Comics Creators

Can a sequel (or prequel) "ruin" the original?


Can a later installment of a movie series “ruin” an amazing original? Or will the original always stand on its own?

Sub-question - Is your answer the same or different if we are talking about comic book runs/story-arcs? Or, TV shows/seasons?


i still love JAWS regardless of how pants the follow ups were.
Point made,
Mods can close this thread now! :joy:


Only if you want it to.


I think it depends on the franchise.


Movies - no

Comics - yes

TV - yes

With the latter two the whole is more important than an individual issue or episode. If the majority of the whole is terrible, that outweighs/ over shadows the excellence of the minority. And vice versa.

With movies, each installment is more of a standalone deliverable (or should be), so it’s easier to ignore a crap sequel or prequel, without it invalidating the original.


The Matrix sequels diminished the original a bit by trivializing it with less than compelling explorations of the world.

Aliens added more to Alien. Prometheus added less to both. :wink:

What poor sequels can do though is turn people off of the material on the whole.

At the same time, the prequels were maligned by Star Wars fans, but for many who first encountered Star Wars through them, they are loved better than the now dated original films.


Think about it in terms of your sub-question, and you would realise that it’s an impossible position to take. Every long-running comic character – every single one – has had at least one stinker of a story at some point in their continuity. If you let that one bad story dictate how you view the earlier (and later) good stories in the series, then you must hate every single comic book ever published, so why are you even on this forum? :wink:


I think comics have one advantage in that regard. Changing creative teams mean you can more easily compartmentalise the good from the bad.

The problem comes when it’s the same creator working on a run. For example, JMS’ Amazing Spider-man. If that run ended before Sins Past, it would have been hailed as an all time classic, and I believe people would still remember his run fondly.

However “Sins Past” lead to “The Other”, leading to “One More Day”.

It’s hard to be a JMS apologist when that happens.


No, unless the stories are linked.
Like my previous thoughts on movie trilogies, if BTTF Part 3 had been insanely bad then Part 2 would have been weakened cause the conclusion to those plot points would have not been good. And those two are tied at that level.

But otherwise, if the film series or comic story or spin-off TV show, is episodic (or closed off) in nature - then it doesn’t really matter.
Can anyone really say that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ruins Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Or that Die Hard 2 ruined Die Hard?
Course not, because each installment exists in a vaccuum.


I like to see at the JMS and JRJr. run. So that leaves the perfect break point. :wink:


That’s what I’ve done too :wink:

It’s a coping mechanism.


Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo


What if we drill down the comics one to look at retcons to previous stories?

I remember when I was (age redacted) and read Amazing Spider-Man #400, the issue where Aunt May dies. It really hit me hard and stuck with me for a long time because I had recently lost a grandparent.

Later on they would retcon that story to say that that was not really Aunt May, it was an actress who Norman Osborn hired to pretend to be her.

Even though I know that when they wrote the original story, that was intended to really be Aunt May and not an impostor, I find that it’s hard to re-read it and get the same feeling because I “know” that it’s not really Aunt May if you view that story in conjunction with what came after it.



But I agree with this;

You can kill a franchise with poor additional films, but then people can rediscover what made it interesting in the first place.


Two of my favorites comedies are Caddyshack and Airplane!. They are brilliant pieces of work that I still enjoy. They also each spawned god-awful, complete shit sequels.

My love for the originals hasn’t diminished and I simply ignore the sequels.


Completely dependant on the mindset of the individual - if they are prone to moaning about stuff then yes


Comic book fans would NEVER be like that…


Colin Farrell gif!!!

I think it’s safe to say that the Matrix sequels killed a lot of the enthusiasm fans had for the original itself. Hardly anyone talks about it like they used to. Back in 1999, this was literally the beginning of people being disappointed, ultimately, with the Star Wars prequels, because something new had stolen the zeitgeist.

Later seasons of Lost suffered the same fate; they ruined the hardcore love the first season engendered, because they did things fans didn’t really want, in ways they didn’t really want, until the big flash-forward twist, and then the series did it again with the final episode, and now you don’t really hear anyone talking about how awesome any of it was.

But it’s not as if everything that’s massively unpopular in later installments will do this; Superman III and IV, the varying levels of disinterest and/or massive hate of the three movies that follow it don’t leave 1989 Batman in the dustbin, The Dark Knight Returns is still loved despite Miller’s later perceived misfires, the Ultimate line isn’t dismissed despite a fairly wretched fate…

There are degrees to this, depending on how big the later changes are, how much they diverge from what originally made something popular. But it also works in reverse, such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is widely considered the savior of that franchise, making sweeping creative changes that were enthusiastically embraced.


I think it’s possible that it subconsciously affects even the most compartmentalizeable minds, and I suspect the matrix really is a good example of that. If I gave a natural off the cuff response to the original question, I’d say “no” for myself, but with a bit of introspection, I suspect the matrix sequels made me less likely to rewatch the original, even though I still think it’s great.

For movies in particular, I suspect the time between releases plays a big role. There’s enough time between terminator 2 and the next installments in the series that I think hardly anyone would say that it reflects anything about the original two films.

With TV, I don’t think the question is really applicable, is it? Maybe if you’re talking about spinoffs, but I think those almost always tend to be pretty easy to isolate as products. If you’re talking about seasons, I think it’s too continuous of a product to make the same comparison, and it’s pretty rare for people to isolate individual seasons as fantastic, but rather that slow trends in quality happen, aside from maybe heroes and TWD.


Yes, that’s a good point I can see how a retcon would make it hard to read the original story again and make it not as good.

So the simple solution is: stop reading the series as soon as you get to a retcon you don’t like. Then go back and re-read the original stories (which were probably far better than the retcon issues anyway) and tell yourself "This is a great story, a fantastic way to end then entire Spider-Man saga :slight_smile: "