Prequels are having a moment. 2024 sees the release of The First Omen (which, somewhat confusingly, is actually the sixth movie in The Omen franchise) as well as the first prequel from the Mad Max series, Furiosa. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of one of the biggest prequels in film history, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.

These are all high-profile projects, but prequels often mark the last, desperate act of a dying franchise. Having exhausted all other creatively promising options, and/or having lost key stars or filmmakers to other projects, they have no choice but to turn back the clock, hire actors who sort of look like the stars of previous movies, and hope for the best.

While some prequels, like The Phantom Menace, have become major hits, and one even won an Academy Award for Best Picture (thanks a lot, The Godfather Part II!) so many others have faded into obscurity. Of course, we here at ScreenCrush can’t let anything go. In our personal lives, that is a huge problem. But professionally, it allows us to make articles like this about the world of forgotten movie prequels. So on the whole, it all sort of balances out.

These 12 prequels — some decades old, a few released in just the last few years — all exist...ish. But they certainly didn’t break records at the box office, or do much more than extended the life of a fading movie franchise. Let’s hope for better from Furiosa.

12 Forgotten Movie Prequels

These prequels were made. Then they were forgotten. Or in some cases, people never knew they existed in the first place.

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Gallery Credit: Emma Stefansky

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