Franchises come and go, but some go much quicker than studios may have planned. Some are one and done, others have been waiting for a third installment for a decade or longer. In certain cases, hope is being kept alive by fans who want more adventures, even if there are fewer than what it would take to bring the franchise back in earnest.
What I'm saying is, there are a lot of reasons some franchises never got the full trilogy that was planned. Here are some fantastic examples below, though in a few of these cases, it's a lot more obvious than others why we never saw more movies.
With the help of a smooth visuals and a Daft Punk soundtrack, Tron: Legacy has gathered a cult following over the last decade. Unfortunately, the return of the Tron franchise failed to impress at the box office, and as such, plans for Tron 3 were scrapped. We do know from director Joseph Kosinski there was an outline for the third movie, and it would've taken place in both the digital and real worlds, with characters of all types jumping between. Kosinski recently said that Disney still has interest in keeping Tron alive, so maybe fans should keep pushing if they want to see this.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army set the stage for what could've been a huge third installment in the Hellboy franchise. The title character was going to be a dad, he left the B.P.R.D. and was likely well on his way to being the harbinger of the apocalypse. Unfortunately, the same thing happened to Hellboy 3 that has happened to a number of Guillermo del Toro projects: it was set aside and never returned to. Now we have a Hellboy reboot that did not do well, and while Ron Perlman is willing, I'm not sure even he can make this third installment ever happen.
Ok, so technically there's been way more than three Alien movies, but the plan with Prometeheus was to deliver a prequel trilogy that told the story of what led to Alien. While Alien: Covenant is still relatively a new movie at the time of writing, its box office performance compared to Prometheus' has cast some doubt that Ridley Scott's third movie in this trilogy will happen. There has been talk about how this movie would bridge the gap to the original movie, but for now, we have yet to see any meaningful progress in its development.
28 Days Later
28 Days Later was a riveting and revolutionary zombie movie, and while 28 Weeks Later wasn't quite the cinematic classic, it still held its own as a serviceable horror. The crown jewel of this franchise is seeing how the world improves/deteriorates in the wake of this insane situation, which is why there are still folks clamoring for 28 Months Later. Alex Garland has gone on record in saying that while there is a plan, it would probably never happen, which is a bummer. I'll personally continue to hold out hope though, because quality horror franchises are hard to come by, and I think that sooner or later, this project will come up in Hollywood again.
While people may continue to discuss whether Kill Bill is one or two movies, there's others still wondering if the fated third movie will ever happen. Quentin Tarantino teased "it is definitely in the cards" in late 2019, and with over a decade and a half since the second movie, that little girl should be well old enough to track down The Bride for some revenge. I'm also just genuinely curious as to what Beatrix Kiddo is up to, and would love to see a movie delving into her life nowadays.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
This one hurt because there was so much potential and star-power packed into 2011's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig give a solid performance, and David Fincher's vision made it seem like sequels were a no-brainer. And yet, critical acclaim, five Academy Award nominations and one win wasn't enough to get Sony on board for more sequels. Was it underperformance at the box office? Daniel Craig being tied to James Bond and wanting more money? Obviously the source material wasn't a problem because it got another reboot. This one hurt, and it's still hard to explain exactly why.
Disney had grand plans for Taylor Kitsch and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, as John Carter could've been the beginning of not only a trilogy, but an 11 installment blockbuster film franchise. Unfortunately, the first movie flopped and lost Disney a whole heap of money by the time it was all said and done. Critics were lukewarm on the movie as well, which made the prospect of a sequel ever happening slim to none even in the weeks following its release.
There has been talk of National Treasure 3 for over a decade, and yet, we still have no movie. The latest news is that the next installment is still on track, though I can certainly understand anyone's skepticism given all the past updates on this Nicolas Cage family thriller. The good news this time is that there's also a television show in development for Disney+, which could mean Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney are both invested enough to bring the next movie to theaters sooner rather than later.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a successful franchise for decades, but apparently that success can only go so far. While the original film franchise managed to make it to a third movie, the updated reboot was not so lucky. Audiences responded poorly to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows, and ultimately Paramount decided it was best to try for another reboot rather than go for a third movie. I can certainly respect that, especially given how weird and poorly received the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III was.
Di you have other great franchises that were robbed of the three films they deserved? As always, the comments are open for your ideas and suggestions, so post there and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in the world of television and movies.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.