A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a movie series called star wars. Then there was a second and a third series. Then there was a TV show, then spin-offs around the main characters. Then spin-offs around minor characters and spin-offs around characters that weren’t even in the original.
One of the perks of having grown children is all the terrible movies you don’t have to watch anymore. So until a discussion with the spawn last weekend, I was unaware of the full extent of this brand extension. I had heard of The Mandalorianand even watched Solo, but was oblivious to countless other fallouts. The same goes for Marvel and DC, which are constantly sprouting new superhero series out of minor characters. It is no coincidence that the two star wars and the Marvel franchises are now owned by Disney, a realm that truly understands the magic of leveraging the brand.
Forget famous for 15 minutes. These days, all you need is a quick scene in one of these movies to get a glimpse of your own spin-off franchise. Soon everyone who spoke will have a chance. Remember that guy who served Captain America coffee? Meet Barista-Man, he will grind your beans and sprinkle your cappuccinos.
TV spinoffs are nothing new. fraser was born from Cheers, The simpsons from The Tracey Ullman Show. But Disney and others have taken it to a new industry level. All of this made me wonder about the tremendous spinoffs that were denied to us by the short-sightedness of filmmakers of an earlier era.
The Godfather: You have to ask what the studio was thinking here. He clearly saw the potential of the series, but then squandered the opportunities for a prequel in The Godfather Part II. Seriously? Young Vito was a multi-series TV show and you threw it all into a half movie. And all those people who were killed? That’s half a dozen spin-offs right there. Couldn’t Sonny have been terribly injured and left in a coma waiting for a development deal? Couldn’t Luca Brasi have slept with hamsters instead of fish and come back in a later series?
casablanca: You thought it was over when Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains left in the fog. We thought: Ricky and the cop. There was a nice bromance hanging there. What kind of crap left us wanting more when they could have created a load of dreary buddy shows until we finally wanted less?
The war is over. The two heroes have returned to Paris to run a detective agency that sets up elaborate frauds targeting crooks who have shoved people out of their savings. After years of feuding over female love, they realize their simmering chemistry is actually more than a beautiful friendship. They return to Morocco and open the city’s first LGBT+ bar.
2001: A Space Odyssey: What’s needed isn’t a lame sequel but a series of movies in which astronauts are sent on new missions in a desperate attempt to find out what the first movie was about. There was also a lot of hope for Monolith Missions, but early pilots failed because audiences had a hard time relating to the black slabs emotionally. The producers then tried again with a series of Steven Seagal films.
The Tarantinos: The traumatized survivors of Tarantino’s films flee to a commune to escape the clutches of a psychotic director who tries to bring them back to gorefest films where they kill each other to the sound of forgotten hits from the 1970s, between long monologues staggered.
The Magnificent Seven: It’s true, there were seven and not one that was worth its own show? I know there have been sequels, but none of them are good. Again, they killed too many in the first movie. Charles Bronson could certainly have made his own series. Never put pathos before profit.
When Harry left Sally: Yeah, yeah, we know you all love a happy ending, but we see a long-running streak after their split when Harry finds out Sally wasn’t pretending in the Jewish deli. And after that, charcuterie storiesin which the charismatic shop owner you never saw in the movie presides over other tales of love, friendship, and pickled herring.
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