Though the concept of movie franchises is a relatively young one, there’s an art to carrying it off well. A good movie universe makes its biggest changes over time, evolving slowly rather than making large, jarring changes. Even so, it’s sometimes possible to pinpoint the exact moments that changed their franchise forever.

In some cases, the butterfly effect – no, not that one – is clearly at work, with a certain act having unforeseen consequences. In others, it’s more a matter of jumping the shark. However the change ultimately comes about, though, it all starts with these moments.

Tracing back the exact start of a narrative change isn’t as straightforward as it seems. As such, almost all of these moments were technically preceded by something else, with the story leading up to the moment of change before the franchise moves on entirely. Either way, we consider these movie moments to be the ones that changed their franchise, and we’re sticking by it.

8. Rocky Beats Drago – Rocky IV (1985)

Movie moments that changed their franchise - Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV

Widely regarded as one of the greatest sports movies ever made, Rocky IV is a time-honored classic. It follows the continuation of the Italian Stallion’s boxing career are the death of his close friend Apollo Creed. Grieving, Rocky steps through the ropes to face his friend’s killer: the absolute goliath that is Ivan Drago.

Deciding to come out of retirement to fight Drago is one thing, but Rocky is clearly the smaller and weaker man. This is backed up by the film itself, which actually makes a point of recording the massive power of Drago’s punches. Somehow, Rocky emerges victorious over the potential robot Ivan Drago, and this is actually the moment that changed the franchise forever.

Tonally, this is where the Rocky movies departed from realism. Given that Drago killed Apollo Creed within two rounds, stretching disbelief to assert that Rocky can withstand infinite punishment was too far. Narratively speaking, the damage forced Rocky’s actual retirement from boxing, so it also changed the franchise in that way, too.