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Sequels are stories that take place after the original, often with most if not all of the same cast and frequently in the same setting if not the same location. If a work gets enough sequels, it becomes a Film Serial or Serial Novel. If they turn out to be bad, it's because of Sequelitis.

There are basically two kinds of sequels, planned and unplanned. An unplanned sequel is often the result of an author discovering, much to their delight, that the original did well and readers want more stories with their favorite dashing hero. In these cases the original is very likely a self contained stand alone story that does not require having read a Prequel to understand, often leaving no hints at what a sequel may have in store (or that there would even be one). This gives the author two choices for where to take the sequel: a simple rehash of the last adventure, with new locales and villains but with the same characters (plus a new Sidekick or Love Interest as an Audience Surrogate for those who didn't see the original), or try to go for a more epic arcing story. This is done by exploring the existing mythology and Backstory that the original establishes (or weaving one in wholecloth if the original didn't have one). As you can tell, these are foolproof choices.

If it's a planned sequel then the savvy author will have at least a rough draft or idea of what happens in the sequel(s), what happened in the prequel, and leave in various Sequel Hooks and Schrodingers Guns in the original to later link it with any following stories. These plot hooks will likely be vague enough that the sequel(s) aren't constrained to go in one specific direction. If you ever run into a film that has an unusual, niggling plot detail that is never solved, it may well be because the author hoped for a sequel that never happened. And that makes us sad.

The relationship between a sequel and Prequel is a close one. Like the sequel, the prequel is by definition made after the original has been released, but takes an earlier place chronologically inside the same story while the sequel takes place after. Essentially, all prequels are sequels of a sort.

For much the same reason Hollywood likes to make adaptations of existing works from other media or Remakes of older films, big film studios would love for every film they have to become a series and earn lots of cash. There are a lot of marketing advantages to this: a pre-existing fan base, is easier to write (especially if the film series is going on a novel-per-film rate) and the actors likely had a popularity boost from the original, bringing more viewers in.

Of course, the idea of a sequel is Older Than They Think. William Shakespeare himself wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor as a follow up to a group of historical plays (Henry IV, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part 1, Richard II, and Richard III, while Antony and Cleopatra could be considered one for Julius Caesar. Centuries before even that, Homer wrote The Odyssey as a sequel to The Iliad

No examples please, we'd be here all day.


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