5 Directors Who Refused to Make Sequels to Their Hit Movies

Back to the Future

Hollywood is obviously crazy about making sequels to most successful movies and many actors often see sequels as easy paydays. However, fans often worry that a bad and sometimes totally unnecessary sequel could "ruin" the original movie they love so much. Surprisingly, they’re not always alone in the sentiment. Although Hollywood is a town run by box office success, there have been a few instances in which directors not only refused to make sequels to their successful movies, but, in some cases, they have actually blocked attempts by studios to make a sequel with anyone else.

Walt Disney – 'Snow White Returns'

Snow White

In the 1990s, Disney produced numerous direct-to-video sequels to its animated classics. Though they sold well, many fans felt the sequels didn't do justice to the originals. One of the few movies that Disney never made a sequel to was the company’s first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Fans thought this was out of respect for company founder Walt Disney.

Actually, shortly after the release of Snow White and its massive box office success, Disney animators began working on a cartoon short sequel titled Snow White Returns. The short was thought up as a way to use sequences that were cut from the movie.

However, Walt Disney decided not to put the short into production after all. Although in the 2000s Disney developed ideas for a computer-animated Snow White prequel, shortly after Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter became head of Disney Animation, he canceled it. Disney no longer has any plans to make another Snow White animated movie.

Steven Spielberg – 'E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears'

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Pictures

After E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial became the highest-grossing film of all time and made millions in merchandising, Universal begged director Steven Spielberg for a sequel. However, outside of the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park film series, Spielberg has been averse to making sequels. For example, he wanted nothing to do with Jaws 2 when Universal produced that movie a few years earlier.

Spielberg and E.T. writer Melissa Mathison wrote a treatment for a sequel titled E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears. Shockingly, the sequel is a horror movie about Elliot and his friends being abducted and tortured by evil aliens that would have likely given nightmares to every single child who watched it. On top of that, E.T. would barely be in the movie.

It has been rumored that Spielberg and Mathison wrote a purposely unusable treatment so Universal would stop asking for a sequel, but it appears that Spielberg really did consider making E.T. II. Thankfully he didn’t, and ever since, he has denied any intention of making an E.T. sequel despite how much money it would likely make.

The Coen Brothers – 'The Big Lebowski 2'

The Big Lebowski
Gramercy Pictures

Fans of Jeff Bridges’ beloved character The Dude were surprised when Tara Reid, who had a minor role in The Big Lebowski, announced at a red carpet event in 2011 that a sequel to the 1998 classic was on its way. When asked for comment, Bridges was unaware of it happening (though he was receptive to the idea). The Coens quickly denied a sequel was in the works, and Reid claimed that she had been confused. She ended up joking about her mistake by making a video for Funny or Die in which she made a "sequel" with herself playing all the roles.

While the Coen Brothers once expressed interest in writing a spinoff movie for John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana character from the movie, nothing came of the idea. Whenever asked, the Coens continue to express that they will not make a Big Lebowski sequel no matter how much fans miss The Dude.

Robert Zemeckis – 'Back To The Future Part IV'

Back to the Future
Universal Pictures

With 2015 being the thirtieth anniversary of Back to the Future and also the year Back to the Future Part II is set, some fans wondered if director Robert Zemeckis plans on continuing Marty McFly’s adventures on the big screen or, because of Michael J. Fox’s health issues, allowing a remake to be made.

However, the only way a fourth Back to the Future movie or remake could happen is over Zemeckis’ dead body – literally. Zemeckis co-holds the rights to the franchise with his Back to the Future co-writer Bob Gale, and he told The Telegraph that he would not allow any sequels or remakes to happen in his lifetime. For his part, Gale has no interest in doing a fourth movie either, but he hasn’t given a “not before I’m dead!” ultimatum on the same level as Zemeckis.

Francis Ford Coppola –' The Godfather Part IV'

Paramount Pictures

Francis Ford Coppola directed three movies based on Mario Puzo’s mafia novel ​The Godfather, with Puzo co-writing all three screenplays with Coppola. Although the third movie is considered significantly inferior to the first two masterpieces, many fans have been willing to give Coppola another shot with a fourth film telling the saga of the Corleone crime family.

Coppola was once open to the idea and Puzo began working on a screenplay. But when Puzo died in 1999, Coppola passed on the idea of making a fourth Godfather movie. Even though part of Puzo’s unused screenplay was turned into the novel The Family Corleone by writer Ed Falco in 2012, Coppola has refused to get involved with Paramount to make another Godfather sequel. It turns out Paramount keeps making Coppola offers he CAN refuse.