How Sequels Can Deliver The Good Stuff

II or 2 in roman numerals. A symbol for a film sequel or Nash II: The Ethernal Realm.

Hey everyone!

Has this year felt like it’s flying by for you? It sure has for me!

Already at April, I’ve been making good progress on Nash II, a sequel to the Nash: The True Nemesis screenplay I completed last year. As I’ve worked through the Story Plan and now move onto writing a full Treatment, I’ve begun to think about the whole concept of sequels.

A sequel is a piece of media that comes directly after another piece of media. It will usually continue on after the story events of the original piece.

But what makes a good sequel? And why? What can a sequel achieve that the original never could? And how am I taking all these thoughts/lessons and applying them to my Nash sequel?

Let’s dive into these points.

What makes a good sequel?

I took a bit of a browse across the web to find a selection of reasons I agree with as to what makes a good sequel.

  • It gives the viewer something new but still feels familiar
  • It plays with expectations built in the original
  • It offers more of what made the original special
  • It doesn’t retcon or undermine past events
  • It moves the characters forward
  • It leaves some time between the last entry and this entry.

While I agree with these points overall, they can be very subjective. One might think a story moves the characters forward, while another thinks it doesn’t do enough. One might feel new and familiar skews too much in one direction while another believes the balance is just right.

You’ll never win everyone over, but I believe the best ground to stand on is the middle ground. The Force Awakens didn’t go far enough to differentiate itself from past entries, but then The Last Jedi went too far in the opposite direction. Something that hit in the middle of these two might’ve been better received and remembered by audiences.

One point I particularly like and agree with is the last item on that list. With few exceptions (Back to the Future Trilogy is one of them), I believe a sequel is much stronger when it puts some distance between it and the previous entry. This time allows a sequel to backfill story in much the same way an original has to, allowing it to build intrigue and mystery about what the viewer hasn’t seen or doesn’t know about yet.

What can a sequel do that an original film can’t?

Now that we’ve talked about what makes a good sequel, let’s dive into the things a sequel can do that an original can’t usually achieve on its own.

It continues the story

With some exceptions, an original story typically only captures part of a character(s) life. Even if it dives deep, it really only touches one part of the puzzle. But life doesn’t stop when that original story ends. It keeps going. A sequel allows us to see what happens next. What are the next big challenges the characters might face? How will the characters use what they’ve learnt in the original to solve new challenges that are coming their way?

It continues to build out the world

Just like our lives are a small part of this world, so too is a character(s) journey in an original story. Even while they might be saving the world, things are still chugging along in the background. The next big antagonist might’ve been biding their time and developing. A sequel allows us to see beyond the narrow original viewpoint. It allows us to understand characters and factions on a much deeper level. Life is complex, and one story can only do so much lifting. But sequels. They can build out so much more. They can help create a truly living, breathing world.

It allows the character to truly develop

Characters typically undergo a transformational arc throughout an original story. They start in a certain state and end in a different one. But what happens next? How do they apply what they’ve learnt? Do they fall back into old patterns? Real life isn’t all good things. It’s ups and downs. A sequel allows us to see what comes next for a character after that happy ending. It allows us to really dive deep into a character. To keep building and strengthening them with the additional time a sequel gifts.

What lessons am I applying to Nash II?  

Writing this article has given me a chance to dive deep into what others think makes a good sequel and the strengths of sequels. For the most part, it aligns with my own thoughts. It put into perspective the decisions I’ve been making when planning out Nash II.

Nash II dives deeper into the world and lore that started in Nash I. But by doing so, it opens a path to introduce many new concepts, characters and factions. The whole film is a shift for the audience, but I think it still feels familiar when it needs to feel familiar.

By having an already established world in Nash I, Nash II is able to comfortably expand on that. It doesn’t need to establish as many of the basics as the original, so it has a lot of room to dive deeper and launch new and more complex ideas. In a previous blog, I spoke a bit about my love of Halo’s original trilogy structure. Halo CE introduces the basics and Halo 2 explodes outwards with all the finer details to give much greater clarity and insight to the world. Nash I and Nash II operate in much the same way.

Nash II takes place 4 years after the original. This has allowed me to create character development and world-building events between the two films. I actually went so far as to write multiple pages about what all the main characters were doing during this time and how they got to where they are at the start of the sequel. The development between the films will be explored and backfilled throughout, creating mystery for the audience.

And finally, Nash II allows for much greater character development. Nash I was all about The Vigor Force coming together, overcoming all the obstacles, and finally bonding to become friends and a team. In Nash II, they’ve been a team for a while now. At last we get to see how they operate together. We see a team in sync. The challenges are greater, but now they’re better prepared to take them on. And that gives them the fighting chance they may not have had before.

Well, that wraps up my little dive into sequels. Do you agree with my points about what makes a great sequel? Do you agree with the advantages a sequel brings? Tell me about some of the best (and worst) sequels you’ve come across. You can do it all in the comments below or on my socials.

So, what’s next?

Well, I can’t avoid the elephant in the room much longer. It’s time to talk about what has clearly been a big inspiration on Nash. Star Wars… But I’ll warn you now, it’s going to get a bit controversial.

Til next time,


One thought on “How Sequels Can Deliver The Good Stuff

  1. I agree the sequels can be very informing and also the offspring’s usually make it more interesting. Most sequels I found some even better than the first, the exception was the movie The Scorpion King wasn’t too bad but the the second and third were bad low budget films and terrible scripts not worth watching.

    Liked by 1 person

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