Keeping a film’s legacy alive is actually more complicated than it seems. There’s the matter of securing the rights, then deciding on how exactly to deal with any previous story concerns. What’s more, there seems to be this idea floating around Hollywood that all franchises need reboots.

There are many different terms used to describe bringing a dormant franchise back to life. Generally, a reboot is a film that effectively restarts the entire franchise with something of a clean slate. There’s also soft reboots, which technically follow on from previous movies while playing down the connection. There’s also remakes, which tell the same story over again. Confusing, isn’t it?

Let’s be honest: Hollywood’s obsession with reboots is getting ridiculous. Take Fantastic Four, for example: after a reasonably successful 2005 movie, it had a pretty poor sequel in 2007. Then the 2015 reboot absolutely tanked with critics, so the MCU are making yet another version. This kind of thing happens with alarming regularity, and it rarely works. Thankfully, there’s already a very simple and elegant solution that’s beginning to grow in popularity.

Hollywood Should Avoid Reboots – Franchises Need Requels Instead

Hollywood reboots and franchises - The cast of Fantastic Four (2015) and Ghostface in Scream (2022)

Instead of simply starting franchises over at the slightest hiccup, what Hollywood needs is more requels – sequels that serve as incredibly soft reboots, often with legacy characters returning to pass the torch. For successful examples, look at Scream (2022) or Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In fact, the latter came after 2016’s disastrous reboot showed studios exactly what fans didn’t want.

The difference between the two is key. Where reboots essentially disregard the content of previous (and usually beloved) movies, requels honor them by acknowledging their existence. In doing so, requels remain part of the wider franchise, while reboots effectively begin a new one entirely.

The thing is, if a franchise warrants a new entry of any description, then the odds are that there’s an established fanbase. While resetting the narrative is sometimes unavoidable (or entirely necessary in order to modernize it), that doesn’t mean these new films shouldn’t show reverence for the past. A well-written requel can reignite fans’ passion for a franchise using new characters without forgetting the past, making it the ideal solution to one of Hollywood’s weirdest obsessions.