13 Fantasy Films That Never Got Sequels

Unlike "The Lord of the Rings," not every road goes ever on and on. For every sprawling, multi-part fantasy franchise, there's at least one fantasy film that never got a sequel — and often, that's for the best. After all, some stories lend themselves better to further world-building and epic storytelling. Others don't. Sometimes, a happily ever after needs to stay that way.

Or do they? In a world where studios squeeze popular IPs for all they're worth — and what are fantasy stories if not fairy tales, and what are fairy tales if not some of our oldest IPs? — it's surprising that some of the most popular fantasy films out there haven't made a return visit to the screen. Whether that's because a story is over, a creator has put their foot down, Hollywood politics got in the way, or a simple lack of trying, here are some of the biggest fantasy movies that haven't received sequels — whether they deserve to or not.

The Princess Bride

In "The Princess Bride," star-crossed lovers fight evil princes, pirates, and rodents of unusual size in order to be together and earn their happy ending. And it is just that: an ending. Rob Reiner and William Goldman's classic comedy has enchanted generations since 1987, but there has never been a sequel of any kind. There have been parodies, homages, and celebrity readings galore, but no additional story. Even the original book, which, unlike the movie, ends on a kind of cliffhanger, never got a full follow-up, despite Goldman's best efforts.

To be honest, there shouldn't be a "Princess Bride" sequel! It stands alone as an offbeat fairy tale. If you recall, "The Princess Bride" is framed as a bedtime story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. When the Grandfather gets to the end of the book, he simply starts over. He doesn't reach for the next book in the series. As fun as it might be to see Robin Wright reprise her role as Princess Buttercup after her renegade turns in "House of Cards" and "Wonder Woman," this is one sequel that just wouldn't make sense.

Pan's Labyrinth

The epilogue to "Pan's Labyrinth," Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy, opens up the possibility for another girl to enter the labyrinth at some time in the future, maybe during another time of great political conflict in another corner of the world. But, so far, there has never been a sequel to the 2006 film. 

To be fair, the Academy-award winning director seems more interested in telling new stories. However, he's not totally against directing sequels, as we know from "Blade II" (although, in that case, Stephen Norrington directed the original) and "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," as well as his work on "Pacific Rim Uprising." In fact, in order to make the "Hellboy" sequel, del Toro scrapped what was supposed to be a thematic sequel to "Pan's Labyrinth" titled "3993" — but, again, that was a thematic sequel, meaning it would not have had any character or plot elements in common. Ultimately, "Pan's Labyrinth" is a classic on its own. You'd really need to have a reason to make a sequel, and if del Toro doesn't have one, fans have to respect that.

Beautiful Creatures

"Beautiful Creatures" is one in a long line of YA adaptations that flopped and never made it past the first installment (other examples include "The Golden Compass," "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones," and "Ender's Game") despite big budgets and lots of star power. Of all of these failed attempts, "Beautiful Creatures" probably deserves a sequel most of all. It's campy, has an ending that suggests more to come, and has amassed a cult following since its release in 2013. With the right director and tone, a sequel could be really fun. 

There are four books in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's "Caster Chronicles," the novel series that inspired the film. So, while the two stars of "Beautiful Creatures," Alden Ehreneich ("Solo") and Alice Englert ("Ratched"), are too old to play teenagers, that much source material opens up many possibilities. The story could easily be set years later if Hollywood ever came looking to make a sequel.

My Neighbor Totoro

Unlike Disney or Dreamworks, sequels and franchises aren't really Studio Ghibli's style. Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro" is a stand-alone story about two sisters named Satsuki and Mei who discover magic in their backyard while coping with a sick mother and an unfamiliar new home. You can daydream about how Totoro, the magical creature who befriends the sisters, might find and help other children dealing with trauma or loneliness — but we don't really need to see that, do we? 

A sequel to "My Neighbor Totoro" might feel too much like "Mary Poppins Returns," which, despite good performances and entertaining sequences, felt unnecessary to fans of the original film. Besides, Miyazaki's imagination is so full of wonderful, original fantasy tales that we never have really wanted (or needed) to go back — unless, of course, you subscribe to the fan theory that all of Miyazaki's movies are part of a shared universe, which would make them all sequels to each other, but that's another story entirely.

Coraline

Since the 2009 film, Neil Gaiman's coming-of-age story, "Coraline," has been adapted into comic books, a musical, an opera, and a video game. This is clearly a dark fantasy story that sticks with audiences and creatives alike. It seems ripe for a sequel. The cult of nostalgia is ready to go.

 So, what's the hold up? "I'm waiting for a Coraline story that's as good as or better than 'Coraline,'" Gaiman tweeted in March 2021. "There's no point in making something less than the first book or movie." He even encouraged fans of the original story to seek out or write fan fiction while waiting. It's pretty calming, isn't it, to hear someone promise not to write a sequel until they feel confident that the idea can top what they've already created? 

Besides, Henry Selick, who directed both "Coraline" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," is collaborating with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele on a new stop-motion animated film titled "Wendell and Wild." It's about demon brothers, and should satisfy your inner goth while we wait for Gaiman's inspiration to strike — if it ever does.

Groundhog Day

While there is a video game sequel, a seemingly abandoned television show, a very good musical adaptation by Tim Minchin, and tons of "'Groundhog Day' meets X" movies featuring time-loop scenarios, nobody has attempted a straight movie sequel to the 1993 film. On one hand, the premise of "Groundhog Day" kind of introduces a series of mini-sequels every time the timeline resets. And, after everything he went through the first time, we wouldn't want to see Phil Connors go through "again" again

On the other hand, if the sequel was about another person who relives Groundhog Day over and over, it would feel more like a remake than a sequel. Still, it seems like this would be an easy story to do again with a female protagonist, a la "Ocean's 8," "What Men Want," the upcoming "He's All That," and the reboot of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis' other famous collaboration, "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call." 

However, that trend is losing steam in Hollywood, and it's ultimately more interesting to see women and-slash-or people of color lead new stories rather than have them copied and pasted into universes. Let's get a "Groundhog Day" movie musical instead of a sequel, shall we?

Edward Scissorhands

We are not counting the Super Bowl commercial with Timothee Chalamet as canon. We're just not. The ending of "Edward Scissorhands" would be totally diminished if a real sequel were ever made. In the movie, Kim states pretty plainly that she never saw Edward again. While he remembers her, and does not die at the end of the film, he never sees her again either. 

Edward also doesn't age, so the role would probably either have to be recast, or Johnny Depp would need to be CGI'd right to the bottom of the Uncanny Valley. It's possible that a sequel to "Edward Scissorhands" could be about Kim's daughter or granddaughter meeting the gentle outcast, but sometimes you have to let melancholy endings be, and sit with those feelings instead of trying to "what next" your way to something happier.

Tuck Everlasting

Apologies in advance to fans of Alexis Bledel and Jonathan Jackson. As enchanting as this fantasy romance is, the novel's author, Natalie Babbit, has made it clear that there will never be a sequel to "Tuck Everlasting." "I think sequels are wonderful when a writer has planned to do it before the first one is done," she told Scholastic in an interview, "but to write a sequel to a novel just because people have enjoyed it usually produces an inferior novel. And it would be unfair to do a sequel without Winnie in it." 

Spoiler alert: Winnie is revealed to have died at the end of the film after a respectfully boring life devoid of magic. That was her choice, so continuing her story wouldn't make for a good fantasy sequel, anyway. If Babbit's not cool with a story set in her fantasy world without Winnie, we're probably not going to see a sequel film any time soon either.

A Wrinkle In Time

The towering Oprah may have been too weird for some folks, but Ava DuVerney's adaptation of the Madeline L'Engle novel deserves to have at least one, if not more, sequels. It's really unfortunate that a follow-up has not been made in the three years since "A Wrinkle in Time" was released, and likely never will: Unfortunately, the first film bombed at the box office

In the books, the story goes on. And yet, there's been no chatter about bringing "A Wind in the Door," "A Swiftly Tilting Planet," or the other books in the "Time Quintet" to the screen. The television movie adaptation of "A Wrinkle In Time" from the '00s didn't got a sequel, either. Fans of the books will just have to cross their fingers that there's a limited-series adaptation in a few years. It worked for "A Series Of Unfortunate Events" and "His Dark Materials." Why not this?

MirrorMask

Like "Coraline," this fantasy adventure was written by Neil Gaiman, who isn't likely to sign off on sequels (or write them himself) unless the idea is good enough to justify continuing the story. However, several of Gaiman's stories that have been turned into television series, like "American Gods," extend past the story on the page. There's no reason to think a series based on the movie couldn't carry on those threads, too.

It would be interesting to see something like "MirrorMask," which is about a young girl who runs away from the circus to a magical and dangerous world, get a small-screen follow-up — or a completely new adaptation — with multiple seasons. At the end of the film, the main character's love interest shows up in the real world. Not to give Gaiman any ideas, but that opens up the potential for a love story and a quest to return him to his magical homeworld.

The Covenant

Look, this movie about hunky teenage boy witches is not good. It is, in fact, very bad. It wishes it were as good as "Twilight." However, a sequel could be an incredible, campy, comedic delight. Like "Beautiful Creatures," all it would take is the right director and the right tone to make a sequel that's better than the original. 

"The Covenant" stars Taylor Kitsch, Chace Crawford, Steven Strait, and Sebastian Stan, and takes place at a boarding school in England (because it was 2006 and all wizards go to boarding school, obviously). What if, in the potential sequel, one or more of the boys are teachers at the academy, training the next generation using the lessons they learned as teens? Go full "X-Men" with it. Then, for some magical reason, evil Sebastian Stan returns to wreak havoc and steal some magic, and everyone has to team up to take him down for good. The actors are more famous now, and better at acting. If you lean into the silliness, it could work.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

This fantasy film already has a fraught origin story — Heath Ledger died midway through filming, and three additional actors were cast to share the role using a fantasy conceit — so it might be deemed inappropriate to follow-up with a sequel. Parnassus, at the end of the film, has lifted the curse that stole away his daughter's soul. His fantasy is over. 

That said, Terry Gilliam created a rich fantasy world that could surely support more stories. A sequel could explore another bargain that Mr. Nick, the devil played by Tom Waits, strikes with an ambitious artist. Conversations about what it means to sell out are always changing, and it could be interesting to explore how the creative world has changed in 2021. There are also ways to return to the Imaginarium should someone desire to tell that story. But if Ledger's death hung over the original film, it would loom over the sequel as well, and that could detract quite a bit from the final product.

Stardust

Finally, this fantasy romance written by (you guessed it) Neil Gaiman does not have a sequel. Not only do Tristan and Yvaine live happily ever after, we actually see them ascend to the stars after decades of marriage on Earth. An ending doesn't get much more definitive than that. We're not really left wondering what happens next. 

However, this is one fantasy world that Gaiman actually has returned to in short stories, one of which was published in a volume called "Fall of Stardust." He could go back in the future. Of all the sequel-less Gaiman stories out there, this is probably the one most likely to get a sequel at some point — on the page, at least, if not the screen. The story may not be about Tristan and Yvaine, but it could definitely happen. There are plenty of scheming princes, evil witches, and unsuspecting lovers hanging around who could support another tale.