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Retcon Sequels

There’s a new Halloween film coming out this year and I am chomping at the bit to see it. Produced by Blumhouse Productions, the movie will come out this October and reunite quite a few key players from the original 1978 movie. Jamie Lee Curtis will be reprising her role as Laurie Strode for the first time since Halloween: Resurrection (aka Halloween 8), original director John Carpenter serves as an executive producer and composer, and original Shape actor Nick Castle is returning as the masked baddie Michael Myers. Castle last played Myers in the 1978 original. If the incredibly talented Debra Hill was still with us, I bet she would be a part of this project as well. Based on the information outlined above, this sounds quite like a legacy sequel, no? Not exactly. This movie will be what is commonly referred to as a ‘retcon sequel’ meaning it will be a direct sequel to the 1978 original film and ignore everything else that came after it. Including the 1981 sequel written by John Carpenter/Debra Hill and directed by Rick Rosenthal.

The Halloween franchise certainly has its highs and lows, but I am on the fence about retconning an entire franchise. Especially since this new Halloween film will likely be the last time Jamie Lee Curtis will portray Laurie Strode. There is supposed to be a sense of closure with this entry. I’m not totally against or for retcon sequels because I am certainly excited about another Halloween film involving Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter, but I also really like Halloween II (1981) and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988). This actually isn’t even the first time the Halloween franchise retconned prior films. Halloween H20 (1998) ignored every film after Halloween II. I quite like that entry as well even though it ignores one of my favorite installments.

Some non-horror examples are Superman Returns (ignores Superman III and IV), X-Men: Days of Future Past (ignores certain events from prior X-Men films), and Highlander III (ignored Highlander II). Neill Blomkamp tried to get an Alien film made that would have ignored everything that happened after 1986’s Aliens. That project has since been canceled.

I suppose it comes down to the franchise, timing, and general idea for a retcon sequel. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone whining about the Highlander franchise ignoring the 2nd film.

What do you think of studios retconning entire franchises? I suppose that in the time of reboots, remakes, and prequels; - retcon sequels aren’t something to complain about.

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