Skip To Content
    Updated on Jun 22, 2020. Posted on Jun 22, 2020

    11 Famous Films That Came Shockingly Close To Having Absolutely Wild Sequels

    Narrowly averted disasters? Or epically lost opportunities?

    1. Kevin Costner tried to make a sequel to The Bodyguard — but this time around, instead of protecting Whitney Houston, he would've been guarding Princess Diana!

    Warner Bros., Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images

    The Bodyguard — starring Kevin Costner as a former Secret Service agent hired to protect a music star played by Whitney Houston — was a huge hit in 1992. Even if you never saw the film, you almost certainly know the soundtrack, which featured Houston's smash "I Will Always Love You.”

    A few years later, Costner pursued a wild idea — to make a sequel where his bodyguard character would be tasked with protecting a member of the royal family, and he wanted Princess Diana to star! According to Costner, Diana was cautiously interested in making her film debut and consented to Costner having a script written for them. Sadly, the finished script reached Costner’s desk just a day before she died.

    2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial almost had a sequel entitled E.T.: Nocturnal Fears.

    E.T. and an alien with scary teeth
    Universal/Warner Bros.

    Shortly after E.T. became a worldwide phenomenon in 1982, director Steven Spielberg, despite being famously averse to making sequels, teamed with E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison to cook up an idea for a sequel.

    The result of their collaboration was a nine-page film treatment entitled E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears. In it, Elliot, Gertie, and Michael cross paths with evil carnivorous aliens who have come to earth looking for E.T. The evil aliens hold the kids captive on their ship, where they interrogate them about E.T.'s whereabouts — and nearly kill Elliot with their razor-sharp teeth! In the end, E.T. returns to earth to save the kids and banish the aliens. (You can read the treatment here.)

    Though the treatment is short and not fleshed out, it doesn't sound...great. Perhaps that's why Spielberg declined to pursue it any further.

    3. Forrest Gump nearly had a sequel where Forrest was a single dad raising a little boy with AIDS.

    Three images side-by-side of O.J. Simpson at his murder trial, Forrest Gump, and the Oklahoma City bombing
    Hal Garb / Getty Images/Paramount/ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

    1994’s Best Picture winner Forrest Gump was based on a novel of the same name by Winston Groom. So, when Groom released a follow-up novel, Gump & Co., in 1995 (which tracked Forrest’s life through the '80s and '90s), Paramount explored adapting it into a film sequel.

    Eric Roth — who won Best Adapted Screenplay for the original film — went to work on a sequel. As he had with the original, Roth only used the book as a loose guide, although his script also spanned the major events of the '80s and '90s. Roth put Forrest in the back of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco, had him dance with Princess Diana, and placed him on the periphery of the Oklahoma City bombing.

    Roth turned in his script on Sept. 10, 2001. The next day, of course, was 9/11, which changed everything. Roth says that, when he met up with Tom Hanks to discuss the draft, “We looked at each other and said, ‘This movie has no meaning anymore.'"

    4. The Muppets movie franchise came this close to having a sequel entitled Muppets Time Travel, which would have — you guessed it — seen Kermit and Co. going to the past.

    Disney, Universal

    In 2001, three years before the Jim Henson Company sold the Muppets to Disney (which went on to make its own Muppet films, like 2011’s The Muppets), the company issued a promotional release touting what was to be their next Muppets movie, Muppet Time Travel, written by John Derevlany.

    The concept? Animal accidentally gets into a time machine created by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and is sent back to the Stone Age, where he becomes evolution’s missing link. This changes the future, and suddenly all the humans in the present day are very Animal-like. To set things right, Kermit and his pals have to go back in time themselves.

    This sounds like a lot of fun to me, but clearly Disney had different plans once they acquired the Muppets.

    5. A bizarre sequel to Gladiator — where Russell Crowe’s Maximus would’ve returned from the dead and traveled through time — was developed.

    Dreamworks/Universal, Comedy Central

    2000’s Gladiator was a box office smash that also won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, so it should come as no surprise that there was interest in making a sequel. There was just one major problem — Russell Crowe’s gladiator, Maximus, died at the end of the film.

    To get around this problem, the film’s producers and writers explored making a sequel set 15 years later that would focus on a grown-up Lucius. This idea, however, lost its luster when it ended up being more about the corruption of Rome than, you know, gladiators.

    That’s when Russell Crowe stepped in. He was interested in playing Maximus again, and thought there might be a way to do it by exploring the Romans' beliefs about the afterlife. So, along with director Ridley Scott, he hired Nick Cave (yes, the musician turned filmmaker) to write a script. The result was pretty out there to say the least, and involved the Roman gods sending Maximus back to earth to kill Jesus (yes, really) before, as Cave told Marc Maron on his podcast, Maximus becomes “this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild.” (You can read the script here.)

    Crowe and Scott decided not to proceed with that script, but a sequel isn’t off the table. Presently, a sequel again focusing on Lucius is in development.

    6. Hairspray was all set to have a follow-up entitled Hairspray 2: White Lipstick...but something went wrong along the way.

    New Line Cinema, Frank Barratt / Getty Images

    In 2008, a year after the smash musical hit theaters, New Line Cinema announced they’d made a deal with creator John Waters to write a treatment for a sequel. The plan was for the story to follow Tracy Turnblad — now in the late '60s — as she lived through rock n’ roll’s British Invasion, the Hippie movement, and America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Also on board? Director-choreographer Adam Shankman and the original film’s songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who were going to write a batch of new songs.

    So what happened? A 2010 release was planned, but somewhere along the way things fell apart. What went wrong isn't exactly clear, but it probably didn’t help that John Travolta didn’t want to reprise his role as  Edna Turnblad.

    7. Beetlejuice almost had a sequel with a totally unexpected concept to be titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.

    Leekris / Getty Images

    Two years after the release of Beetlejuice, director Tim Burton hired playwright Jonathan Gems to write a movie where the Deetz family moves to Hawaii so Charles can develop a resort. As it turns out, the resort is being built on an ancient burial ground which brings more spirits — including Betelgeuse — back into their lives. Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton were reportedly onboard to return, but then Burton instead went off to direct Batman Returns, effectively killing the project.

    Many years later — in 2015 — Winona Ryder and Tim Burton both said a sequel was in the works, but, sadly, last year Tim Burton, when asked if it was still happening, said “I doubt it.”

    8. Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver could’ve been followed up by a sequel with Robert De Niro — 35 years later.

    Columbia, Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    Taxi Driver is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, so it perked up a lot of ears in 2005 when Robert De Niro started talking about again playing disturbed Vietnam vet turned taxi driver Travis Bickle. 

To get things rolling, De Niro discussed the idea with his friend and Taxi Driver director Martin Scorsese, who pitched it to Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader.

    What did Schrader think? Well, on the The Q & A Podcast, Schrader said he told Scorsese, “That’s the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.” 

    Nevertheless, Schrader went to lunch with De Niro to discuss the project, and warmed up to it enough to toss out the idea that Bickle could have turned into a modern day Unabomber, telling De Niro, “Maybe the whole movie takes place in a cabin in Montana, where he’s writing in his journal, sending out bombs.” De Niro didn’t like that idea, though, and when the lunch ended, so did talk of a sequel.

    9. Mrs. Doubtfire almost had a sequel where Robin Williams again went undercover as a woman — this time to keep an eye on his daughter at college.

    Leaf / Getty Images

    In 2001, Robin Williams began developing a sequel, and brought on Bonnie Hunt to write it. Unfortunately, neither Hunt or the writers who followed her could crack the script. One problem? Mrs. Doubtfire was revealed to be Robin Williams’ character at the end of the first film, so he couldn’t pull the same ruse on his family in a sequel.

    Eventually, Williams began telling anyone who asked about the sequel that it most likely would never happen. But then, in 2014, came a surprise announcement: Williams and original director Chris Columbus were attached to make a sequel to be written by Elf writer David Berenbaum, who’d come up with an interesting new take.

    Tragically, Robin Williams’ death later that year ended plans for the sequel.

    10. Twins almost got a sequel called Triplets with new sibling Eddie Murphy!

    Universal, Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    One of the biggest comedies of the '80s, Twins starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as unlikely twins — the result of a secret experiment in a genetics lab that tried to combine the DNA of six men. In 2012, twenty-four years after Twins' release, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively announced the plan to bring the brothers back with a new brother to be played by Eddie Murphy. Original director Ivan Reitman was involved too, this time as a producer.

    Three years later Schwarzenegger said a script was finished and described a dinner with Murphy and DeVito where they had a blast discussing the sequel. Last year, though, DeVito sounded much less confident, saying they don’t have a screenplay.

    So, as fun as this idea is, we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

    11. Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler almost reprised their roles from The First Wives Club in a sequel.

    Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler in First Wive's Club and today
    Paramount / Getty

    According to Goldie Hawn, she, Midler, and Keaton — being “women of a certain age” — were forced to take salary cuts in order to get the studio to agree to make The First Wives Club. The film, of course, became a big hit for the studio in 1996 (grossing more than six times its budget), so there was a lot of enthusiasm for a sequel. Addams Family Values screenwriter Paul Rudnick (who’d done an uncredited polish on The First Wive’s Club) went to work on a sequel, and things seemed to be moving along swimmingly...until the studio offered the three stars the exact same deal as the first film.

    Hawn told the Harvard Business Review, "We went back to ground zero. Had three men come in there, they would have upped their salaries without even thinking about it. But the fear of women’s movies is embedded in the culture.” 

Talk of a sequel continued for years after that, but never happened.

    Thankfully, there is good news — this year it was announced the three would star in a comedy with a similar concept about three women who had each married and divorced the same man at one point in their lives. So we'll get a chance to see them together again after all!

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form