What Was the Best Sequel in History?

Nell Freudenberger, author, Lost and Wanted

Elizabeth Bishop’s lush and gorgeous sequel to the first English novel, the long narrative poem “Crusoe in England,” shows colonialism turning on the colonizers. It’s as devastating as it is funny: “I told myself / ‘Pity should begin at home.’ / So the more / pity I felt, the more I felt at home.”

Graham Roumieu

Erin Lee Carr, author, All That You Leave Behind

Does Buffy the Vampire Slayer count? The television show morphed out of a lackluster film about a girl who fought the forces of darkness. Buffy tackled first times, girlhood, and the death of a parent. It spoke volumes to badass women who wanted to take care of business while kissing a hot vampire.

Taylor Jenkins Reid, author, Daisy Jones & the Six

The best sequel in history has to go to Beyoncé’s solo career. Who knew “Say My Name” and “Bootylicious” with Destiny’s Child were just a warm-up? From “Crazy in Love” and “Single Ladies” to Lemonade and Beychella, Beyoncé’s second act has been an unparalleled feat of cultural domination.

Cathy Schulman, producer, Five Feet Apart

My favorite sequel is Aliens. Not only does the original movie feature cinema’s breakthrough female hero, but she takes no prisoners in the sequel and leaves her former victimhood in the dust.

Reader Responses

Ernest Davis, New York, N.Y.

Einstein’s special theory of relativity, which was revolutionary, was followed a decade later by his general theory of relativity, which was mind-boggling.

Graham Roumieu

David Chill, Los Angeles, Calif.

Four days after throwing a no-hitter against the Boston Braves on June 11, 1938, the Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer followed that up in his next start with another no-hitter, against the Brooklyn Dodgers. It is the only time a pitcher has thrown two consecutive no-hitters in the history of Major League Baseball.

Dennis P. Affholter, Paducah, Ky.

The U.S. Constitution. Twelve of the original 13 states (all but Rhode Island) sent delegates to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation, which was then deemed unfixable. The sequel, ratified in 1788, has stood the test of time.

Barry Cutler, Palm Desert, Calif.

The best sequel in the history of cinema is The Godfather: Part II. However, the danger of The Godfather: Part II being the best sequel ever is that it tempts you to watch The Godfather: Part III, which may be the worst sequel ever.

Graham Roumieu

Peter Delametter, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wolves came back kinder and gentler for the sequel in the form of dogs, which were much more successful domestically than wolves.

Kevin Morales, Edinburg, Texas

The resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day. Talk about a plot twist.

Joshua A. Geltzer, Washington, D.C.

Homer’s The Odyssey. The Iliad told the story of the Trojan War; its sequel describes Odysseus’s subsequent journey home. A rare war sequel that’s better but did not require a higher budget.

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