To Be Continued

By Isaac H.

There is a saying about the key to masterful storytelling: “Always leave the audience wanting more.” How often have you enjoyed the full run of a television show, anime series or movie and wanted to know, “what happens next?” It’s even more frustrating reaching the end of a story and wondering, “is this all?” Usually our hearts and minds are left only to wander with whatever ending we are given by the original story, hoping in vain for a sequel or follow up to be made.  Though it is not usually the case, every once in a while we do get more to the story in a format that isn’t merely a sequel.

Did you ever wonder if the law ever caught up to Anton Chigurh after No Country for Old Men ends, or whether the District 9 alien prawns return to Earth with a vengeful armada to rescue their comrades, or just how long the Seinfeld crew were left in a New England jail after the finale? Unsatisfying endings can hamper the enjoyment of otherwise amazing films and movies. Fortunately, there are a few times when fans are offered more to the story in print format. Below are a few examples of movies and television shows that received followup stories in print.

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack

The 1980’s had no shortage of critical or box office failures that would go on to become cult favorites. The campy, fantasy, martial-arts action movie Big Trouble in Little China falls squarely into this category. The movie did not do well for itself, but somehow over the years the movie has garnered a large fan following. While other entries on this list may be a bit more open ended, for the most part this story wraps itself up by the end of the movie. But with the success of the Old Man Hawkeye and Old Man Logan comic book series, as well as the brief resurrection of the similarly campy (Old Man) Ash versus the Evil Dead series, fans of the cult hit got something they never asked for. Old Man Jack tells the story of what Jack Burton is up to in 2018, with a few surprises and old friends returning to tie up loose ends. In a similar fashion to the movie, this story masks the fact that the wise cracking Jack Burton is really just an occasionally useful sidekick to the real hero, Wang Chi.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus and Angel: After the Fall

The two most popular and long running Joss Whedon television series certainly ended with fans wanting more. With Buffy fans wanting to know how the Scoobies fare with somewhat normal life after the season 7 finale, and Angel fans wanting to know how the heroes survive the demon invasion of Los Angeles at the end of season 5, it’s a pleasant surprise to have each series continuation in graphic novel format.  Joss Whedon is no stranger to writing graphic novels, or even continuations of his previous content. What makes Buffy Season 8 (collected in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus) and Angel: After the Fall stand out is how flawless the stories transition between the show and print. Each volume feels like you are watching additional episodes. Sadly, this format precludes any further musical episodes.

Snowpiercer Volume III: Terminus

Okay, I admit to possibly stretching this one a bit. If you’ve seen the movie Snowpiercer, an action packed allegory to class conflict and revolution, you are probably aware that the content originated as an incredible graphic novel by Oliver Bocquet. The original graphic novel has several differences from the movie, and was followed by two additional volumes. I’m specifically listing the 3rd volume as a continuation because the story in it is a fit for people wanting to know what happens after the movie. Now, just to be clear it wasn’t written to be a sequel to the movie. The story in volume III merely allows for a (mostly) flawless transition between the end of the movie and the beginning of that particular story. Just be warned: If you thought an ice age, post-apocalyptic, caste based autocracy residing entirely inside a circumnavigating train was crazy, you’re in for a surprise.

Shadowmoon

I will never understand how the 1988 movie Willow received only mixed ratings and only did marginally well at the box office. Growing up in the 1980’s, this movie was to me what the Lord of the Rings movies were to 2000’s viewers: nothing shy of epic. But alas, it never really took off. The single film was the last we would ever see of Willow Ufgood, Elora Danen, Mad Martigan and Sorsha. But it wasn’t the end of the story, at least for some of the characters. The story continues in the Chris Claremont and George Lucas collaborative Chronicles of the Shadow War trilogy. If that first name sounds familiar it’s because the author wrote for Marvel comics for decades, notably contributing to the golden era of the X-Men comics. The story follows the movie but quickly redirects itself to it’s own path, but it is definitely a sequel to the movie. Or maybe Willow is a prequel to this trilogy?

For more examples, here is my list of graphic novel continuations of movies and television shows. Do you have any favorite television shows or movies that were continued in print format?

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Comments

2 responses to “To Be Continued”

  1. Lindsey A. says:

    Whoa! Willow is one of my favorites (one of the most epic fantasy films from my childhood, too) and I had NO idea there was a book series sequel! I’ll have to check it out soon.

    • Isaac H says:

      Thanks Lindsey! It’s one of mine as well. I only found out about this trilogy a few years ago, even though the first book was released more than 2 decades ago. Fair warning though: it takes a few “turns” to separate it from the movie in places.

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