There are many great movies without sequels that need one, even if they don’t necessarily have open-ended third acts. The plot may have been fully resolved in the first movie, but their premise and established world-building are left largely unexplored and have potential for more stories to tell. The length of a feature is usually not enough to fully expound on the overarching themes of an ambitious sci-fi, fantasy, horror, superhero, or crime film. When this happens, a sequel is necessary.
Just as there are plenty of movie sequels that thankfully never happened, there are also movies that never got a sequel but need one desperately. These are the films that built convincing worlds, invented clever new mechanics, or put their own unique twists on classic film tropes — only to scrap everything after the first movie. From further developing already beloved and established characters and settings to opening viewers to promising new franchises, movie sequels have the potential to expand on worlds that are worth revisiting.
10 Tenet (2020)
Tenet‘s complex and mind-bending narrative left audiences intrigued and craving more high-concept sci-fi. Introducing innovative concepts like Tenet‘s time inversion and reverse time travel, Christopher Nolan’s film features a protagonist navigating through a high-stakes plot that threatens reality itself. As the conclusion is open-ended and there remain lingering questions about the film’s intricate plot, the stage is already set for a compelling sequel. After Tenet‘s clever twist on one of the most overused mechanics in sci-fi, a sequel would not only satisfy the curiosity sparked by the original but also provide an opportunity for Nolan to dive even deeper into the complexities of time manipulation.
9 Dredd (2012)
Impressed by its gritty, ultraviolent, and comic book-faithful portrayal of the iconic Judge Dredd and the dystopian city he polices, Dredd‘s cult following would jump at the sequel. Apart from Karl Urban being perfectly cast as the titular judge, jury, and executioner, the film’s distinctive tone resonated with audiences seeking a faithful adaptation of 2000 AD‘s dark, shiny world. The dystopian Mega-City One universe, with its rich lore and compelling characters, begs further exploration and more impressive action set pieces. Those who saw Dredd are hungry for a follow-up that maintains the visceral essence of the original — and delves further into the comprehensive and genre-blending source material.
8 District 9 (2009)
District 9 left audiences with a groundbreaking sci-fi premise ripe for further exploration, offering opportunities to reveal the consequences of key events and the broader implications of the alien presence on Earth. Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 sci-fi masterpiece provided a unique and thought-provoking twist on extraterrestrial themes, blending social commentary with intense action. The film left audiences with unanswered questions about the fate of the prawns and the potential evolution of the protagonist, Wikus van de Merwe. As District 9 is set in an alternate version of the ’80s — and showed little of the world outside the main setting — the District 9 sequel has plenty of stories to tell.
7 Constantine (2005)
The Keanu Reeves-led film version of the beloved DC Comics exorcist John Constantine redeemed himself in the first movie. While the main plot was resolved by the ending, Constantine also introduced various other interesting characters, mechanics, and dimensions based on DC’s Hellblazer and the esoteric Western mythology-inspired DC Vertigo lineup. To say that a sequel to Constantine has been long overdue would be an understatement. After two decades since the original film, the evolution of storytelling in superhero movies promises an interesting follow-up to the movie that introduced viewers to DC’s most hilarious antihero. Thankfully, Constantine 2 is confirmed to already be in development.
6 Serenity (2005)
Serenity tied up all the loose ends left behind by the untimely cancelation of Firefly, but this doesn’t mean that there’s no room for a sequel. After all, the ‘Verse will never be the same after the crew of Serenity not only found out that the Alliance was responsible for creating the murderous Reavers, but also made the information public across the colonies. It’s unlikely that Firefly will ever come back for a second season. However, a sequel to Serenity is not just more feasible, but it would also allow Joss Whedon to finally deliver the highly-anticipated follow-up to his iconic cult space Western story.
5 Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
A sequel to Atlantis: The Lost Empire needs to happen due to the untapped potential of the film’s unique premise. Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a sci-fi masterpiece that stands out from other Disney animated features for its departure from traditional fairy tales, offering a captivating high-stakes adventure. A sequel could delve into the aftermath of Milo Thatch’s discovery, further exploring the secrets and wonders of Atlantis — and Milo’s relationship with Princess Kida. The film’s world-building and untold stories make a sequel an opportunity to expand and enrich the Atlantis narrative, providing a compelling continuation that could even combine sci-fi with alternative history.
4 The Iron Giant (1999)
The Giant’s journey of self-discovery and the bond with young Hogarth Hughes resonated across generations. The animated masterpiece The Iron Giant captured hearts with its poignant story of friendship and sacrifice — and its open-ended finale. A sequel holds the potential to explore new child-friendly political allegories, such as addressing the aftermath of the Giant’s sacrifice and his continued impact on the world, or Howard growing up after the first movie’s historic events. The film’s themes of humanity, understanding, and the consequences of choice remain relevant, making a sequel an opportunity to further explore these universal messages.
3 Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)
With its Groundhog Day-style time loop, intense action sequences, and superstar lead cast, the Edge of Tomorrow sequel could be the next biggest sci-fi blockbuster. Apart from the dynamic chemistry between Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt’s characters, a sequel would explore the consequences of the first film’s events, delving into the repercussions of manipulating time — not just for Bill Cage, but for humanity itself. The world established in Edge of Tomorrow offers vast storytelling potential, unexpected twists, and clever new takes on established sci-fi tropes. It also certainly helps that Edge of Tomorrow‘s Mimics are among the best sci-fi movie aliens of all time.
2 The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The Incredible Hulk is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a sequel is long overdue. While Edward Norton has since been replaced with Mark Ruffalo as the MCU’s Bruce Banner/Hulk, his performance in The Incredible Hulk set high standards for the character. From Banner learning yoga breathing techniques and other ways to control the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk to Banner’s long journey in the MCU, The Incredible Hulk 2 could finally bring the two iconic versions together. A sequel to The Incredible Hulk would also most likely involve Hulk’s son, who was revealed in the MCU TV series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
1 Wanted (2008)
Based on Mark Millar’s comic book series of the same name, Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted introduced audiences to a world of assassins with supernatural abilities, and a gripping narrative that revolves around an ancient secret society. The open-ended conclusion left room for further exploration of protagonist Wesley Gibson’s journey and the Fraternity’s enigmatic world. Wesley’s character development was already great in Wanted, and this could continue alongside the evolution of the Fraternity’s code. The film’s stylish world, visuals, and intense action sequences make a sequel a compelling prospect.