So, why was the Star Wars reboot more successful than that of Indiana Jones if both are beloved movie franchises from which Hollywood felt more stories could be told? The answer lies in the proper use of nostalgia. With his reboot of the Star Wars universe, director J.J. Abrams created a film that effectively and properly embraced the sense of nostalgia audiences feel for the original trilogy from a galaxy far, far away – and infused that deep adoration into every single frame. It was a triumph, and was rightly hailed as such. Abrams is a dedicated Star Wars fan, and returned the franchise to the almost tangible feel of the original trilogy, while introducing new characters and story elements to propel the narrative into the next chapters.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, on the other hand, was directed by Steven Spielberg, who also directed each of the previous instalments. In addition, the story was by George Lucas, who wrote the story for the previous three films, too. So, whereas Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a fan at the helm, who added new life to the script along with a collaborator on the original trilogy (Lawrence Kasdan), Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull became somewhat stagnant under the weight of its own history and reverence.
So, with Independence Day: Resurgence currently struggling at the box office – twenty years after its original movie broke records – and both Blade Runner 2 and Bad Boys 3 heading our way soon enough, it’s worth spending some time looking at late movie sequels (released 10 years or more after the original) and asking why some of them work, while others do not. This current trend is by no means new. As we’re about to see, Hollywood has a long history of resurrecting film series that were long thought dormant.