Julien Neaves – Editor
So you just finished watching a slam bang of a movie and you are immediately ready to dive right back into that world through its inevitable sequels. But unfortunately your search for Werewolf Dwarf Strippers II turns up nada. What the jail?!
Unfortunately, dear movie lover, some filmmakers don’t want to just slap a roman numeral and subtitle to their films, but get a little more creative with their sequel titles. And then there are film franchises with multiple sequels, reboots and remakes. So…many…remakes. Here are five film franchises whose titles may have the casual moviegoer scratching their noggin:
#5 Final Destination
Now things were going so well with this horror franchise featuring unseen Death killing attractive people via Rube Goldberg machine-esque machinations. We had Final Destination, Final Destination 2 and Final Destination 3. So far, so good. Then we have part four which is named THE Final Destination. Well, okay this is the FINAL Final Destination right? Nope. There was another entry, Final Destination 5, where they resumed the numbering for some reason. It’s just a tad confusing and that’s why the franchise is only at number five.
Now you’ll have to pay attention for this one. The first film in the Sylvester Stallone testosterone-infused action franchise is First Blood. The sequel, and the one where he turns into a one-man killing machine, is Rambo: First Blood Part II. We are all fine and dandy. Things begin to get sticky with the third film, Rambo III. Shouldn’t it be First Blood Part III? Or technically Rambo Part II? Nope. Rambo III.
And things would only get worse with the fourth entry which had three names: Rambo (easily confused with part one), Rambo IV (similar problem with Rambo III) and John Rambo (yeah, no help there). Thankfully the fifth and final entry is called Rambo: Last Blood which really takes things full bloody circle.
#3 Star Wars
For non-Star Wars fans you may want to take some notes for this one. The gargantuan space opera franchise started with the film Star Wars in 1977. Of course, that makes sense. But then it was later subtitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Wait, the first film is the fourth? What? And then the next two films were Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). What about parts one to three, you may ask? Well you would have to wait 16 years for Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which kicked off the “prequel trilogy”, followed by Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).
And that’s it right? Nope. Then you have the “sequel trilogy” which started a decade later with Episode VII – The Force Awakens, continued with Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) and will conclude with Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker this December. So parts four to six came out first, followed by parts one to three and then parts seven to nine. Gotcha. Not confusing at all. And I haven’t even gotten to the two anthology films, the animated Clone Wars film, the two Ewok spin-off films or the dreaded Holiday Special. I told you to take notes.
#2 Fast and Furious
Oh where to begin. Well I guess the start makes sense. The first film in this street-racing-turned-action franchise was called The Fast and the Furious. The sequel was 2 Fast 2 Furious. A little silly but we could live with it. But then we crash and burn with the third entry The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. So much to unpack. This entry is not only missing a number three but it features an entirely new cast (except for a Vin Diesel cameo at the end) and chronologically it is set between the sixth and seventh entries. What? That makes no sense.
And the confusion is only compounded with the fourth entry Fast and Furious which sounds like the first entry. Who thought removing the “The” was a good idea for a title? Probably the same smart alec that came up with 2 Fast 2 Furious. Thankfully the fifth, sixth and seventh entries featured numbers (Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7) which made things a bit easier to follow, though part five and seven only using part of the franchise’s name was not that helpful. We get back into confusing territory with the eighth entry The Fate of the Furious. Did they get tired numbering the films? Nope, because the next entry due in 2020 is called Fast and Furious 9. I give up. I just give up.
And here we have it ladies and gentlemen – the mother of all franchises with confusing titles. Hallo-fricking-ween. This horror franchise featuring slasher Michael Myers (99 per cent of the time) is a doozy, so you may want to take out your flow chart and coloured markers. The first film, which came out in 1978, is called Halloween. This was followed by Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and the latter is the one where they ditched Double M and tried to go into an anthology franchise. But then they had to go back to old pale face with the fourth entry Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and then the fifth was Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. The sixth entry dropped the numbering and just went with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Now I hear you thinking dear reader (that’s my superpower btw) that this all sounds pretty standard. Well stay tuned, because it’s about to get complicated.
The next entry was Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later which was the first reboot and a direct sequel to Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981). We then had a sequel to Halloween H20 called Halloween: Resurrection which had 90s-rapper Busta Rhymes boxing with Michael Myers. Don’t ask. Then musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie got his hands on the franchise and re-rebooted it with Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009). Yes, he gave his films the same names as the first two films. And it’s not over yet!
Last year the series was re-re-rebooted with Halloween and this ignores everything but the 1978 original with which it shares the same name. Thankfully the next two films will be called Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends and not Halloween II and Halloween III again! So let’s recap – we have four timelines, three reboots, three films called Halloween, two films called Halloween II, and one anthology entry. I don’t know about you but my brain is hurting. I’m going to go lie down.
Know any other franchises with confusing titles? Why not share them in the comments? And if you enjoyed this list how about giving it a like and a share? Sharing is caring.
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Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce.”