Even though some of the most popular film franchises right now seem to go on forever, some films never get a chance to have a sequel or a proper conclusion.
Here are a few examples of movies that for one reason or the other never got to complete their stories. Of course, some of these films might still have a sequel down the line, but it just seems highly unlikely at this point.
1. District 9
Neill Blomkamp’s first film, District 9, is the story of Wikus, a government bureaucrat in charge of regulating a community of aliens called Prawns who are stranded in Johannesburg. Because of an accident, Wikus slowly turns into an alien himself, and he gets a firsthand chance to experience inequality and discrimination for the first time in his life.
At the beginning of the film he is extremely rude towards the Prawns, but by the end, when he’s completed his transformation, he gains a new perspective and ends up fighting for them. Wikus helps an alien and his son to leave the planet, and they in return promise to come back to Earth with a cure for him in three years; which immediately made everybody wonder if a sequel was indeed in the works.
District 9 came out in 2009, and more than three years have gone by without any news of a sequel. Blomkamp has never denied his desire to continue the story, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon, given Blomkamp commitments to other films, such as a yet untitled Alien sequel.
2. Kill Bill 2
Kill Bill seems like a fairly straightforward and self-contained story, so much that its premise can be summarized with just the title. It’s a revenge tale (divided into two volumes) about a woman who wants to kill Bill for what he did to her. It doesn’t immediately beg for a sequel, but Tarantino has been talking about Kill Bill Vol. 3 for so long that he must have something pretty special in mind. However, he’s been putting off the movie for a while and nothing concrete seems to be happening at the moment.
Tarantino is no stranger to teasing his audience with sequels that never come to fruition, like the cancelled Vega Brothers film, where he wanted to reunite Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs with his brother Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction. Yet, the idea of people now getting revenge on The Bride sounds like a fitting end to the story. We’ve already seen what a successful revenge means to her, and the reward she gets for following it through.
Nevertheless, The Bride does leave a trail of people who’ll surely want to claim their own vendetta against her sooner or later. It would be very interesting to have a movie where The Bride is now the main antagonist. Maybe The Bride should have learned a lesson from Elle Driver, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.
3. David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a movie adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s first book from his Millennium series. The whole Millennium series was adapted to film as a Swedish trilogy a couple of years before Fincher’s version. So, if people are really curious about the rest of the story, it’s just as easy to pick up the books or the Swedish films and find out.
However, when Fincher directed his version, he was at the top of his game. He had already directed other movies within the genre and with similar motifs, like Se7en and Zodiac; so this time it really looked like he had the chance to take a deep breath and expand on a style he had been perfecting over his career.
And it’s not only the director who brought his A- game to the film; the music, the cast, the cinematography, and editing are also on point. Being that the film was the first part of a book trilogy, it leaves enough unanswered questions to warrant a sequel. But 6 years have passed already and most of the cast and the director are unlikely to return to the franchise.
In 2016, it was reported that they might still make a sequel with Rooney Mara returning as Lisbeth Salander, and with Don’t Breathe director Fede Alvarez taking over directing duties. Fincher has never done a sequel to one of his own films, so it would’ve been exciting to see what a David Fincher film franchise looked like. On the other hand, it would’ve probably meant that Gone Girl would’ve never been made; so perhaps it is better that he never returned to the trilogy.
4. Layer Cake
After producing such critically acclaimed Guy Ritchie films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Matthew Vaughn tried his hand at directing a crime film himself. The result was Layer Cake, a film based on the J.J. Connolly novel of the same name. The story follows a criminal played by Daniel Craig who wants to retire. It comes off almost as a love letter from Vaughn to say goodbye to the style of films he was used to producing.
It works out great as a standalone film, even with the open-ended final scene. But J.J. Connolly’s book does have a sequel called Viva La Madness, meaning we could’ve seen Daniel Craig reprise a role that is often mentioned as the role that led him to play James Bond later on. Matthew Vaughn went on to direct Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service and the upcoming sequel to Kingsman.
It’s almost like he had two paths he could’ve followed after Layer Cake: directing a sequel at the risk of being forever compared to his work with Guy Ritchie, or to make a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s best directors for film adaptations. Based on the success of the other movie adaptations that followed Layer Cake, it does look like he made the right decision; but fans of Layer Cake will probably always wonder “what if…”
5. Eastern Promises
Director David Cronenberg’s work is commonly associated with his bizarre body horror films like The Fly, Videodrome or Scanners; to the point where popular TV series Rick and Morty can feature a world inhabited by deformed creatures, and the audience quickly understands why they are calling them Cronenbergs.
Eastern Promises features none of that, it’s actually a gritty and grounded film about Russian gangsters in London; nevertheless, it’s just as easy to identify Cronenberg’s style throughout the movie. It’s much more in line with Cronenberg’s work in A History of Violence, which also stars Viggo Mortensen.
Yet it’s still just as violent as his body horror films, but in a realistic, raw and bleak way. It’s like Cronenberg’s The Godfather, complete with having the main character reluctantly become the head of the mob organization in the end. It wasn’t a big commercial success, but it would’ve been fair to give Eastern Promises a chance to have its Godfather Part II.
And there were plans to work on a second film, but they were ultimately scrapped in 2013. The ending sets up such an intriguing scenario for a sequel, that it becomes almost frustrating. Especially now that it’s official that the story will never have a proper conclusion.