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Prequel Problems: Introduction

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#3
I actually watched Origins Wolverine followed by Deadpool 2 in the cinema in one day.

The first third of Origins is actually pretty good, then once it starts going downhill it turns into a cavalcade of 'oh dear, they dragged *you* into this?
 

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#4
I actually watched Origins Wolverine followed by Deadpool 2 in the cinema in one day.

The first third of Origins is actually pretty good, then once it starts going downhill it turns into a cavalcade of 'oh dear, they dragged *you* into this?
Of course both Deadpool films have a go at the character's in-name-only appearance in Origins Wolverine. Which is fair enough, though I never got what was supposed to be so bad about the Reynolds Green Lantern film that it also deserved so much bile.

I'm glad I had the idea for this article series, I've already thought of material for a number of future ones.
 
#5
I think a sort of sub-genre of prequels is when a film (or book) comes out with a 'new take' on a well-known story and includes a back-story to explain the origin of the protagonist/legend/tale/etc. I've no idea how many back-stories there are for Robin Hood or King Arthur now, but they must be into the thousands - and many of them contradict each other.
In modern times the origins of various superheroes have been re-written a number of times, I think - though I'm not a great superhero fan, so take my opinion on that with a pinch of sale.
And sometimes the re-written / (re-)imagined back-story can become the one which is best known. I think I've finally got through to my daughter that the Disney version of various stories is not the only version; for example, the 2010 Rapunzel film ('Tangled') has the witch steal Rapunzel for her magic hair (whereas the Grimm Bros have her given to the witch by her father) and her rescuer is a thief (not the prince of most versions). So any future Rapunzel story will have to deal with the fact that thousands of children have that story in their heads.

As I say, that's tangentially related to your article, but with many of the same issues, I think.
 

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#6
I think a sort of sub-genre of prequels is when a film (or book) comes out with a 'new take' on a well-known story and includes a back-story to explain the origin of the protagonist/legend/tale/etc. I've no idea how many back-stories there are for Robin Hood or King Arthur now, but they must be into the thousands - and many of them contradict each other.
In modern times the origins of various superheroes have been re-written a number of times, I think - though I'm not a great superhero fan, so take my opinion on that with a pinch of sale.
And sometimes the re-written / (re-)imagined back-story can become the one which is best known. I think I've finally got through to my daughter that the Disney version of various stories is not the only version; for example, the 2010 Rapunzel film ('Tangled') has the witch steal Rapunzel for her magic hair (whereas the Grimm Bros have her given to the witch by her father) and her rescuer is a thief (not the prince of most versions). So any future Rapunzel story will have to deal with the fact that thousands of children have that story in their heads.

As I say, that's tangentially related to your article, but with many of the same issues, I think.
The best example I know of 'the rewritten backstory becomes best known' is the idea that Aladdin has only one genie in it, which stems from the simplified version rendered for the hugely influential 1930s film The Thief of Bagdad. The Disney version and all the other later ones owe more to that film than the original story.
 

M_Kresal

I am nerd, hear me bore.
Published by SLP
Location
North Alabama
#8
I've no idea how many back-stories there are for Robin Hood or King Arthur now, but they must be into the thousands - and many of them contradict each other.
In some ways, I think the two of them (and Arthur especially) might be the sort of root of alternate history as a genre. After all, it very much appears some version of a historical King Arthur existed. Only his story was to be retold and re-imagined, everyone adding a bit to it such as Lancelot. To the point we can invoke the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance logic of "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
#9
Does First Class Count as Prequel given it was part of a franchise that rapidly became a full reboot to get around the damage done by the original trilogy and also gracefully replace the fantastic actors with fresh blood?

I suppose it proves the point but the movie was so good and the equally good movies that followed fit so well with it that it seems only fair to count them as one block and that block clearly broke with the originals intentionally.


I guess my question is does it count as a prequel if its a time travel series?
 

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#10
Does First Class Count as Prequel given it was part of a franchise that rapidly became a full reboot to get around the damage done by the original trilogy and also gracefully replace the fantastic actors with fresh blood?

I suppose it proves the point but the movie was so good and the equally good movies that followed fit so well with it that it seems only fair to count them as one block and that block clearly broke with the originals intentionally.


I guess my question is does it count as a prequel if its a time travel series?
"First Class" is definitely a pure prequel because they didn't start with the time travel shenanigans until the film after that one, though I know what you mean. "First Class" literally duplicates flashback footage from the first X-Men film (young Magneto bending the gates) and then shows "what happened next", you can't get more prequelly than that.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
#11
"First Class" is definitely a pure prequel because they didn't start with the time travel shenanigans until the film after that one, though I know what you mean. "First Class" literally duplicates flashback footage from the first X-Men film (young Magneto bending the gates) and then shows "what happened next", you can't get more prequelly than that.
I guess for me it seems that even if they did not plan on it being a reboot when they started it rapidly became clear they had struck gold in way no other X-men film bar X-2 had a chance to make the franchise work.

So even if it was intended as a prequel it rapidly replaced the originals.

And then there is Logan which is a 'sequel' but written in such a way to 'conclude' the first trilogy. In that "everyone's dead and the only hope is a new generation that have zero to do with anything that came before."


I guess the X-Men franchise is its own thing in that its prequels and sequels of the 'main' story are both more popular and creatively went far further and to varying degrees decided that the 'main' series was just not good enough so would be relegated to a dark previous TL we'll never visit again.


Cyclops, Magneto and Mystique and Jean Grey all fit this on the character level, their arcs seem directly opposed to how they were portrayed in the main movies even if they had similar startpoints.


Which to run back around to my main point I'm not sure First Class is a prequel in the traditional sense given it rapidly booted up an entire new universe built on being better than came before with an entirely new creative vision that eventually goes as far as outright murdering the main timeline and then spending more movies exploring this than were in the original. It may have stayed faithful but it was clear that somewhere during the process the creative team and execs realised this was better than what had come before and future works would be a sequel to First Class, not a Prequel to X-Men.
 

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
Patreon supporter
Pronouns
he/him
#12
I still feel that First Class was a missed opportunity to give us an entire movie of Magneto wandering around 1960s Europe and South America in snazzy suits hunting Nazis. The scene where he confronts the exiles in that little bar in Argentina might be the best five minutes in the whole X-Men franchise outside Logan, though then again I don't think that's saying much.
 
#13
"First Class" is definitely a pure prequel because they didn't start with the time travel shenanigans until the film after that one, though I know what you mean. "First Class" literally duplicates flashback footage from the first X-Men film (young Magneto bending the gates) and then shows "what happened next", you can't get more prequelly than that.
But what is the correct terminology for Days of Future Past? A film that is part prequel, part sequel, and ultimately a reboot. Pre-seq-boot-quel?
 

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#15
I still feel that First Class was a missed opportunity to give us an entire movie of Magneto wandering around 1960s Europe and South America in snazzy suits hunting Nazis. The scene where he confronts the exiles in that little bar in Argentina might be the best five minutes in the whole X-Men franchise outside Logan, though then again I don't think that's saying much.
I believe First Class was originally pitched as X-Men Origins: Magneto before the criticism of the Wolverine film led them to retool it more towards what @Death's Companion was saying, although I'd still argue it is a prequel. The line is blurred a bit because it was always going to have to cast younger actors as Magneto and Xavier even if it had stayed more like Wolverine, so it would always have felt a bit 'reboot-ish' even if it was intended to be the same philosophy.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#16
I'd not say First Class is a prequel now because of the path of later films, but it was definitely intended to be one until Fox went "HOW many millions?!" and so counts as a model of how they can work.

2000AD have a series of "Dredd Year One/Two/Three" novellas that - and spinoffs with his corrupt brother and Anderson - which can often feel like standard Dreddy stories but being able to avoid the current status quo, rather than anything that justifies them being Year Past. That's annoying. But then some others make better use of it, with a standout being Al Ewing's "Wear Iron" which runs with the fact that this isn't yet the old-school Dredds but is slowly becoming that, rather than a more low-key grim dystopian future (as it looked in the flashback-sort-of-prequel-but-not Origins). A character is left horrified and sickened by the very concept of the absurdly fat citizens and their competitive gluttony from numerous strips; he still remembers the great food shortages of decades past and what we accept as a long-running gag is, to him, offensively decadent.

In some ways, I think the two of them (and Arthur especially) might be the sort of root of alternate history as a genre. After all, it very much appears some version of a historical King Arthur existed. Only his story was to be retold and re-imagined, everyone adding a bit to it such as Lancelot.
There's an inspired sequence in the Doctor Who book Earthworld where the companion, a childhood Athurian myth buff, is driven to despair that the far future is remembering everything wrong - the evil triplets Morgan, Lee, and Fay; the magical marlin fish enchanted itself and a lancet to become human companions of Arthur - and the Eighth Doctor asks how can she be sure the version she knows is any more accurate.
 

M_Kresal

I am nerd, hear me bore.
Published by SLP
Location
North Alabama
#18
I still feel that First Class was a missed opportunity to give us an entire movie of Magneto wandering around 1960s Europe and South America in snazzy suits hunting Nazis. The scene where he confronts the exiles in that little bar in Argentina might be the best five minutes in the whole X-Men franchise outside Logan, though then again I don't think that's saying much.
Funnily enough, that was precisely what First Class started out as. Sheldon Turner was commissioned in 2004 to write a Magneto Origins film that was in development as late as 2007, with McKellen playing the older Magneto framing the story around his younger self. Apparently the double punch of the 2007-8 WGA strike and Bryan Singer coming back into the X-Men fold is what killed the project, as Singer decided he wanted to tell a very different story and picked up on the First Class idea. Turner has a credit with the story on First Class, but only after Singer fought over the crediting.


here's an inspired sequence in the Doctor Who book Earthworld where the companion, a childhood Athurian myth buff, is driven to despair that the far future is remembering everything wrong - the evil triplets Morgan, Lee, and Fay; the magical marlin fish enchanted itself and a lancet to become human companions of Arthur - and the Eighth Doctor asks how can she be sure the version she knows is any more accurate.
Ha! That's one of the many Who novels I've not yet read, but I may have to seek it out now.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#19
Ha! That's one of the many Who novels I've not yet read, but I may have to seek it out now.
It has a double-gag in the characters going "WHAT?!" about the ludicrously incorrect 60s London part of the museum theme park, only to be completely unaware why weird boxy war machines around the Post Office Tower and big yetis are wandering around (except the future garbled it and thinks the War Machines were postmen)
 

Artaxerxes

Great! Barrington's up Edmund!
Location
#VALUE!
#20
Time Travel episodes/plot lines in Kong running franchises frequently hit some of the same snags as prequels and suggest a franchise running low on ideas.