Unrelated films that could pass as sequels

Tom Beasley
The fan theory corner of the internet can draw links between the most seemingly disparate movies.

It’s common to hear movie fans deride sequels as a lazy part of the Hollywood machine. Anything vaguely successful is fed into the cinematic sausage machine and repeated until audiences get tired of it. But might there be sequels made by stealth that no one has noticed — even the creators?

Film fans on Reddit have been discussing the possibility of apparently unconnected films that could be sequels, and there are some interesting suggestions in there.

From childhood chocolate lovers who oversee dystopian societies through to the surprise survival of one of cinema’s most infamous drowning victims, this is a treasure trove of out-there thinking and enjoyably silly logical leaps.

Read more: Jordan Peele’s Us fan theory demands multiple viewings

So inspired by the rabbit warren of online theories, here are some movies that definitely aren’t connected, but easily could be.

The Terminator and The Matrix

'The Terminator' and 'The Matrix' are sci-fi/action classics that could be linked. (Credit: Orion Pictures/Warner Bros)

Two of the most famous sci-fi franchises in the world are linked together in this theory. The suggestion is that the war between man and machine in the Terminator franchise left the Earth so devastated that both sides agreed to hold human beings in containment, while creating the illusion of a better world, allowing the machines to rule the now inhospitable planet.

Read more: Reeves has read “ambitious” script for Matrix 4

There are other details to the idea, including the notion that the Agents were created by Skynet to preserve the new order, but it’s that central core that really works. With both of these franchises revving back up for new installments, maybe it’s time for a crossover?

Home Alone and Saw

A fan theory suggests the Jigsaw killer is an older version of Macaulay Culkin's character from 'Home Alone'. (Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lionsgate)

This is another long-standing fan theory, perhaps best espoused by Jason Concepcion at Grantland in 2014. The theory argues that the Saw franchise is a follow-on of the Home Alone series, with Macaulay Culkin’s heroic home defender now taking on the guise of a cold-blooded killer with a twisted moral compass.

Beyond the resemblance between the young Culkin and Jigsaw actor Tobin Bell, lovers of the theory point to Kevin’s fascination with elaborate traps, reminiscent of the ones in which the killer would later ensnare his victims. Concepcion’s piece also notes Kevin’s violent tendencies and love of menacing people through recorded messages.

Well, the evidence is there.

Joker and The King of Comedy

Robert De Niro played an aspiring comedian in 'The King of Comedy', but now plays a veteran of the stage. (Credit: 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros)

This year’s most controversial comic book movie has made no secret of its love and affection for the oeuvre of Martin Scorsese. Nowhere is that homage clearer than in Robert De Niro’s casting as talk show host Murray Franklin — a nod to the Jerry Lewis character in The King of Comedy. In that film, De Niro played a failed stand-up comedian named Rupert Pupkin, who was driven to criminal acts in order to be noticed. It’s a near-identical back story to this incarnation of the Joker.

Read more: Joker director defends film with John Wick comparison

But could the connection run deeper? Perhaps De Niro’s character actually is Rupert Pupkin, who has now had a glittering career in showbiz and become exactly the person he once idolised. With Joker acting as a new Pupkin, the circle just keeps on turning.

Every Pixar Movie

The witch in 'Brave' and Boo in 'Monsters Inc' are connected in the Pixar Theory. (Credit: Pixar)

One of the most intricate and interwoven fan theories in the history of the internet is Jon Negroni’s ‘Pixar Theory’ — a grand, unifying thesis connecting every movie in the animation studio’s filmography. The theory essentially tells the story of a world in which animals become intelligent enough to overthrow humans, but smart machines get involved to win the war, polluting the Earth into a wasteland that is eventually repopulated by animals, which subsequently mutate into monsters. It’s wild.

Read more: Ratatouille director shoots down fan theory

The punchline of the theory is the suggestion that the witch character portrayed by Julie Walters in Brave is actually an older incarnation of the adorable Boo from Monsters Inc, who has travelled through time in an attempt to find Sulley again. It’s a touching theory and one packed with detail that suggests, actually, all of the Pixar movies are linked in a way that puts Kevin Feige’s Marvel universe to shame.

Willy Wonka and Snowpiercer

Did the protagonist of 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' go on to invent a perpetual motion train in 'Snowpiercer'? (Credit: Paramount/TWC)

The classic 1970s Roald Dahl adaptation, starring Gene Wilder, might not seem like the most obvious precursor to Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian thriller on paper. However, there is some credible evidence that points to a link between the two stories.

In the theory, Charlie Bucket grows up to be Wilford — founder of the train on which Bong’s film is set. His isolation in the factory allowed him to work on experimental modes of transport — the train is a successor to the glass elevator — and the use of children to keep the perpetual engine running is a side effect of Oompa Loompa extinction.

It’s one of the darker fan theories circulating online and it doesn’t hang together as much as some of the other ideas on this list, but it certainly wins the crown for most unexpected suggestion.

Titanic and The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio may well have been playing the same character in 'Titanic' and 'The Great Gatsby'. (Credit: Paramount/Warner Bros)

What if there had been a little extra room on that door? What would Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack have become if he had survived the sinking of the Titanic? Well, according to one Reddit user, he’d have kept hold of the Heart of the Ocean and used it to become a millionaire. There’s a reason Gatsby describes himself as having worked up the ranks, and ‘Jay’ could very easily be short for Jack.

Read more: Hollywood crew ‘told to avoid eye contact’ with DiCaprio

It would certainly explain his reluctance to get in the swimming pool.

The Rock and James Bond

Sean Connery could be playing an older James Bond in Michael Bay thriller 'The Rock'. (Credit: Eon/Disney)

In 1996 action thriller The Rock — or “the one Michael Bay movie it’s acceptable to like”, as it’s often known — Sean Connery is a key part of the action, portraying former SAS Captain John Mason. He’s a character trained in the world of British intelligence who’s a genius at escaping captivity and knows his way around a stolen microfilm.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Mason could definitely be an ageing James Bond, confined by the United States government for his refusal to play by their rules.

Life and Venom

Jake Gyllenhaal sci-fi 'Life' is seen by some as a potential prequel to superhero tale 'Venom'. (Credit: Sony)

This particular connection was talked about extensively by internet sleuths even before Venom arrived in cinemas. Arriving just over a year earlier, Life followed a shape-shifting alien creature with more than a few similarities to the symbiote that transforms Tom Hardy’s journalist Eddie Brock into a head-munching antihero.

Both films were released by Sony, which raised fans’ eyebrows, and many also noted that the organisation responsible for experimenting on the symbiote in Venom was called The Life Foundation. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who penned Life, also did several drafts of the script for Venom.

This is a great case in which a string of coincidences sits together to form something that is obviously nonsensical, but fun to explore.

A Quiet Place and Cloverfield

'A Quiet Place' was considered as a potential 'Cloverfield' sequel during its development. (Credit: Paramount)

There once was a time when one of the biggest horror hits of the last few years was thought about as a potential sequel. Writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods contemplated weaving A Quiet Place into the Cloverfield universe, following the lead of 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox, which both started life as unrelated spec scripts.

This plan was abandoned and the finished film we now know as A Quiet Place has nothing to do with Cloverfield. However, it’s clear that it would only take the slightest of exposition changes to tie everything together. Maybe they’re planning to catch everyone by surprise when A Quiet Place 2 suddenly veers right into the shared universe.