“The Incredibles 2,” in theaters Friday, comes nearly 14 years after its Pixar predecessor. Which is a pretty long gap between sequels, especially in an era when film franchises frequently lay out their lineups of upcoming installments far into the future. Marvel, DC, “Star Wars” and the “Fast and Furious” series have grand plans spanning many years.
So just a sequel, a straight-up sequel, coming three-and-a-half presidential terms after the original, is a bit of a rarity. (That said, we’re in the middle of the nostalgia reboot boom, meaning that everyone from D.J. Tanner to Roseanne Barr to the T. rex from “Jurassic Park” is getting a second act. It’s only fair that Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl get in on that action.)
But in terms of sequel gaps, the chasm between “Incredibles” and “Incredibles 2” isn’t that long a stretch. Some sequels took a lifetime to get made.
So what is the most-delayed sequel? What is the longest span between consecutive series installments?
Well, that’s a complicated question, it turns out!
The world record belongs to “Bambi II,” a sequel that came out in 2006, more than 63 years after the 1942 original. But that’s a straight-to-video sequel, with a different vocal cast and animators, and, in my opinion, it’s kind of a cheat. Disqualified!
The second-longest span was between “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000,” a 59-year gap. The predecessor and sequel each got a theatrical release, but both movies eschew a narrative in favor of a collection of animated segments, making the later film a sequel in brand rather than story.
Speaking of Disney, “Mary Poppins Returns,” in theaters this Christmas, will have the longest sequel gap between live-action movies; it’s been 54 years since the original “Mary Poppins” came out. But, again, this is kind of a cheat. Emily Blunt plays Poppins in a story set 25 years after the first film. Dick Van Dyke is the only cast member from the original to return, and he’s playing a different character.
There are likewise quite a few movie sequels — “Easy Rider: The Ride Back,” “Return to Oz” and “Return to Neverland” — that were released more than 40 years after their predecessor. But they didn’t have the same production team, cast, etc. as the film they were sequeling.
There were a few cult-classic horror movies like “The Wicker Man” and “Blood Feast” that got decades-later sequels from their original directors. But they were extremely loose sequels at best.
If you’re talking consecutive installments, there’s a mighty 32-year gap between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” But the prequels can’t be ignored, much as we’d like to.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (which, I might have said a time or two, is the greatest film ever made) came out nearly 30 years after “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” But it replaced Mel Gibson with Tom Hardy, effectively turning the character into a James Bond-like hero who could henceforth be replaced continually throughout the franchise. Though “Fury Road” did bring back series director George Miller and actor Hugh Keays-Byrne (who played a different antagonist in 1979’s “Mad Max”).
So here it is, then. After disqualifying everything else by my rigorous (but, yes, also subjective and debatable and perhaps a little bit insufferable) standards, I’d say that “Blade Runner 2049” is the longest we’ve ever waited for a true sequel — which I would define as a movie in which an actor or actress reprises his or her role as a central character in a continuous narrative. “Blade Runner 2049” checked that box by bringing Harrison Ford back to play Rick Deckard.
The 2017 film came to theaters more than 35 years after the first “Blade Runner.”
Other true sequels with impressive gaps
“The Odd Couple II,” which brought back screenwriter Neil Simon and stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It was released 30 years after the original film.
“Tron: Legacy,” released more than 28 years after “Tron.”
“The Color of Money,” released 25 years after “The Hustler.”
“Psycho II,” almost 23 years later.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” also almost 23 years after its predecessor.
“Independence Day: Resurgence,” about 20 years later.
“Dumb and Dumber To” and 2008’s “Rambo” came out nearly two decades after their most-recent installments.
Other huge gaps
19 years: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Texasville” (19 years)
18 years: “Blues Brothers 2000”
16 years: “Rocky Balboa,” “The Two Jakes,” “The Godfather Part III”
15 years: “Escape from L.A.”
14 years: “Zoolander 2,” “Jurassic World,” “Basic Instinct 2,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” “The Incredibles 2”