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Can franchises be restarted?

StartButton.gifRestarted, rebooted, remade, reimagined. Whatever you like to say the question is can franchises that have already had their shot really be restarted?

We've seen number of franchises revisited this year with Die Hard, Rocky and Rambo, but these have really been a continuation albeit with a fair passage of time.

Now though we're seeing one of the biggest truly being restarted, Star Trek. Can it really be a success?

Now I'm not talking about the individual film, in the cases I've already mentioned of Die Hard (Filmstalker review), Rocky (Filmstalker review) and Rambo they've been successful. No I'm wondering about the entire franchise and if a new film could spark of a new group of sequels.

If one studio has its way we may well be seeing Rocky and Rambo attempting it, but at the moment the films have been pretty strong end pieces for the characters.

As far as I can see, despite the talk around Rambo, Mad Max, Back to the Future and The Karate Kid, there aren't any serious attempts to restart a franchise other than Star Trek, and again, these could all be individual films.

So can a franchise really be restarted? We've seen it work with Batman Begins (Filmstalker review) and possibly Superman Returns (Filmstalker review) so the answer really has to be yes, but why did they work so well?

Is it because they have such a strong fan base outwith the films and so can last through any disastrous outings in the series? That would certainly hold true for Star Trek as well.

Is that all it takes though? Interestingly in Batman there was a real return to roots for the character and a huge attempt to ground the story in reality. With Superman there was an attempt to capture the essence of the original films, but not so much a strong reworking and reimagining of the characters involved.

So did Batman work particularly well because of that return to the roots and ignoring the past episodes and previous character developments?

Is this where Superman didn't do so well? What tact will The Incredible Hulk take I wonder and will it manage to revitalise the character and the franchise?

Looking at the efforts to date it doesn't really seem as though franchises can be restarted very easily, sure Batman and Superman did it but are they just flukes and aided by the superhero fans? Can any franchise be restarted, or does it just work with franchises that carry a huge fanbase already?



Is it me or is that the same engine start button that's in your Honda?

I do think that franchises can be restarted, or my favourite re-imagined. I think you're right though they do need a large fan base to begin with, and they also need to remain faithful to what made the originals so good in the first place. Be it a TV series, comic book or film.

Rocky Balboa was a good example of a new film, that kept what made the earlier ones so good.

I think the difference with Batman and Superman is that they are more flexible in terms of casting, and the amount of material they have for plots.

Die Hard and Rocky are dependent on Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone, I know I'd be up in arms about a Die Hard or Rocky film without them, and they'd probably tank.

I reckon if whoever is remaking them can nail the parts that make them worth revisiting in the first place then they can definitely pull it off. The worst example I can think of was the Star Wars trilogy. Even though it was still George Lucas, there is something missing from the original three, and not just a total lack of chemistry between Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman.

"Die Hard and Rocky are dependent on Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone, I know I'd be up in arms about a Die Hard or Rocky film without them, and they'd probably tank."

I feel the same way about doing a Kirk and Spock Star Trek with different actors. I really don't see the point, especially as it's already been proved that (when done right) Star Trek can work with new characters played by different actors.

There's a difference to restarting franchises and rebooting them. You can only reboot one if the audience can accept the roles being recast.

Ah so you are making a distinction between a restart and a reboot - do you mean that a reboot has to be the original story restarted after a time period has passed and a restart can be with new actors/characters?

I guess that makes sense. So Star Trek is a reboot, sort of.

Isnt restarting the same as rebooting or this changes when we are talking about films?

I think there is a distinction .. Reboot being the equivalent of Starting up your car again after a stall. The restart is like getting a new car because your old one is gone. (R.I.P Frankie)


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