SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains details about the endings of six ‘90s Disney movies. If you have not seen all of them, at least proceed with caution.
Well, it looks like the upcoming sequel to Hocus Pocus is well on its way, which is certainly exciting, but, all in all, not too surprising, to be honest. I mean, not only has Hocus Pocus 2 - which is set to be exclusively released on Disney+ in the fall of 2022 - been demanded by its loyal, multi-generational fanbase for years, but it is only the latest of many ‘90s Disney movies to receive a follow-up.
What surprises me, however, is the number of classics from the now nostalgic decade that Disney has yet to give the same treatment to. In fact, I have few favorites in mind that have never spawned a proper sequel, but should have by now, if you ask me. Allow me to plead my case for why Disney should revive the following ‘90s movies, starting with another 1993 release that is also perfect to watch around Halloween…or another particular holiday.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
We last saw Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) at the end of this cult classic discovering his love for Sally (Catherine O’Hara) and rediscovering his love for Halloween through a disastrous attempt to take over Christmas, and saw the Halloween Town residents finally understand the holiday’s true meaning with help from Santa’s magical snowfall. The question that remains is if we can really call The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie.
Personally, I do not need an answer (because it is both as far as I am concerned), but would like to see a sequel that offers commentary on the matter in light of how prevalent the debate of what constitutes a Christmas movie has become. On top of that, I am certain many Nightmare Before Christmas obsessives would love to know how Jack and Sally are holding up, and see story creator Tim Burton re-team with director Henry Selick on a new stop motion animation film and not just a comic book tie-in, like they released in 2018.
James And The Giant Peach (1996)
Speaking of Henry Selick, his follow-up to The Nightmare Before Christmas was another creepy Disney film about a young man processing an identity crisis through extraordinary circumstances. Paul Terry plays the orphaned title character of James and the Giant Peach, who ends up finally achieving a peaceful existence with his new family of anthropomorphic bugs living inside the pit of the large, magical fruit they used to travel to New York City.
Author Roald Dahl never wrote a follow-up to the 1961 book that inspired this Oscar-nominated adventure, so I am not sure what the next step in these characters lives might look like. I do know, however, that it would look stunning to return to the beautiful world created by combining live-action filmmaking with stop animation effects. There was talk of remaking the film with director Sam Mendes in 2016, but I think expanding on the universe would be more fun than reinterpreting it.
A Bug's Life (1998)
Another set of bugs whom I would like to check in with are the characters from A Bug’s Life, which was the second feature-length movie from Pixar. It follows bumbling underdog ant, Flik (Dave Foley), who rises above his reputation as the laughing stock of his colony by bravely saving it from an oppressive swarm of grasshoppers with the help of circus performers posing as “warrior bugs.”
The closest we have had to any semblance of A Bug’s Life 2 was a cameo by Flik and the scene-stealing caterpillar, Heimlich (the late Joe Ranft), in a faux blooper during the credits of Toy Story 2 in 1999. Well, this is a Pixar movie sequel I would actually love to see, for a few reasons. For one, it would be great to see a reunion of the all-star cast (also including Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Princess Atta and Hayden Penetierre as her sister, Dot) and I think this underrated gem deserves to be remembered for more than being the other animated movie about ants from 1998, after Dreamworks’ Antz.
Another underrated gem from the late ‘90s is RocketMan - not to be confused with the Elton John biopic from 2019. This out of this world comedy (in which Elton John’s “Rocketman” actually does play over the closing credits) stars underrated comedian Harland Williams as a clumsy man-child who gets the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of being an astronaut when he is selected for the first manned mission to Mars.
The movie ends with our hero, Fred Z. Randall, saving his crew from suffering a deadly crash in the middle of a wild storm on the Red Planet and getting the woman of his dreams (Jessica Lundy) to fall in love with him in the process. I think a new movie about their son or daughter causing unintentional mayhem at NASA would be a cool idea, and not just to prevent the original from falling deeper into obscurity in the midst of the synonymous Elton John movie. Really, I just want to see a funny space movie again and, maybe, see Harland Williams make a comeback.
The Parent Trap (1998)
Speaking of comebacks, the world has been waiting to see Lindsay Lohan rise above her behind-the-scenes reputation and move back into the spotlight for years, and her latest attempt is an upcoming holiday rom-com called Falling for Christmas. Well, in case that 2022 Netflix movie release is not quite the hit she hoped for, I think it would be really cool to see her reprise her roles from the film that launched her movie career and celebrated an anniversary not long ago, The Parent Trap - writer and director Nancy Meyers’ remake of 1961 film about long-lost twin sisters who switch places in the hope of reuniting their divorced parents.
Speaking of that original film, starring Hayley Mills as twin sisters Susan and Sharon, it actually did spawn a made-for-TV sequel in which Sharon is unexpectedly reunited with Susan when her daughter schemes to set her up with her new friend’s single father. I think that concept could generate a pretty good modern rom-com with a fresh enough script, effectively making this new film both a sequel and a remake. I can understand if that phrase sounds discouraging, but if done right, this could be the film that brings Lohan back to the A-list.
Another ‘90s Disney movie, which is also unjustifiably underrated, is The Rocketeer - a Dark Horse comic book adaptation helmed director Joe Johnston 20 years before he made a more commercially successful superhero period piece with Captain America: The First Avenger. I was going to include that one in this list before I learned that a Disney+ exclusive reboot is already in the works from producer David Oyelowo. With a new Rocketeer and a new Hocus Pocus on the way, maybe it is only a matter of time before another one of my sequel hopefuls above gets the green light!
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.