You’ve got to hand it to Vin Diesel, the King Midas of crappy movies. After the success of the Fast franchise, and now word that he’s doing another xXx movie, that guy knows how to turn a franchise’s life-support into a cash machine. Surely there are actors other than Vin Diesel worthy of returning to their other failed franchises? We have the list for you.
1. Keanu Reeves - ‘Speed 3’
We straight-up dig Keanu’s recent output, and you can make damn sure that Inverse will be your source for any and all John Wick 2 news. We also have a soft spot in our hearts for early Keanu. Point Break is getting a pointless remake and Bill & Ted are getting a potential threequel, but what about another one of his early career gems? Reeves famously turned down an $11 million paycheck by bailing out of the sequel to his 1994 classic Speed, causing Sandra Bullock to literally sail away in Speed 2: Cruise Control without him. The franchise — ahem — stalled after that. Coming off the gloriously ridiculous power of John Wick it only makes sense for Keanu to resurrect his older, equally ridiculous franchise and make Speed 3.
Keanu has said he’s on board, but what runaway means of conveyance will Officer Jack Traven find himself in again? An airplane, a train, or a spaceship would be thinking too big. How about an evil bomber, perhaps Dennis Hopper’s character’s long lost son out for revenge, straps a bomb to an Uber rideshare and forced Traven to pick up as many people as he can or the bomb explodes. We’d see that.
2. Channing Tatum - ‘G.I. Joe 3’
Back when Tatum signed a three-movie deal to star as Duke in a potential G.I. Joe franchise he was but a small former male stripper with a few dance movies under his belt hoping to make it in tinseltown. Now, dude is a straight-up movie star. He’s gone on record about his disdain for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, telling Howard Stern he said, “Look, I’ll be honest, I fucking hate that movie. I was pushed into doing that movie … They give you the contract and they go, ‘Three picture deal, here you go!’ And as a young [actor] you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that sounds amazing, I’m doing that!’” But it didn’t stop him from showing up — and promptly dying — in the 2013 sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
If the Fast franchise has taught us anything it’s that your character dying doesn’t mean your character is actually dead, so we’re sure they can cook up a reason for why Duke survived. Considering the G.I. Joe franchise seemed to fizzle out after the sequel, and given Tatum’s newfound clout and co-star Dwayne Johnson’s self-described ability to be “franchise Viagra,” we could see how the sprawling nostalgic mythology of G.I. Joe could make for a killer third movie. Hasbro was barely able to extend its multi-billion dollar Transformers movie when it was already far outstaying its welcome, so why not do the same with the Joes? Except make it good this time.
As an aside, we’d just like to point out that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra director Stephen Sommers has a few other moribund franchises to his name, so we’ll make a humble suggestion. Besides Tatum coming back in G.I. Joe 3, why not put Hugh Jackman in a Van Helsing sequel and wake Brendan Fraser up from whatever couch he’s surfing and put him in a fourth Mummy movie? What could go wrong?
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger - ‘Conan 3’
Ahhnuld may actually wield his gigantic sword and don his furry loincloth sooner than we think. The former Governator, current Terminator appeared in two Conan movies in the 1980s, and a planned third installment entitled King Conan has been stuck in development hell ever since. A reboot happened in 2011. It was terrible. But now, the surprise international success of Terminator Genisys may fast-track a third Conan adventure now that Arnold got out of politics and back into acting.
The third movie is rumored to be titled The Legend of Conan and will pick up 30 years after the first two. It will also feature a script by Fast & Furious scribe Chris Morgan. Who better to resurrect a dead franchise than the guy who helped turn a film series about car thieves into one of the most successful action franchises in the world? Arnold seems game. Earlier this year he explained, “I was hoping to do another one, and I [liked] the idea of Conan having been king for a long time, then just threw it all away and went into retirement and went off into the mountains. That whole idea always appealed to me. Then of course he gets asked back because of some hideous and unbelievable things that are happening to the kingdom. So that’s when the battle begins again.” Hopefully we’ll finally get to learn about more of the days of high adventure.
4. Jim Carrey - ‘Ace Ventura 3 or The Mask 3’
No matter when they come on TV, the Ace Ventura movies and The Mask beg you to stop what you’re doing and watch them all the way through. Part of it is early-‘90s nostalgia, part of it is marveling at just how on-point Jim Carrey was 20 years ago. Carrey himself probably realized this when he agreed to appear in what is technically the third Dumb & Dumber movie last year, so why not have him revisit the other two stalled franchises he started in 1994?
All three properties saw terrible follow-ups that didn’t feature Carrey. Specifically, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr. was released in 2009 and saw Ace’s son pick up his dad’s old job. In 2005 Son of the Mask saw Jamie Kennedy, otherwise known as irritation personified, star as a cartoonist who finds the cursed mask ostensibly lost by Carrey in the first one. They and Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd were awful, and since Carrey hasn’t had a much needed original hit in awhile, he might as well get back to assing the tough questions.
5. Matthew McConaughey - ‘Sahara 2’
Comfortably beyond the McConaissance and with a Best Actor Oscar in his hip pocket, Matthew McConaughey can now basically do whatever the hell he wants. So why not make up for past sins? File this one under “longshot,” but McConaughey could get himself in the franchise game by picking up with a sequel to Sahara, the 2005 Indiana Jones-esque adventure comedy based on author Clive Cussler’s “Dirk Pitt” novels. The original bombed big-time at the box office, perhaps in part because of McConaughey and co-star Penelope Cruz’s breakup.
Behind-the-scenes troubles featured a woefully inflated budget that included bribes to the Moroccan government and a lawsuit from Cussler himself claiming the producers sabotaged the movie and left him out of the filmmaking process. Still: How about a sequel? Audiences are in the mood for an Indiana Jones-type at the movie theater again until an actual Indiana Jones reboot happens. There’s also plenty of source material to pull from, so we say, your move McConaughey.
- Daniel Craig: The Golden Compass 2 - YA adaptations are all the rage, and a sequel to this elaborate YA adaptation that bombed before the trend kicked in could work nicely.
- Russell Crowe: Master and Commander 2 - God knows Russell Crowe needs something to do, so why not have him suit up in his britches on the high seas to make a sequel to that movie your dad loved 10 years ago?
- Taylor Kitsch: John Carter 2 - Poor Taylor Kitsch. There isn’t a Friday Night Lights sequel is there? No? Oh. It’s going to be a lot but let’s all kickstart a John Carter sequel to make sure Taylor stays fed.
- Will Smith: Wild Wild West 2 - The giant mechanical spider needs to make an appearance again too.
- Martin Freeman: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 2 - The answer to life, the universe, and everything is to make a sequel to this tragically underrated comedy.