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Though this week's The Bourne Legacy is technically a spinoff from the Bourne franchise that starred Matt Damon, the film's action actually takes place in large part during The Bourne Ultimatum, with Jason Bourne still out there wreaking havoc and exposing Treadstone, and our new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) dealing with his own problems of being a super-soldier. It's a neat idea for reviving a franchise, telling a new story that's happening within the framework of one we already know. So, of course, it gave us a few ideas.
What if we could tell side spin-offs-- or "sidequels," as Jordan Hoffman recently invented-- about other 2012 movies? What other films set up characters or ideas that you'd follow, not into their own story, but separately within the story already being told? We're not talking sequels or prequels here, but seeing a story from one movie told from a completely different angle-- kind of like Marty McFly traveling back to 1955 in Back to the Future Part II and seeing his own adventures from the first time around.
We came up with six sidequel ideas from 2012 movies. Take a look at them and let us know if you'd buy a ticket.
WARNING: Each entry may contain spoilers for its given movie. Read with caution!
Fugazy and Jr. Jr. of 21 Jump Street solve their own crimes.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s remake of 21 Jump Street, written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall, is the best action comedy of year and supposedly headed for a much deserved sequel. The March release followed Hill’s Schmidt andChanning Tatum’s Genko as they went undercover in a high school in order to bust a local drug ring, but their case wasn’t the only one being investigated by ‘Jump Street.’ That’s right, while Officers Schmidt and Genko were busy “poppin’ each other’s assholes,” Fugazy and Jr. Jr. (played by Dakota Johnson and Rye Rye aka Ryeisha Berrain) were closing cases left and right.
And while I’d also want to see the female officers’ origin and recruitment to Jump Street, as well as the overlapping run-ins with the original stars, the climax of their case would have to come after the conclusion of the first film. Fugazy and Jr. Jr. - names certainly worthy of their own adventure - have had an easy time working undercover for Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) so far, showing up the rest of the unit, but this time they run up against a case that even Korean Jesus can’t crack. You know, cause he busy…
Roache (Patton Oswalt) of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World plays out his own last days.
As much as we enjoyed Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for choosing an unpredictable scenario and largely sticking with it, we have to admit that the end-of-the-world comedy lost a bit of its anarchistic spark when it ditched Oswalt’s deliciously sleazy Roache after the adult party devolved into a heroin haze. Most films follow a structure – whether loose or rigid – that prevent truly unexpected actions from occurring. But a comedy centered around a character freed of all inhibitions due to the pending Armageddon could have been more than simply freeing. It could have been revolutionary.
And Oswalt – as both a comedian and an actor – has the ability to remain likable, even as he’s telling Steve Carell that his female relatives might want to sleep with him. Scafaria barely scratched the surface of the levels of debauchery a character like Roache could have reached in a no-hold-barred comedy. We liked where Seeking a Friend eventually went. Now lets go back and see where Roache went between the end of the party and the end of the world.
A day in the life of Rick Gergenblatt (Ken Marino) in Wanderlust
We all may complain about them on a regular basis, but the world needs assholes. Yes, they can be endlessly obnoxious and annoying, but culture would be less rich without characters like Eric Cartman and Larry David. And this year we were introduced to the newest member of the Legion of Pop Culture Assholes, Rick Gergenblatt, as played by Ken Marino in David Wain’s Wanderlust. Though he’s only featured in a few scenes, Rick absolutely steals the film with his bossiness, dickish comments, anger management issues and unrelenting one-upmanship. And what’s more, he has terrific, brotherly chemistry with Paul Rudd, who plays George Gergenblatt. So why not create a buddy comedy about the two of them?
Set late in the film after George have left Linda (Aniston) and has returned to stay at Rick’s house. The movie would be set over the course of one workday with Rick and George stuck in the office together making each other more and more miserable. Other co-workers would occasionally filter in, but the film would largely watch as the two brothers grow angrier and angrier until full-blown sibling rage erupts. With only one location the movie would be very cheap to make and has the potential to be very funny. So why not?
Batman makes his way back to Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises
More than any other idea on this list, this spinoff will never happen-- Nolan's Batman is done, end of story. But I can't be the only one who stopped to wonder near the end of The Dark Knight Rises just how Batman crawled out of a prison hole in the desert, then made his way back to Gotham, despite having no identification, mode of transportation, or even remaining family fortune to fall back on. It's the kind of effort that you figure only Batman is capable of… and a story that might make for a decent movie of its own, come to think of it.
But forget trying to put together another massive superhero film about these adventures. Instead, think back to the most classic example of a road trip gone wrong. Yes, Batman needs to star in his own Planes, Trains and Automobiles, complete with a John Candy-style pain-in-the-ass sidekick to make it all more difficult but teach him some valuable lessons in the end. Bruce Wayne could learn to ditch the gravelly voice! The sidekick could help him build a Batarang out of motel soap! The possibilities are ridiculous, totally unlikely, but endlessly fun to think about anyway.
The tragic love story of Vickers (Charlize Theron) and Janek (Idris Elba) in Prometheus
Everything about Weyland Corporation exec Meredith Vickers screams ice queen, but one night on the bridge, we see a spicy new side to her thanks to the jovial ribbing of the happy-go-lucky Captain Janek. That Ridley Scott's R-rated feature did not deliver on the hot love scene that surely followed is a disappointment and a wasted opportunity, as Theron and Elba's chemistry was crackling with verve.
Imagine an alternate version of the film, where Elizabeth's quest to meet the Engineers is backdrop for Vickers and Janek's brief but fiery love affair. They'd meet at the Weyland Corporation offices when Janek comes in to interview for the position on the Prometheus mission. There's a spark as Janek's broad smile catches Vickers' eye, but she's slightly repulsed by his impulsive nature. Once awakened aboard the ship, the pair would butt heads as their motives (the crew's safety/the integrity of the mission) collide. Then tragically, not long after their fiery night of passion, the two are parted forever as Janek sacrifices himself, his ship, and the safety of his new love to save mankind. Of course, in this version it'd be better if Vickers loves and loses rather than being crushed by a massive spacecraft.
More stories from the white board in Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods was perfect on its own and needs no spin-off film to complete it. However, if ever there was a movie this year set up for one, it's Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's Cabin. The elevator scene and the white board of monsters both present plenty of scenarios ripe for a spin-off focusing on some parallel story, or perhaps a prequel set in the late 70's/early 80's as a nod to the Halloween/Prom Night era (preferably with a Jamie Lee Curtis cameo).
But the potential spin-off scenario that already seems set up in Cabin is a Japanese horror film that tells the story of the school children we glimpsed facing off against the Ring-like ghost. Sure, we already know the outcome to their story, which involved the children turning the ghost into a frog, but how exactly did they come up with the spell to defeat her? Also, how did the Japanese technicians attempt to manipulate the children, and where did they go wrong? There's a whole other story to be told there and one that could be a lot of fun to watch. And it could give Joss and Drew the opportunity to explore the humor in Japanese horror films the way they did American horror films.