Still going through my movies and I’ve been sorting through my Disney animated features and looking back at all the sequels that got released for them. Back in the 2000s, Disney was cashing in on their most popular animated movies by making loads of direct-to-video ‘sequels’. While many were actually sequels, taking place after the original movie ended, many were known as ‘in-betweenquels’ where a scene or time skip from the original was expanded out to be its own plot, such as Bambi’s time with his father after his mother died. The sequels followed usually one of three patterns, it was three stories set together as though a pilot for an animated series (as many were), one of the aforementioned prequels/in-beweenquels, or some character that reversed the actions of another character. For example, in Little Mermaid II, Ariel’s daughter Melody, a human, wished to become a mermaid as opposed to her mother, who was a mermaid who wished to be a human. Or Lady and the Tramp II, where Scamp, the Tramp’s son, wishes to become a stray. There were a few original plots as well where characters continued to have adventures, such as the Aladdin trilogy, but most were one of those three variations.
They were of varying quality, some quite good though unfortunately never reached the level of the originals, and some where genuinely awful with laughably bad animation and terrible plots. Hunchback of Notre Dame II was particularly egregious, with a plot focusing on a stolen bell and a circus performer that spat on everything that made the original movie so memorable and ground-breaking. Eventually the sequel frenzy spilled over into absurdity, turning the original Cinderella into a freaking trilogy, and the company put a moratorium on the practice. While Disney still releases original movies on DVD, such as continuing the Disney Fairies franchise and numerous Princess programs, direct-to-DVD sequels are no longer practiced.
But that may change soon, as Disney has begun making theatrical sequels to some of their most profitable movies, such as Ralph Breaks the Internet, and the upcoming Frozen II. Perhaps a Little Mermaid IV or Sleeping Beauty V: Malificent’s Revenge may exist after all.