Scholars believe that the very first prequel in history may be the Cypria, an epic poem that dates to the days of ancient Greece. Although the poem is now lost, it was composed as a chronicle of events leading up to Homer’s Iliad — thus telling the backstory and origins of the events of that great work.
In other words, prequels aren’t anything new — although the word “prequel” itself is an invention of the 20th century. (Inventing a word for a specific kind of sequel? Who would do something like that?) Still, it certainly seems like the prequel has become far more prevalent in recent years, coinciding with the rise of blockbuster moviemaking in Hollywood and the need to contniue franchises forever — even in cases where a more traditional sequel is impossible because of the nature of a film’s story (i.e. the main character died) or a star’s demands (i.e. an actor doesn’t want to return for a new installment).
I don’t know too many cinephiles who self-identify as “fans” of prequels. It’s worth noting, though, that there are several great movie prequels. The Godfather Part II is partly a prequel — and a brilliant one, at that. Just last year we got Godzilla Minus One, a prequel to the original monster movie that was one of 2023’s best films, and maybe the very best Godzilla film ever made since the 1954 original. Good prequels are possible!
They are not all that common, however. In the list below, we countdown the 15 worst prequels ever made — at least until we we make a prequel to this list someday…
The Worst Movie Prequels in History
Before there was a movie you loved there was … a way worse movie.
READ MORE: 20 Forgotten Movie Sequels
The 12 Worst Wins in Oscar History
Sometimes the Academy gets it right… and sometimes they give awards to Bohemian Rhapsody.