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Top 10 Sequels that Came Out YEARS After the Original

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Nick Spake Movies that were released as sequels many years after their original predecessors had come out! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Sequels that took forever to be released. But what will take the top spot on our list? Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens, The Color of Money, or Mad Max Fury Road? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to MattW128 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Sequels%20that%20came%20out%20Years%20after%20the%20original

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Well, it’s about time. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sequels That Came Out Years After the Original.

For this list, we’re taking a look at follow-ups that came out a significant amount of time after their predecessor. We haven’t necessarily ranked these based on the quality of the sequel, but rather a mix of the waiting time, the level of anticipation, and (to a lesser extent) the degree to which it lived up to or surpassed expectations.

#10: “Jurassic World” (2015)

Previous Film: “Jurassic Park III” (2001)

After the disappointment that was “Jurassic Park III,” audiences weren’t especially excited for another sequel. So it isn’t surprising that a fourth installment spent just over 13 years in development hell. Once “Jurassic World” came out, though, people lined up to endorse this park. Although the film had no shortage of nostalgia, it also introduced several interesting new ideas. For example, what if a dinosaur theme park actually opened up to the public? What if scientists created an entirely new dinosaur? What if Chris Pratt trained a pack of Velociraptors?! While it didn’t outshine the 1993 classic, “Jurassic World” is widely considered the best “Jurassic Park” sequel to date. The final act alone made this blockbuster well worth the wait.

#9: “Tron: Legacy” (2010)

Previous Film: “Tron” (1982)

While the original “Tron” was only a modest box office success, it marked a significant turning point for computer animation and became a cult classic over time. Jump ahead almost three decades and the long-awaited follow-up finally hit theaters. Although the convoluted story left many people scratching their heads, “Tron: Legacy” certainly didn’t disappoint in the visual department. “The Grid” in particular got a serious upgrade, showcasing special effects unimaginable in 1982. Equally impressive, Jeff Bridges was able to reprise his role as Kevin Flynn while also portraying a younger version of himself through digital de-aging. Movies and video games have certainly come a long way... at least on a technical level.

#8: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008)

Previous Film: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)

Seeing how the previous film was called “The Last Crusade,” audiences assumed Indiana Jones had hung up his whip and fedora for good. Steven Spielberg was reluctant to make a fourth “Indiana Jones”, but he eventually signed on for “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Set in 1957, this highly anticipated sequel picked up nineteen years later for another adventure. While the film delivered a couple of fun action sequences, there was some criticism about the cheesy CGI aliens, the even cheesier CGI gophers, and the infamous nuking the fridge scene. The film isn’t without fans though, and hopefully Spielberg can get the franchise back on track with the fifth installment set for 2019.

#7: “The Godfather Part III” (1990)

Previous Film: “The Godfather Part II” (1974)

With the release of “The Godfather Part II” in 1974, director Francis Ford Coppola felt that the Corleone saga was officially over. After “One from the Heart” flopped at the box office, however, Coppola had to make several films to pay off his debts. Enter “The Godfather Part III.” This final chapter returns to an aging Michael Corleone just as the sins of his past begin to catch up. The film was a bit of a mixed bag, simultaneously earning several Academy Award nominations and winning two Razzies. While often viewed as the trilogy’s weakest link, “The Godfather Part III” did have some of the best moments in the entire series. For many moviegoers, that’s a hard offer to refuse.

#6: “Toy Story 3” (2010)

Previous Film: “Toy Story 2” (1999)

It was a rocky road to the big screen for “Toy Story 3.” In 2004, Disney announced plans to produce the film without Pixar. With the purchase of Pixar by Disney in 2006 however, Pixar took back the reins. Finally hitting the big screen in 2010, “Toy Story 3” not only lived up to its exceptional predecessors, but also successfully brought the then-trilogy full circle. With Andy going off to college, the film revolved around letting go of childhood and moving on to new things. The comedy-drama managed to connect with audiences of all ages - whether you were an adult who grew up with the “Toy Story” movies or a child meeting Woody and Buzz for the first time.

#5: “Finding Dory” (2016)

Previous Film: “Finding Nemo” (2003)

Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t the only person who was eager to see a “Finding Nemo” sequel get off the ground. For nearly a decade, audiences had been calling for more of Marlin, Nemo, and of course Dory. Their wishes were at long last fulfilled with the release of “Finding Dory,” which shifted the focus to that delightfully forgetful scene-stealing blue tang. The film delved deep into Dory’s origins with a daring quest to find her parents. As they did with the “Toy Story” sequels, Pixar expanded upon a beloved classic with humor, heart, and unforgettable characters. It was a long journey, but fans that “just kept swimming” were certainly rewarded for their patience with this worthy sequel.

#4: “Rocky Balboa” (2006)

Previous Film: “Rocky V” (1990)

Critics would say that the “Rocky” sequels range from good, to bad, to just plain ugly. When it was announced that the Italian Stallion would be getting back into the ring 16 years after the reviled “Rocky V,” some people rolled their eyes and laughed. Against all the odds, however, Sylvester Stallone actually delivered a tasteful, poignant, and exhilarating return to form. Now in his mid-fifties, Rocky decides to come out of retirement for one last fight. Packing an emotional punch, “Rock Balboa” took critics and audiences by surprise in true underdog fashion. It’s a testament to the character of Rocky Balboa that even decades after his debut, cinemagoers are still coming back to cheer him on.

#3: “The Color of Money” (1986)

Previous Film: “The Hustler” (1961)

Coming out in 1961, “The Hustler” was a dark, gripping, and unsettling character study about a pool shark torn between his lifestyle and the woman he loves. In “The Color of Money,” Paul Newman reprised his role as “Fast Eddie” Felson and won a Best Actor Oscar in the process. Taking place a couple decades down the line, this Martin Scorsese film follows Eddie and his young protégé Vincent, played by Tom Cruise. Teaching Vincent everything he knows about pool hustling, Eddie gets back into the game after a long hiatus. While not as complex as its predecessor, “The Color of Money” is an engrossing buddy picture about the friendship and rivalry between two expert pool players.

#2: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

Previous Film: “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985)

For almost three decades, it look liked “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” would be Max Rockatansky’s final ride. But then director George Miller came roaring back into action with this fourth installment. With mind-blowing stunts, ingenious choreography, and emotive performances, “Fury Road” proved to be arguably the best “Mad Max” movie to date. It not only left its predecessors in the dust, but also set a whole new standard for action movies. Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences couldn’t deny the sheer brilliance of this sequel, nominating it for Best Picture and Best Director, among other nods. With any luck, we won’t have to wait another thirty years to see Max and Furiosa back on the silver screen.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (2010)

Previous Film: “Wall Street” (1987)

“SCRE4M” (2011)
Previous Film: Scream 3 (2000)

“The Rescuers Down Under” (1990)

Previous Film: “The Rescuers” (1977)

#1: “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (2015)

Previous Film: “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983)

After George Lucas sold the “Star Wars” franchise to Disney, it was announced that we’d finally get a follow-up to “Return of the Jedi.” This first entry in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy had to compensate for the uneven prequel trilogy while also living up to the original trilogy. Fortunately, director J. J. Abrams delivered the goods with this stunning blockbuster. In addition to returning to the franchise’s roots, “The Force Awakens” gave us a slew of compelling new characters, worlds, and storylines. For the first time in over thirty years, audiences felt like they were watching a traditional “Star Wars” movie, giving the entire franchise a new hope.

Do you agree with our list? What “long in the making sequel” did you feel was most worth the wait? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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