Experts reveal how filmmakers are 'rolling out' origin stories for popular series

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Experts have revealed how filmmakers are rushing to release origin stories for popular series because they think they have ‘an engaged audience on a plate’ – including The Hunger Games, A Quiet Place and Game of Thrones.

It has been announced that A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to the popular Hunger Games series, will be released on November 17, 2023.

Other origin stories for some of Hollywood’s favourite franchises are also set to come out in the next few years, including A Quiet Place, which stars Emily Blunt.

And it’s not just blockbuster films which are getting their spin-off shows made – Game of Thrones’ House of The Dragon is due to be released in August, while Bridgerton’s prequel, which focuses on Queen Charlotte, has already started filming.

There have also been rumblings that Netflix’s The Crown could be given a run of prequels that would cover the reigns of four kings, two World Wars and a global pandemic.

According to experts it can be an ‘easy win’ for filmmakers trying to make their mark to focus on a prequel.

Xav Langton, who directed award-winning independent documentary, The Shell, told FEMAIL: ‘There’s a commercial pragmatism to the prequel. You have an engaged audience on a plate and a movie that a lot of people can instantly relate to, which has a significant promotional value in itself.

Experts have revealed how filmmakers are rushing to release origin stories for popular series because they think they have'an engaged audience on a plate' - including The Hunger Games, A Quiet Place and Game of Thrones (pictured, The Hunger Games)

Experts have revealed how filmmakers are rushing to release origin stories for popular series because they think they have ‘an engaged audience on a plate’ – including The Hunger Games, A Quiet Place and Game of Thrones (pictured, The Hunger Games) 

‘But if the prequel is complacent and takes the audience for granted, it can have a negative impact on the original series.

‘Filmmakers should be wary of leveraging the emotional buy-in that an audience has with an original series that performed very well and then failing to follow up with the prequel. 

‘Misuse the prequel at your peril.’ 

Aaron AuBuchon, Associate Dean at Webster University School of Communications, agreed, saying prequels are ‘doubly difficult’ for filmmakers and the films could often flop. 

And it's not just blockbuster films which are getting their spin-off shows made - Game of Thrones' House of The Dragon is due to be released in August (pictured, the original)

And it’s not just blockbuster films which are getting their spin-off shows made – Game of Thrones’ House of The Dragon is due to be released in August (pictured, the original) 

He said: ‘In fact it’s difficult territory as those origin stories are nearly sacrosanct to the fandoms that embrace them. 

‘Your task is doubly difficult, because you have to win over the average popcorn filmgoer and the diehard fans. 

‘And while the average fan will likely go see the prequel, that same fan probably already has an image in their head of what the character’s origins look like. Go too far afield and you risk alienating many of them. 

‘And if those first-in-line superfans leave the theater angry enough to excoriate your prequel online in droves, you might end up suffering at the box office.

Other origin stories for some of Hollywood's favourite franchises are also set to come out in the next few years, including A Quiet Place, which stars Emily Blunt

Other origin stories for some of Hollywood’s favourite franchises are also set to come out in the next few years, including A Quiet Place, which stars Emily Blunt

‘So, I don’t think prequels are easy territory, but I also think that it can be exciting for writers, producers, and directors to take up the challenge of producing them.

‘And exciting or not, as stated, I think that with a successful enough franchise, eventually the challenge will be forced on someone.’

Some of Hollywood’s top franchises have prequels coming out – so is YOUR favourite on the list? 

MOVIES  

Hunger Games

Prequel Name: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 

Release Date: November 2023 

Predator 

Prequel Name: Prey 

Release Date: Summer 2022 

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Prequel Name: Wonka

Release Date: Unknown 

It 

Prequel Name: Welcome to Derry

Release Date: Unknown 

A Quiet Place 

Prequel Name: A Quiet Place: Day One

Release Date: Unknown 

Despicable Me

Prequel Name: Unknown

Release Date: Unknown 

TV SERIES  

Game of Thrones 

Prequel Name: House of The Dragon

Release Date: August 2022 

Star Trek: The Original Series 

Prequel Name: Strange New Worlds

Release Date: May 2022  

The Crown 

Prequel Name: Unknown

Release Date: Unknown 

Bridgerton  

Prequel Name: Unknown 

Release Date: Unknown 

Killing Eve

Prequel Name: Unknown

Release Date: Unknown 

John Wick

Prequel Name: Unknown

Release Date: Unknown 

The Sopranos

Prequel Name: Unknown

Release Date: Unknown 

There are a host of Hollywood blockbusters and popular TV series which have prequels reported to be released in the coming years. 

The release date for the new Hunger Games film, which is adapted from the 2020 novel by The Hunger Games creator Suzanne Collins, was announced earlier this week as November 2023. 

The original Hunger Games novel trilogy spawned four hit movies, 2012’s The Hunger Games, 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 2014’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2015’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

But the new film follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, several years before he became the ruler of Panem, who was played by Donald Sutherland in the movie trilogy.

He becomes elated when he’s tasked with mentoring the young tribute before the upcoming 10th Hunger Games.

His family has fallen on hard times, and he sees this opportunity to mentor a tribute as a chance to change his family’s fortunes.

His hopes and dreams are dashed, though, as he’s selected to mentor from Lucy Gray Baird, from the impoverished District 12.

Meanwhile Timothée Chamalet recently spent three months shooting the upcoming Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory prequel film Wonka. 

Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka in the 1971 musical film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

The chocolatier was later portrayed by Johnny Depp in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

However Wonka is centred on the character of the same name and will chronicle the years before he opened up his famous chocolate factory.

And earlier this year, it was announced Warner Bros. is continuing to expand its IT franchise by launching a new prequel TV series entitled Welcome to Derry.

The series will explore the origins of the iconic villain Pennywise, and the curse that has haunted the town of Derry, Maine for years, according to The Ankler.

Another report from Variety revealed the series will take place in the 1960s, and will ultimately lead up to the events in the 2017 movie IT: Chapter One.

Both the IT movies, adapted from Stephen King’s epic 1,138-page 1986 novel, were hits at the box office.

The first movie set a box office record with a $123.4 million opening weekend – the largest R-rated horror debut in history – en route to $328.8 million domestic and $701.8 million worldwide, all from just a $35 million budget, making it one of the most profitable movies of all time. 

But it’s not just Hollywood blockbusters which have been given the prequel treatment.  

The long-awaited Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon will premiere in August on HBO and HBO Max.

Announcing the news alongside an image of the show’s logo, the official House Of The Dragon Twitter account wrote: ‘August 21. #HouseoftheDragon’.

Several new images featuring the series’ cast were released in conjunction with the premiere date news.

The images gave fans a glimpse at Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Milly Alcock as Young Rhaenyra, Emily Carey as Young Alicent, Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen

But it's not just Hollywood blockbusters which have been given the prequel treatment - Bridgerton's Queen Charlotte is set to have her origin story filmed for a new series

But it’s not just Hollywood blockbusters which have been given the prequel treatment – Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte is set to have her origin story filmed for a new series 

The new show is based off Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin’s companion book of the same name, that chronicles the 300-year reign of House Targaryen, set before the events of the TV series and books.

Doctor Who’s Matt Smith nabbed the leading role of dragon rider Prince Daemon Targaryen, who is the younger brother of King Viserys.

Game Of Thrones, which premiered on HBO back in 2011, aired its eighth and final season in May of 2019.

It turned the likes of Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner and Kit Harington into household names over the course of nearly a decade on the premium cable network.

Meanwhile Timothée Chamalet recently spent three months shooting the upcoming Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory prequel film Wonka

Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka in the 1971 musical film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Meanwhile Timothée Chamalet recently spent three months shooting the upcoming Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory prequel film Wonka (left, and right, Gene Wilder in the original) 

Meanwhile production of the new Bridgerton prequel is already well underway with  Golda Rosheuvel filming scenes as Queen Charlotte.

It was announced last year that a spin-off series charting the younger years of the flamboyant and gossip-hungry monarch would be in the works, with the show written and produced by Bridgerton creator Shonda Rhimes. 

Set in the mid 18th Century, the prequel examines the young life of Charlotte, the daughter of German royalty who wed British Monarch George III, played in the Netflix drama by Corey Mylchreest, in 1761, when she was 17.

The marriage lasted 57 years and produced 15 children. Miss Amarteifio, 21, who played DCI Roz Huntley’s daughter Sophie in the fourth season of BBC drama Line Of Duty, has also starred in Dr Who and ITV’s Unforgotten.

It will also include the origins of other characters featured in Bridgerton, namely Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury.

Last month, The Daily Mail revealed that plans for a £500million run of prequels for the popular series The Crown are well advanced

Last month, The Daily Mail revealed that plans for a £500million run of prequels for the popular series The Crown are well advanced

And last month, The Daily Mail revealed that plans for a £500million run of prequels for the popular series The Crown are well advanced.

A well-placed source told the newspaper: ‘This is a bit like Star Wars where the opportunity is to extend the franchise by dipping into history.

‘It is going to start with the death of Queen Victoria and will run up to around about where The Crown began, which was with the wedding of the Queen in 1947.

‘Netflix are really keen to make more of The Crown and Peter Morgan is excited by the possibilities of the era. At the moment Peter covers about ten years per series, so on that basis there will be five new series of The Crown.

‘Peter has started writing outlines and plans are being made for filming.’

There are also reports of a prequel to the popular BBC drama series Killing Eve, as well as rumours of an origin story for The Sopranos. 

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