Is It a Prequel, Sequel or Remake?

Olivia Cantor

Image: Summit Entertainment / Thunder Road Pictures / 87Eleven Productions

About This Quiz

Can you differentiate a prequel from a sequel or a remake and reboot? A true blue movie buff like you can, for sure!

We now live in a world where film storylines crisscross between two or more movies. These "shared universe" narratives make film-watching exciting but also confusing, especially when you miss seeing certain installments. Worse, it gets convoluted when the story appears as a prequel of a sequel or maybe a reboot of an original with an alternate timeline. You following this so far? See, it's really complicated!

Let's define terms first. A sequel is a film that comes after the original one. So it can have two, three, or even over four films in sequential order. But if one of those sequels presented a film with a "story time" that takes place before the original film's "story time," then that qualifies as a prequel. And yes, an original film can also have many prequel films. Watch out for those examples in the quiz!

As for the remake, that's basically modernizing an old film in different ways. The remake can be an update of the film so its story takes place in the present time; details get adapted or modified to suit the times. It can also take characters or situations from the original but rework them with newer characters and situations in the remake. Meanwhile, the reboot sounds just like a remake, but it can totally go toward a different direction with newer characters or worlds in new storylines.

With all these definitions, can you now guess a film's placement in its series? We'll give you clues, OK? Have fun figuring them out!

Which of these films was the direct sequel of "Marvel's The Avengers"?

The whole MCU film series has 23 films in its "Infinity Saga" collection subdivided into three distinct phases. "Marvel's The Avengers" is in the first phase while its direct sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," is in the second phase. The next two sequels are both in the third phase.

This is the monster movie franchise rebooted by Tom Cruise. Know this one?

There were three "The Mummy" films made by Stephen Sommers in the late '90s and 2000s, all of which starred Brendan Fraser in the comedic lead. Tom Cruise rebooted the first one in that series in 2017. It wasn't much of a comedy, though, since it's darker in storyline and special effects.

The word "prequel" became more common in the late '90s upon the release of a prequel in which sci-fi saga?

Blame it on George Lucas for premiering a film that says it's already the fourth one back in 1977 entitled "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" followed by two more films. They call these the original trilogy. He then made an elaborate backstory for them and called it the prequel trilogy. Most true fans will tell you the prequel trilogy didn't need to be made.

After Harry Potter discovered his true self in "The Sorcerer's Stone," which sequel came next?

Following the Harry Potter development of the book series closely, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" echoed the major events in author J.K. Rowling's book two. American filmmaker Chris Columbus directed these first two films.

Which Hulk film did the 2008 MCU version reboot?

It was Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk" film that MCU remade back in 2008, replacing Eric Bana with Edward Norton for the lead. Norton didn't continue on with this Hulk role in the integrated MCU storylines since he had a falling out with the producers. That was how Mark Ruffalo got the role.

"Red Dragon" was the prequel film of which terrifying thriller?

Hollywood sometimes picks the more controversial book in a series to adapt into film. This happened with author Thomas Harris when his second novel, "Silence of the Lambs," got adapted first into that 1991 award-winning movie. But "Red Dragon" came first and "Hannibal" is the third in the series. Did you know "Red Dragon" is also a remake? Check out "Manhunter" sometime!

After "Before Sunrise," which sequel got scheduled next?

Generation X's "it couple" of '90s movies had to be Jesse and Céline from "Before Sunrise." They first meet in a chance encounter in that film and meet up again almost a decade after in "Before Sunset." They reunite again after almost another decade in "Before Midnight."

Which of these "Thor" films was the second sequel?

Marvel's Norse god Thor got his solo MCU movie in 2011 which produced a 2013 sequel entitled "Thor: Dark World." The next sequel entitled "Thor: Ragnarok" tried to delve deeper into Norse Mythology by featuring the end-of-the-world event called Ragnarok but with a comedic Marvel approach.

Emma Watson starred in the live-action remake of which Disney animated classic?

Emma Watson starred in another Stephen Chbosky-written film in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." The scriptwriter also wrote the novel and the script adaptation of "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" which he also directed. Watson co-starred there with Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller.

From "The Fast and the Furious" franchise, which one served as the prequel?

"The Fast and the Furious" producers upped the ante by redirecting the path of one sequel in the series. By making "Fast Five" into a prequel, we don't get to see much of the street races that pumped our adrenalin in the previous films. It's more of a heist-themed film and not just about racing.

Which of these Mad Max films feels more like a remake than a sequel?

With Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in his iconic role in "Mad Max: Fury Road" plus creator George Miller wanting a "revisiting" of this plot, the film is more of a remake than a sequel. Having another co-star with a stronger narrative arc in Imperator Furiosa also signified this change in direction.

Daniel Craig starred in which 2006 007 remake?

Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel is "Casino Royale," but its 1967 film adaptation followed a comedic approach that satirized the 007 persona and enigma. Daniel Craig's 2006 portrayal brought back the suave action hero-spy persona audiences came to love.

This Indiana Jones adventure was the prequel of the series. Name which one!

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" took place in 1936 where we saw Indy battle it out with the Nazis. But its sequel, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," was actually a prequel since it happened in 1935. We find Indy having adventures in China and India in this one.

Which of these heist films had a gender-flipped remake?

"Ocean's 8" flipped the fun high-stakes heist film started by "Ocean's Eleven" by featuring an all-female con team. The connecting factor here is that Debbie Ocean and Danny Ocean are siblings. But that 2001 film was also a remake of a 1960 film called "Ocean's 11" starring Hollywood's Rat Pack.

"The Terminator" original's immediate sequel has which title?

Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor character in "The Terminator" set up the necessary plot in that story by being the mother of a future hero. But she wowed audiences in the sequel called "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" when her character took charge of things and fought the baddies to protect her son.

What's the title of "The Lord of the Rings" middle film sequel?

Peter Jackson and his crew brought "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and its sequel "The Two Towers" to life, ending with the last sequel "The Return of the King." Since all films shared similar worlds and characters, they shot all three films at the same time, not one after the other.

"X-Men: First Class" is which kind of film?

Curious as to how our favorite adult mutants came to be in the X-Men series? Then "X-Men: First Class" solves this curiosity, as the prequel presented their backstories starting from their childhood. The highlight here is seeing how future Professor X and Magneto were BFFs before becoming "frenemies."

In the "Divergent" series, which is the direct sequel to the first film?

Veronica Roth originally wrote the "Divergent" young adult post-apocalyptic novels in three books. The official sequel is "Insurgent," and the third is "Allegiant" while a fourth one contained short fiction related to the story arcs of the first three novels. But only the three got adapted into films.

Which one is the prequel of "Monsters, Inc."?

Before adults start working in the real world as professionals, they have to attend formal schooling first. This is what "Monsters University" explored when it released a "prequel sequel" to the popular "Monsters Inc." movie. It's the first ever prequel movie made by Pixar Animation Studios.

This rom-com's original had Humphrey Bogart as a co-star while the remake had Harrison Ford taking over his role. What's the film?

"Sabrina" became an iconic 1954 film due to its lead star, Audrey Hepburn, playing the titular character with innocence and finesse. Julia Ormond took over the role in the 1995 remake, playing the character as a woman finding her way toward self-emancipation and independence.

Among the Dollars Trilogy, this was the prequel film. What's the title?

Clint Eastwood starred in director Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy of '60s spaghetti western films. It's also known as The Man with No Name Trilogy since that's what Eastwood's character was all about. The third film in the series called "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" served the prequel story.

Capt. Jack Sparrow appeared for the second time in which "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series title?

Johnny Depp's iconic take on the swashbuckling-bumbling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow is all over the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. He debuted in 2003's "The Curse of the Black Pearl" and followed it up with 2006's "Dead Man's Chest." His last appearance was in 2017's "Dead Men Tell No Tales."

Which actress didn't play the lead in any remake of "A Star is Born"?

Janet Gaynor played the first Hollywood hopeful in 1937's "A Star Is Born" before Judy Garland morphed the role into her own in the 1954 remake. Barbra Streisand also had her own approach in the 1976 remake which Lady Gaga's 2018 portrayal somewhat echoed. Madonna wasn't in any of these films.

Before he hung out with the Lost Boys, this 2015 prequel explained where he came from. Do you know this titular character?

One of the most recognized children's story in the world is Peter Pan's exploits as a naughty boy with a golden heart whose nemesis is a pirate named Captain Hook. This 2015 "Pan" prequel explores another side of the Peter Pan mystique: before the time he and Hook became mortal enemies.

Search for the right sequel: "Finding Nemo" or "Finding Dory"?

Before Dory got lost in the sea, Nemo was the first one his father Marlin had to search for. The 2003 film "Finding Nemo" tackled that adventure in the Great Barrier Reef. Then the 2016 sequel "Finding Dory" featured the forgetful blue tang fish and her quest to search for her parents.

Baz Luhrmann's edgy "Romeo + Juliet" remake featured which pair as the star-crossed lovers?

Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes took over the Romeo and Juliet roles in Baz Luhrmann's updated remake. Instead of this being a "Shakespearean costume film" like other depictions, he set it in modern times featuring contemporary concerns like media influence, gun violence and corporate greed.

Toto, we don't think Dorothy's here anymore because it's the prequel. Do you know the title?

"Oz the Great and Powerful" still reflects certain characters, elements and places of the Oz novels by L. Frank Baum. This prequel film tells the story way before Dorothy and Toto land in Oz to meet the Wizard and the other characters. This one establishes where the Wizard came from first.

It's the first "Transformers" sequel without Megan Fox. Know the title?

"Transformers" fans enjoyed the chemistry between nerdy Shia LaBeouf and sexy Megan Fox in the first film and the first sequel. But she didn't come back in the next sequel called "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." LaBeouf didn't return in the next sequel "Transformers: Age of Extinction" either.

Scarlett Johansson starred in this controversial animé remake. What's the title?

Media and cultural theorists called Scarlett Johansson's casting in "Ghost in the Shell" whitewashing. This means the original material's character wasn't Caucasian, but Hollywood transformed her into a white character instead of retaining her Japanese heritage.

Newt Scamander took the reins from Harry Potter in which magical prequel film?

Although "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" exists as a book by J.K. Rowling, it doesn't contain a story like her Harry Potter series. It's more of a textbook that Hogwarts kids use in class. Rowling wrote the story directly for the film, her first time trying to write a screenplay format.

In the "Die Hard" series, which was the last sequel as of 2013?

Since the 1988 debut of John McClane's character in "Die Hard," we saw his professional and personal journeys over the years. We saw him last in 2013's "A Good Day to Die Hard" where he learns that his grown-up son is a CIA agent.

Lindsay Lohan played the personality-swapping kid in which Disney remake?

Can you imagine a young Jodie Foster playing the teen role in "Freaky Friday"? Barbara Harris played her mother in that 1976 film. In the 2003 remake, it's Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis swapping personalities. There's also a 1995 TV film remake featuring Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffman as leads.

Before Frodo led the pack, his Uncle Bilbo led the way in which prequel?

In the film world, "The Fellowship of the Ring" came first, then its two sequels followed suit before the prequel trilogy "The Hobbit" came about. But in the publication world, J.R.R. Tolkien's book "The Hobbit" came out first and the first "The Lord of the Rings" book was the actual sequel.

Which of these Batman film sequels did Tim Burton direct?

Tim Burton's dark but brightly colored approach to the Batman films surfaced in 1989's "Batman" and 1992's sequel "Batman Returns." The later Batman films appeared grittier in look and content as they got helmed by different directors.

Can you identify this Bourne film sequel that didn't star Matt Damon?

The assassin amnesiac Jason Bourne appeared in the Matt Damon-led series starting with 2002's "The Bourne Identity." But in the third sequel "The Bourne Legacy," another character led the story, portrayed by Jeremy Renner. Bourne's character only gets mentioned here.

Colin Farrell took over for Arnold Schwarzenegger in which sci-fi remake?

The 1990 original of "Total Recall" had Schwarzenegger paired off with Sharon Stone as the secret agent posing as the lead character's wife. The 2012 remake partnered Farrell with Kate Beckinsale playing Stone's part. Though the dystopian look got modernized, its story remained largely the same.

Before Ripley fought the "Alien," what was its prequel film?

The 2012 film "Prometheus" serves as the prequel story to the 1979 "Alien" original. Ridley Scott directed this prequel and that first film in the series. James Cameron took over the directorial duties for the sequel "Aliens" while David Fincher directed "Alien 3."

Which '80s comedy film got an all-female remake in 2016?

The 2016 update of "Ghostbusters" took the original film's concept and developed it with a fresh all-female view. They also flipped the gender of the secretary since Chris Hemsworth played this part as a comic relief. If you watch closely, major stars of the original films appeared in cameos here.

Do you know this 2016 Snow White story prequel?

"The Huntsman: Winter's War" starts its Snow White story without this eponymous character so it's like a prequel. But the latter half of the film feels more like a sequel since the events there take off from the "Snow White and the Huntsman" details. But we still don't see Snow White in this film.

The last Austin Powers sequel is this one. You know the title, baby?

Austin Powers is Mike Myers' parody of suave British spy James Bond and other characters like him. The difference is that Powers looks trapped in the swinging '60s culture based on his clothing, mannerisms and language. We saw him last in the 2002 sequel "Austin Powers in Goldmember."

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