could make for a truly remarkable film.

Shannon Nutt

I’m likely to get a lot of pushback on this idea, but wouldn’t it be great to go back and erase all the movies after the original 1977 Star Wars and start over again?

Yes, we would lose The Empire Strikes Back, with its shocking reveal that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. But that’s the one plot point that has, in my opinion, bottlenecked the franchise into a lot of mediocre to just plain bad storytelling.

Let’s go back to when Vader was just a mysterious and 100% evil villain, when Luke wasn’t related to Leia, and when Han not only shot first, he was the only one to shoot at all.

I’d happily give up all the great characters we gained (like Yoda and Lando) in exchange for a fresh new start without Anakin Skywalker, Ewoks, midichlorians, Jar Jar, and a whole lot more.

Deirdre Crimmins

Easily, the franchise I’d restart after the first installment is The NeverEnding Story. While the second movie is cute enough, and I’d hate to get rid of the Giorgio Moroder soundtrack or Jack Black’s turn as a bully in Part III, we can do better. The first film is based on a wonderful book by Michael Ende. More precisely, the first film is based on the first third of that book. After that, the film series departed and left the book in the dust. I’d love to see a return to the literary roots, mainly because there’s so much cool stuff in the book we never got to see. I want to see a desert with dunes that change colors in the wind. Give us more of that!

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

This requires selective purging and a time machine, but I’d overhaul the Alien franchise.

I wouldn’t wipe the sequel board completely clean, as David Gordon Green’s Halloween has. Aliens would remain canon. Everything after that, though… ? No dead Newt. No hybrid-xenomorph-Ripley-clone-basketball. No versus-ing Predators. No meandering, pseudointellectual prequels.

The obvious question then becomes, “Well, what type of Alien sequel would you make?” And my answer would be, “Pretty much anything else.” It’s not as if Brandywine or Fox were at a loss for material, amassing an entire franchise’s worth of screenplays and treatments for a third Alien film throughout the tail-end of the 1980s and very early ’90s. Regardless of the direction, I’d timeslide back to that era for the second sequel. Sigourney Weaver turns 70 next year, after all.

And what ideas there were! Maybe Alien3, Mark II would fulfill the promise of the original theatrical teaser, with the xenomorphs stomping around on Earth. Perhaps we could find out what precisely Weyland-Yutani would do if they got their hands on one of these creatures (or, more accurately, what these creatures would do to Weyland-Yutani). I’m not sure what Neill Blomkamp had bobbing around in his head with his sequel-ignoring Alien 3 treatment a few years ago, but the conceptual art he released is more intriguing than anything we’ve seen from the franchise in the past few decades. Maybe I should just toss Neill into the time tunnel and wish him the best of luck with ’80s-era Fox.

Dark Horse Comics is adapting William Gibson’s unused Alien 3 screenplay into a limited series, and the first issue of that arrives in just a few weeks. It’s the closest we’ll get to seeing what could have been.

Josh Zyber

Clive Barker’s original Hellraiser was a breath of fresh air when it was released in 1987. The horror genre in the 1980s had mostly turned very campy and jokey, working under the theory that horror fans wanted dumb laughs with their over-the-top gore. Barker’s film, though it may have had some cheesy bits where his budget didn’t live up to his ambition, took seriously its mission to scare the audience while creating an incredibly creepy and inventive horror-fantasy mythology.

Although a case can be made that Hellbound: Hellraiser II makes a legitimate attempt to expand upon the world Barker created, it’s a significantly dumber and lamer movie. Everything after that point is best left forgotten. The franchise turned into exactly the sort of goofy schlock that it had originally been created in reaction against. The less said about the innumerable direct-to-video sequels, the better.

Barker has allegedly been working on a Hellraiser reboot for a while now, but the project stalled out a long time ago and doesn’t appear to have made any traction. If it ever comes to fruition, I’d welcome a direct sequel to the first film that makes no reference to any of the others.

Your Turn

What other franchises are in need of some redacting? Give us your suggestions in the Comments.


  1. Is it possible to ret-con future movies? I’m just very disappointed that the upcoming “Rambo 5: Last Blood” isn’t called “Rambo Number Five”

    (and, yes, I stole that joke)

    Anyway – I’d love to see Blues Brothers 2000 erased from history. Don’t even need to replace it with a new sequel.

  2. njscorpio

    I’ve watched the original ‘Highlander’ at least 50 times, and have yet to watch any of the sequels (or the TV show). I think I’ve made a good call.

    With that in mind, I’d love a high quality, modern sequel to the original, starring Christopher Lambert, with a new soundtrack by the current incarnation of Queen.

  3. Elizabeth

    I was going to say wipe out everything after Terminator 2 but then I remembered that the next Terminator movie is doing exactly that. Although I didn’t think Genisys was all that bad and would have liked to have seen where the 2 sequels took it.

    If I could do a mass retconn, I’d suggest wiping out all of Disney’s dreadful 90’s direct-to-video sequels: Bambi II, Cinderella 2 and 3, Fox and the Hound 2, etc.

    • William Henley

      I was thinking Terminator, but my impression of the of the rules is that we wiped out everything after the first movie.

      I rewatched all the movies last year, in order, with my mom, who had never seen any except the first, and we both came to the same conclusion – while all the movies after 2 were nowhere near as good as the first two, none were really bad. My mom could see why people were so disappointed in 3 after waiting years after the second one, and 4 was significantly better than 3. I am kinda okay with what they are doing – while each movie fits in the universe (which you can do with time travel and paradoxes), and does lead to a larger overall story, if I want to leave 3 out and jump straight to Salvation or Genisys, I can do that, and not miss anything.

      And with it being time travel, we can reboot the franchise after T2, and still have it work within the universe. So yeah, whatever.

      Terminator 3 was certainly the low part of the series, but Salvation was pretty good and Genisys was great, at least up until we got to the whole John Connor is a Cyborg thing – that was just stupid.

  4. photogdave

    All the Star Trek reboot movies. They are just dreadful!
    The cast is pretty good (except Simon Pegg as Scotty) but at the end of the day they’re just dumb loud action movies.
    Use the F/X available today in aid of making real Star Trek stories look great on the big screen.

    • William Henley

      Agreed. The first movie KINDA worked for me. I felt the whole 12-second-warp to Vulcan a bit far-fetched, but I thought “eh, maybe its closer than I thought, or maybe they didn’t start off from Earth.” But then we got cross-galaxy transporters, Instantaneous warp to the Klingon Home World, magical blood. Beyond was… not bad, but it was far from good.

      Unfortunately, the popularity of the reboots led us to the disaster that is Discovery. Now, at least the Spore Drive could be seen as leading to the reboots (does Discovery take place in the Kelvin Timeline? That would kind of make everything work). I guess Discovery is not THAT bad, I actually kind of like the mirror universe (it ties it in with the other series), but I am wishing I had Axanar instead of Discovery.

      I am hoping that the Picard series sets us back on the right track.

      What I really want is a series that takes place sometime after Voyager. Let’s stop rehashing the old stuff (actually I liked Enterprise, a LOT), let’s open up the universe a bit more.

  5. Graham

    I would take Terminator and make only 1 and 2 canon (which apparently the new one coming up is doing), and have an official third movie that is about the war leading up to when Reese goes back in time and when the terminators are sent back in time in the second movie. It wouldn’t necessarily have Reese as the main character, and it would definitely be the dark, violent, and scarier sci-fi atmosphere which the first two movies had.
    It would establish that the events of Terminator 2 led to a different universe/timeline where the war is prevented. In the war universe, Skynet is destroyed and the infrastructure and technology that Skynet AI built is taken under control, which provides hope for the rebuilding of humanity instead of being left with a world of destruction.

    or something like that.

    • William Henley

      So in other words, toss out Terminator 3 and keep Terminator 4 and 5? :-p Because that is what you just described. 🙂

  6. Csm101

    I would like a better Pacific Rim sequel. I know it would never happen, but I would’ve liked the story to go in a different direction then what the sequel did.

  7. EM

    I could be OK with following up on Son of Frankenstein while disregarding Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and the silly monster rallies that followed (the exceptionally worthwhile Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein has never been firmly canonical anyway). Bring back Ygor and Pretorius and, if the monster must meet a lycanthrope, the Werewolf of London. Since bringing back Karloff, Lugosi, et al. would be the supreme challenge, I suggest animation as in the aborted ILM CGI project Frankenstein vs. the Wolf Man.

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