‘The Hateful Eight’ Was A ‘Django Unchained’ Sequel Called ‘Django In White Hell’
Quentin Tarantino wanted to continue with the Django character but ultimately decided he didn’t fit into such a non-heroic story with a cast of immoral characters.
‘Born on the Fourth of July’ Was ‘Platoon 2’
Director Oliver Stone had tried to make “Born on the Fourth of July” even before making “Platoon” and originally got the green light to make the former as a follow up to the success of the latter. After a few production company switches the new owners decided not to link it to another movie they didn’t make.
‘Solace’ Was A Sequel To ‘Se7en’ Called ‘Ei8ht’
It was going to bring back Morgan Freeman but for some unknown reason they scrapped that idea and made “Solace”.
‘Bushwhacked’ Was A ‘Home Alone’ Spinoff
“Home Alone” was the most successful live-action comedy until “Hang Over 2” and they wanted to capitalize on that with a Daniel Stern-starring vehicle. They tweaked it and “Bushwhacked” dropped any connection, besides the actor.
‘Colombiana’ Was A Sequel To ‘Léon: The Professional’
Filmmaker Luc Besson wanted to wait until Natalie Portman was old enough to star in the follow up to her break out role in “Leon” but, as so often happens, Besson and the production company that owned the rights had a falling out, leading to a retooling and a new movie, “Colombiana”, was born, with Besson involved as co-producer.
‘Cyborg’ Was A Sequel To ‘Masters of the Universe’
Production company Cannon Films thought they had a hit on their hands but after “Masters of the Universe” flopped they lost the rights to the characters and instead used the costumes and sets intended for the sequel to make “Cyborg”.
‘Die Hard’ Was A Sequel To ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ Starring Frank Sinatra
The original screenplay for Die Hard was based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, which tells the story of German militants taking over a Los Angeles office block. And due to its connection, Fox was contractually obligated to offer the lead role to Frank Sinatra, who was in his 70s at this time. He passed on it.
‘Minority Report’ Was A ‘Total Recall’ Sequel
Both are based off stories by Phillip K. Dick and originally David Cronenberg was going to make the follow up to “Total Recall” but the production company that owned the rights went out of business allowing 20th Century Fox and Steven Spielberg to obtain the rights and make their own version.
‘Nighthawks’ Was ‘The French Connection III’
Gene Hackman, lead from “The French Connection” had no desire to return to his character which led to a rewrite and recasting with Sylvester Stallone getting the lead role.
‘Predator’ Was Born From A ‘Rocky V’ Joke
After the 1985 release of Rocky IV, many in Hollywood joked that if a fifth Rocky movie were to be made, Rocky Balboa would have to fight an alien after running out of Earthly opponents to spar with. Jim and John Thomas, the screenwriters for Predator, used the joke as inspiration and wrote a screenplay based on it called “Hunter.”
‘Ghosts of Mars’ Was A Third Snake Plissken Film Called ‘Escape from Mars’
John Carpenter had plans to bring back old Snake Plissken for one more run but after the flop of “Escape from L.A.” he had to retool the idea.
‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’ Was Almost ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance’
The script was based on an unproduced story that was originally considered for the third “Die Hard” movie, but it was dropped after producers found the idea too close to Steven Segal’s “Under Siege.”
‘The Collector’ Almost Became A ‘Saw’ Prequel
The creators Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton met with the “Saw” production company Twisted Pictures to pitch their story as part of the “Saw”-verse. That didn’t end up happening but they did get into the “Saw” family later directing “Saw IV, V, and VI.
‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ Was A Sequel To ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’
Steven Spielberg had been trying to make an alien story for a while and he proposed sequel to “Close Encounters” was an alien horror story called “Night Skies.” After a friend was moved to tears by the friendly alien subplot, Spielberg retooled the story to give us the “E.T.” we know and love.
‘Poltergeist’ Was Also A Sequel To ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’
But the horror aspect of that story? Well, it was too good to just ditch completely so Spielberg brought on Tobe Hooper of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” fame to direct. Hooper decided to replace the sci-fi elements with supernatural and “Poltergeist” was born.