10 Long-Awaited Movie Sequels That Prove They Never Should’ve Happened


  • Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines failed to reach the heights of its predecessors, lacking the connection to the original films and the inspired concepts brought by James Cameron.
  • Zoolander 2 came 15 years later and couldn’t recapture the satire of the original, with jokes that were out of touch and controversy surrounding casting choices.
  • The Matrix Resurrections couldn’t live up to the groundbreaking original trilogy, as it tried to reinvigorate the same excitement with a sequel that didn’t offer anything new or thought-provoking.

Some long-awaited movie sequels should have stayed in development hell. As creating expansive franchises and building on existing intellectual properties continues to be popular, studios are capitalizing on their popularity by revisiting older titles and creating remakes, reboots, long-awaited sequels, and adaptations into other formats. However, not every movie pulled out of the archives deserves or needs a follow-up movie.

Films that won over audiences thanks to their brilliant concepts and ingenious execution, like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Tron, provided a great ending for their respective stories. While excitement can build around these long-awaited sequels, like with The Matrix Resurrections, not every overdue sequel is successful, or even a good thing for the franchise. Unfortunately, for every smash hit success like Top Gun: Maverick, there are several more disappointing sequels that come out years later and don’t live up to the previous entries.

10 Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003)

There’s No Beating James Cameron

Arnold Schwarzenegger carrying a coffin in Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines

The first two Terminator movies were both written and directed by one of the all-time greatest filmmakers, James Cameron. With the first film released in 1984, and T2: Judgment Day coming out in 1991, there was already a precedent of a sizable gap between entries. But when Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003, it failed to reach the incredible heights of its predecessors. Schwarzenegger reprised his role, but without much else giving it a firm connection to the original movies, it felt very different, and the story was a noticeable shift away from the inspired concepts first brought to life by Cameron.

9 Zoolander 2 (2016)

15 Years Later, Derek Zoolander Is Out Of Style

When Zoolander came out in 2001, it was widely praised for its satirical commentary on the fashion industry, and the performances of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the leads. However, when Stiller returned to write and direct a sequel 15 years after the original, the time had passed for Zoolander. In a movie stuffed with celebrity cameos, Zoolander 2’s story and themes garnered less praise and more frustration from would-be moviegoers with jokes that were deemed out of touch, and controversy around the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of a non-binary character.

Related: 10 Movie Sequels That Should’ve Been Huge, But Flopped Hard

8 The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

There Was No More Story To Tell

The Matrix Resurrections Morpheus Neo Bugs

Lana Wachowski returned to the franchise that she and her sister created, The Matrix, to write and direct a sequel in 2021. After Neo effectively brokered a peace treaty between the humans and the machines and gave everyone the opportunity to be free, The Matrix Resurrections sees him stuck back inside the machine once again. The original trilogy was groundbreaking and quickly developed a devoted fanbase. Much more than just another sci-fi movie, The Matrix explored questions of reality and the perceived world that appeared to strike a chord. Trying to reinvigorate that same level of excitement and thoughtfulness in a sequel that simply did more of the same, Resurrections was doomed from the start.

7 Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

Too Much Advertising, Not Enough Plot

Space Jam 2 With Lebron James

Space Jam: A New Legacy serves as both a sequel to the 1996 film and a standalone film. Despite this, the movie feels like a remake with more cameos and slightly modernized settings. The sports comedy with live-action and animated characters fails to recapture the magic of the original as it opts to serve more as a two-hour-long movie commercial for many of Warner Bros. other IPs. The studios would have been better off putting the budget into actual marketing, rather than dressing it up as a new movie.

6 Tron: Legacy (2010)

Better CGI, Less Charm

The story, the acting, and the CGI for Tron: Legacy were all pretty good, but the exceptional sets, costumes, and visuals outshone everything else that the film had to offer. In many ways, this faithfully repeated what the earlier film did in 1982, but Tron was a historical piece of cinema history, becoming the first film to use CGI to such an extent, including hundreds of shots that relied on the techniques, and dedicating 15 minutes of the total runtime to purely computer generated images (via The Guardian). Tron: Legacy couldn’t rely on the lights and flashiness to carry the story, and as a result, it failed to live up to the original.

5 Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)

Indy, An Estranged Child, And An Alien Invasion

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones 4 all bedraggled with a bloody lip, clutching grimly to an alien crystal skull as he tromps through the jungle

Prior to the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the previous entry in the series, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, came out in 1989. Almost 20 years later, the story picks up with Harrison Ford’s Indy returning to find himself caught up in an adventure with aliens and his long-lost son. Of course, the Indiana Jones movies are not grounded in reality, with magic and exaggerated action throughout, but the aliens were probably a touch too far. On top of that, the climax of the movie just sees the aliens come to life and then leave Earth, resolving any sort of threat on their own.

Related: 9 Great Sci-Fi Movies That Deserved A Sequel (& Why They Didn’t Happen)

4 Disenchanted (2022)

The Magic Is Gone

disenchanted amy adams as giselle

2007’s Enchanted introduced the world to the bright and bubbly princess Giselle, played by Amy Adams. The film was charming and an innovative take on portal fantasy with a fairytale world colliding with the mundanities of New York City life. Disenchanted tried to flip this same concept again, with Giselle accidentally bringing the fairytale into the real world. There are fun moments, and the story is light, but it struggles to deliver the same magic and whimsy that the original was able to seamlessly evoke.

3 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Just Another Disaster Movie

Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison in Independence Day: Resurgence

In 1996, Independence Day managed to dominate the box office for that year as it defined and inspired a new generation of sci-fi disaster movies. However, the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, failed to even lead the box office for its month, losing out to Finding Dory. The film manages to be visually impressive but lacks a compelling story, and ironically, the originality that led to its predecessor’s success.

2 Dumb And Dumber To (2014)

Prank Wars But Dumber

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star as two men who prove that two heads are not always better than one. The original film received generally favorable reviews in 1994, but Dumb and Dumber To struggled to repeat the success. 20 years on, the dimwitted duo find themselves caught up in similar shenanigans to the original film as they cluelessly walk headlong into dangerous situations. The film repeats many of the same beats as the original, but 20 years later, the jokes don’t land the same and the film struggles to create genuinely funny moments.

1 Son Of The Mask (2005)

Without Jim Carrey, The Series Died

Jamie Kennedy as the new Mask in Son of the Mask

Jim Carrey starred as the titular character in 1994’s The Mask, but while the studio was desperate to repeat the success and develop a sequel, Carrey had moved on. Without Carrey’s involvement, the entire movie needed to be rewritten, recast, and revised, but perhaps it should just have been retired. The film was a financial failure and received overwhelmingly negative reviews. The new concept was interesting, but it failed to pull itself together into something worth watching.

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