15 Film Prequels That Are Definitely Worth Watching

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Film prequels are difficult to create. Studios must find a way to add meaningful new concepts to an existing franchise without changing any of the core canon. Since the films are typically made long after the original has been released, it can be challenging to captivate a new viewer base while also appealing to the original fans.

For these reasons, audiences don’t receive most prequel films well. Even when the original team creates the film, the movie is only sometimes worth watching. But in some special cases, studios strike gold with a prequel and add something new and creative to a beloved film. Check out our list of the 15 best prequels we guarantee are worth watching.

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Photo Credit: United Artists.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly may be the most recognized Western films ever. This Clint Eastwood classic is a prequel to the classic films A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. What’s interesting about this film is that it was released as the final film of a three-part trilogy.

Yet, viewers need to realize that it’s a prequel or part of a trilogy. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has become so iconic that the other films don’t even need to be included in discussing how beloved this film is.

2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Planet of the Apes is a franchise that spans over 50 years and has produced 10 films. Similar to the Star Wars franchise, the most recent films have worked as a set of prequels to the originals. The first of these films is Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

This film changes the audience’s viewpoint from the horrors faced by humans during the reign of the apes to the perspective of the apes themselves. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes shows how unethical experimentation on animals leads to humanity’s ruin. This more profound message resonated with audiences and led to the film being considered a success.

3. Prey

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

A direct-to-streaming Prey prequel wasn’t expected to perform well when the film was first announced. The franchise had been losing steam since its original success in the ’80s, and the previous film, The Predator, failed to wow fans at the box office.

Luckily, Prey took a different route than its predecessors. Prey focused on character development and story crafting instead of action sequences and explosions; this change gave the action purpose and consequences. Prey takes everything fans love about the Predator franchise and breathes fresh life into the dying series.

4. Pearl

Photo Credit: A24.

Ti West knew that he had something special when creating the film X—so much so that he went ahead and filmed a prequel to the movie as they worked on the original. This risky move paid off as audiences loved both films and eagerly awaited a third.

Pearl is a fabulous prequel to X and a beautifully shot standalone film. The movie combines elements of The Wizard of Oz and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a way that shouldn’t work, but is fantastic.

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5. Red Dragon

Photo Credit: MGM.

Anthony Hopkins has so much acting prowess that he can make a cannibalistic psychiatrist a household name. Red Dragon gives audiences more time to enjoy the exploits of Doctor Lecter and shows us what he was up to before the events of The Silence of the Lambs.

While the prequel can’t hold up to The Silence of the Lambs, as few films can, it’s still an enjoyable watch that gives more backstory to this fascinating character. The combined acting power of Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, and Edward Norton is something everyone should experience.

6. Prometheus

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Prometheus didn’t receive the love it deserved when it was first released. Much of this can be blamed on bad marketing. The film was advertised so that general audiences were unaware that this was an Alien prequel. Instead, it just looked like a generic sci-fi film.

Now that some time has passed, the film is regarded as an essential piece of the Alien franchise’s lore. Fans of the series are still attempting to dissect any hidden meaning Ridley Scott may have inserted into the film that may unravel the tangled web of the Alien franchise canon.

7. The Godfather: Part II

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This film is both a prequel and a sequel. The Godfather: Part II is split into two segments; one follows Michael Corleone as he becomes more entrenched in his family business, while the other takes us back to his father Vito Corleone’s earlier life in 1917, showing audiences his rise to power.

This approach by director Francis Ford Coppola led to the creation of one of the best films ever. Audiences get a two-for-one deal as they witness the tragic story of both father and son play out in a single film.

8. Ouija: Origin of Evil

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Traditionally, a prequel doesn’t perform as well as its predecessor. But Mike Flannagin proved that is only sometimes the case with his work on Ouija: Origin of Evil. The original Ouija film wasn’t received well by audiences, and critics ripped the film as one of the most terrible horror films in recent years.

Yet, Ouija: Origin of Evil is considered better than it has any right to be, considering what the source material is. Flannagin manages to take a party game and create a genuinely terrifying film. It may not be the best horror film ever made, but it’s worth watching.

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9. X-Men: First Class

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Not all X-Men prequels are created equal. X-Men Origins: Wolverine almost killed the Deadpool franchise before it even started. But sometimes, a prequel can defy expectations and be entertaining while further building upon the story.

X-Men: First Class works because it works on things touched on in previous films and gives audiences an expanded view of the world of the X-Men. It shows fans how Magneto and Professor X began their long journey into a respected rivalry and friendship.

10. The Thing 2011

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Thing’s prequel received backlash when it was first released for using CGI over practical effects. The film also wasn’t advertised as a prequel, leading fans to believe this was a shot-for-shot remake with different effects.

We won’t spoil anything here, but the film’s ending shows why this is one of the best horror prequels ever. While practical effects are preferable to CGI, The Thing is a great sci-fi horror film that works as intended.

11. Monsters University

Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar.

Pixar Animation Studios has always had a knack for creating movies that the whole family can enjoy. Monsters University is the prequel to the groundbreaking hit Monsters Inc. The film serves as a way for fans to get more info on the world of Monsters Inc. and how one becomes a professional scarer.

The film works for many of the same reasons the original did. The world of Monsters Inc. is fascinating to both children and adults alike. And the chemistry between John Goodman and Billy Crystal makes this film a blast.

12. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a prequel film based on the events of the TV series Twin Peaks. If a movie does very well, Studious will likely make a series based on the franchise to expand the lore. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is the only example of the process happening in the opposite direction.

Fans of the original series were happy to receive more David Lynch wackiness in any form they could get, and the film is considered a success. As with many Lynch projects, this film doesn’t make sense on the surface, but that doesn’t stop fans from enjoying it anyway.

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13. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Photo Credit: Lucasfilms.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is one of the most well-known films ever created. The film’s impact on 1980s pop culture can still be felt today. Yet many people think of the movie as something other than a prequel, even though it was set one year before the event of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

This film is a bit controversial by today’s standards. The depiction of non-Western countries leaves something to be desired, and the film continues to receive backlash for its portrayal of the goddess Kali. The movie still works as a great time capsule for action-adventure films of the 1980s.

14. Rogue One

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Attempting to discuss the Star Wars prequels is a tricky thing to do. There are so many interpretations of the lore and canon that it is difficult to get a consensus on what films fans enjoy or even count as ‘real’ Star Wars films.

Rogue One is a prequel to A New Hope that fills in some of the black spaces in the lore that weren’t covered in the original films. Fans love how the film builds upon the existing story to create something new yet familiar.

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15. Puss in Boots

Photo Credit: Dreamworks.

The Shrek franchise has massively affected pop culture. The original film was released almost 25 years ago, yet the film is still referenced in memes and shows regularly. Surprisingly, one of the most well-received characters from this franchise is the cat assassin, Puss in Boots.

After appearing in Shrek 2, Puss in Boots received his own prequel to further flesh out this beloved character. The film was a huge hit at the box office as audiences of all demographics fell in love with Antonio Banderas’s over-the-top depiction of the cute and cuddly assassin.

 

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